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Developing Thinking Skills in the Young Learner Classroom Peter Lucantoni.

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1 Developing Thinking Skills in the Young Learner Classroom Peter Lucantoni

2 Overview What does ‘think’ mean? What are thinking skills? Can thinking be taught? What is the teacher’s role in teaching thinking skills? Activities Conclusions

3 What does ‘think’ mean? Think about the word ‘think’. What does it mean to you? Make a list of at least five synonyms for ‘think’ Draw a picture to represent ‘think’

4 What does ‘think’ mean? Discuss these questions with your partner: 1.How did you approach the previous activity? What did you do first, and how did you continue? 2.Were you successful? Why/not? 3.Did you enjoy the activity? Why/not?

5 What does ‘think’ mean? Look at Handout 1 Complete each of the ten synonyms using the correct vowels Are any the same as the ones from your own list?

6 What does ‘think’ mean? Discuss these questions with your partner: 1.How did you approach the previous activity? What did you do first, and how did you continue? 2.Were you successful? Why/not? 3.Did you enjoy the activity? Why/not?

7 What are thinking skills? Children need more than curriculum knowledge Important for them to develop problem- solving and decision-making skills at an early age Need to assess new information and understand unexpected problems, and find solutions and evaluate their success [Adapted from: Teaching Young Learners to Think, Puchta & Williams, Helbling Languages, 2011]

8 What are thinking skills? Thinking Skills are the mental processes we use to: solve problems, make decisions, ask questions, make plans, pass judgements, organise information, create new ideas, etc Often we are not aware of thinking - it happens automatically [Adapted from:

9 What are thinking skills? Look at Word Trees Handout 2 What is the language focus? Which age and level do you think the activity would be appropriate for? Which thinking skills are practised? How could you vary/extend the activity for different teaching/learning contexts?

10 language focus? age / level? thinking skills? vary / extend? Teaching Young Learners to Think, Puchta & Williams, Helbling 2011

11 What are thinking skills? But if we think about thinking, then we can become more efficient and more creative with our minds Researchers at Newcastle University in the UK identified over 50 different classifications of thinking skills: [Adapted from:

12 What are thinking skills? information basic understanding productive gathering thinking

13 What are thinking skills? Cognitive Thinking Skills Information Gathering Basic Understanding Productive Thinking Organising gathered information Linking ideas together Creating, deciding, analysing, evaluating Using information and understanding Forming concepts Sensing: seeing, hearing, touching Retrieving: memory skills [Adapted from: s.aspx]

14 What are thinking skills? Cognitive Thinking Skills Information Gathering Basic Understanding Productive Thinking Sensing: seeing, hearing, touching Retrieving: memory skills Organising gathered information Forming concepts Linking ideas together Using information and understanding Creating, deciding, analysing, evaluating [Adapted from: s.aspx]

15 What are thinking skills? How does the theory work in practice? Look at these examples from Super Minds 2 (Cambridge University Press, 2012) Notice how the examples move through the stages of information gathering, basic understanding and productive thinking

16 Information Gathering Sensing: seeing, hearing, touching Retrieving: memory skills Super Minds 2

17 Basic Understanding Organising gathered information Forming concepts Linking ideas together Super Minds 2

18 Productive Thinking Using information and understanding Creating, deciding, analysing, evaluating Super Minds 2

19 Can thinking be taught? Yes! Carol McGuiness (1999) working for the Department of Education, England, concluded: ‘Pupils benefit from being coached in thinking … success was due to good teaching methods … learning thinking works well when supported by the teacher …’ [Adapted from: Teaching Young Learners to Think, Puchta & Williams, Helbling Languages, 2011]

20 What is the teacher’s role? Value ALL ideas and where necessary help the learners to express their ideas Accept everything from everybody: Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Ford, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Wozniak, …

21 What is the teacher’s role? Obviously, your role is crucial Encourage free, ‘off-the-wall’, creative thinking, without criticism Do not allow learners to feel inhibited due to lack of language confidence Errors are part of language learning process

22 What is the teacher’s role? Give learners time to think about what they are doing, to study the data, to plan an approach … Quick-fire responses can lead to impulsive guesses or simplistic answers rather than creative solutions Important for teacher to remind learners to take time to think

23 What is the teacher’s role? Take all answers, ideas, suggestions from learners seriously Use challenges: Why do you think this?, How do you know?, How did you get this answer?, Where did you look?, Does everyone agree with you? Aim of thinking class is to seek ‘best’ answers and not always ‘right’ ones

24 What is the teacher’s role? Set real tasks – learners use data, planning, explanation Get reflection on thinking strategies used – What caused difficulties? How were you successful? Establish learning points – learners give general advice on how to succeed, strategies used and naming them Build a bridge – apply to other contexts

25 Did we … … decide what ‘think’ means? … discuss what thinking skills are and if they can be taught? … look at the teacher’s role? … did we do some activities and make some conclusions?

26 Any questions?

27 UniversityPressMiddleEast


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