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Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities Unit 1Rationale and Overview Welcome to Unit 1: Rationale and Overview In this unit, I will introduce you to the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities framework and familiarise you with its different strands. We will also begin to explore the implications of a programme of Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities on learning and teaching. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Learning Intentions You will:know about the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities framework; know the different types of Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities within each strand; and have an awareness of the implications for classroom practice. These are the learning intentions for this unit. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Why the Emphasis on TS&PC?They promote active learning. They shift focus from teaching to learning. They create positive habits and dispositions. They promote independence. They enable transfer of learning. They provide new criteria for learning. They promote deeper understanding. To begin today, let’s examine why TS&PC are important to the Revised Curriculum. First of all, TS&PC promote active rather than passive learning experiences. Active learning leads to better learning and deeper understanding of subject matter more readily than passive methods. In developing TS&PC, we shift our focus from teaching to learning. This places the pupil’s needs at the centre of our thinking, which is at the heart of the Revised Curriculum. They also create positive habits and dispositions for learning, for example posing questions, thinking flexibly, persisting with tasks, taking risks and reflecting on learning. TS&PC promote greater independence among pupils by giving them the tools they need for learning. They also enable pupils to make connections, transfer and apply their learning across a range of contexts. TS&PC offer a new range of criteria against which pupils can evaluate their learning. Most importantly, they promote deeper learning. When pupils merely reproduce information and ideas and are not challenged to look for principles or patterns, or to reflect on goals or progress, they are merely engaged in surface learning. On the other hand, when pupils use thinking skills and show personal capabilities like making sense of material, relating ideas and information to previous knowledge and experience, thinking critically about new information, using organising principles, examining the logic of arguments and relating evidence to conclusions, they are deeply engaged in the learning, develop new skills and acquire a more significant understanding of the subject matter. Finally, TS&PC enable pupils to learn how to learn. With this ability, pupils are able to take more responsibility for their learning now and in adulthood. If we believe this is important, then we can’t leave it to chance. We have to make it happen by explicitly developing TS&PC as part of the curriculum. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Why the Emphasis on TS&PC?‘Knowledge arts’ – the art and craft of learning Knowing a lot vs. ‘know-how’ David Perkins, Profession of Education at Harvard University, has referred to the need to develop ‘knowledge arts’ – the art and craft of learning. As well as ensuring that learners know a lot, he argues that we also need to develop their ‘know-how’. So just as a craftsperson needs to possess the tools of their trade in addition to their knowledge of the subject, so too do learners need to develop tools for learning. These include practical skills as well as the habits, dispositions and capabilities that are typical of good learning. The extent to which a pupil can put those learning skills and capabilities to use will depend on what stage the pupil is at in the development of those skills: an apprentice or a master. But the development of their TS&PC will need to be sufficient to see them through the many changes, challenges and frustrations they are likely to encounter in a lifetime of learning. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Thinking Skills & Thinking, Problem-Solving & Decision-MakingManaging Information Being Creative Thinking Skills & Personal Capabilities The Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities framework comprises five strands, which appear on this slide. Working with Others Self-Management © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Interrogating the FrameworkActivity 1 Interrogating the Framework (Position five flipcharts around the room, and label each with one strand from the framework.) We’re now going to do an activity that lets you examine the strands to establish what types of skills are included in each one. The learning intentions for this activity are: to recognise the relationships between these strands and your learning contexts; and to know about the implications for teaching and learning the strands. First of all, could everyone divide into five groups? I’d then like for each group to gather around one of the flipcharts. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Interrogating the FrameworkActivity 1 Interrogating the Framework Think about and record: What specific skills or capabilities would your pupils develop in your strand? As you can see, each group has one strand of the TS&PC framework written on its flipchart. The purpose of this task is to get you all to think about what your one particular strand is about. I’d like each group to identify and record on your flipchart: the specific types of skills or capabilities your pupils would develop in your designated strand. It might help you to think about the types of activities your pupils might be doing in class if they were addressing that strand. Share these activities among your group and try to tease out the specific skills they would be developing through those activities. For example, for Managing Information, you might commonly have your pupils use the internet, but what thinking skills or personal capabilities do your pupils develop by using the internet (accessing information, perhaps)? (Allow groups 10 minutes to list the specific skills for their strand.) I’d now like for each group to move clockwise to the next nearest flipchart. Consider what the previous group has listed as skills and capabilities for their activities and try to add to it. (Allow 5 minutes for groups to add to the list, and then rotate the groups again, repeating the process until each group has added to each flipchart and has circled back to their own. Allow less time to add to the list for each rotation, as there will be less to add as the lists grow.) Now that each group is back to its original flipchart, take a few minutes to read what the other groups have added to it. (Allow groups a few minutes to review the skills and capabilities added.) © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Matching the Strands UpNow that we’ve come up with a host of skills and capabilities for each strand of Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, we’re going to compare our lists with the ‘official’ version developed by CCEA. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Managing Information Asking, Accessing, Selecting, Recording, Integrating Ask focused questions. Plan and set goals, break tasks into sub-tasks. Use own and other’s ideas to locate sources of information. Select, classify, compare and evaluate information. Select the most appropriate method for a task. Use a range of methods for collating, recording and representing information. Learning Outcome: ‘Research and manage information effectively...’ Let’s first take a look at the bullets for the Managing Information strand. These bullets are a selection of skills our pupils will possess if they are able to manage information effectively. How do these bullets compare against those we came up with during the activity? (Allow a few moments for discussion about similarities and differences between the group’s list and the slide’s list.) The activities we use in our respective classrooms to develop managing information skills might be different depending on the subject matter. However, the actual Managing Information skills that our pupils will develop as a result of activities infused with a Managing Information focus are likely to be similar to one another and be reflected in these bullet points. The purpose of these bullets is to try and promote a common language that we can use with our pupils. This is one way we can help ourselves connect the skills they are developing in all Areas of Learning, be it English, Science, or Art & Design. It’s important to note that we can also transform the bullets into more learner-friendly statements to help our pupils focus on specific aspects of a strand (for example by creating ‘I can…’ statements). You’ll notice at the bottom of the slide there is a reference to a learning outcome. This is how this strand is expressed as part of the statements of minimum requirement for every subject at Key Stage 3. (Remove this paragraph of text, and the corresponding line on the slide, if you are not presenting this unit to Key Stage 3 staff.) © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Thinking, Problem-Solving, Decision MakingSearching for Meaning, Deepening Understanding, Coping with Challenges Sequence, order, classify, and make comparisons. Make predictions, examine evidence, and distinguish fact from opinion. Make links between cause and effect. Justify methods, opinions and conclusions. Generate possible solutions, try out alternative approaches, and evaluate outcomes. Examine options, weigh up pros and cons. Use different types of questions. Make connections between learning in different contexts. Learning Outcome: ‘Show deeper … understanding by thinking critically and flexibly, solving problems, and making informed decisions.’ Next, let’s look at the specific skills for the Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision-Making strand. The skills on this slide go from: the types of skills that help us create patterns and see relationships (deconstructing and reconstructing information); to those that help us make critical judgements about information (making predictions, fact and opinion, cause and effect); to those that build on some of the other kinds of thinking already mentioned and must be sustained over several steps (problem-solving, decision-making). How does this list of bullets compare to the list we came up with for Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision-Making? (Allow a few minutes for discussion and comparison.) You can see how the strands overlap and are interrelated, as ‘classify’ and ‘make comparisons’, which appear here in the first bullet, also appeared among the bullets for Managing Information. (Remove line starting: ‘Learning Outcome’ on the slide if you are not presenting this unit to Key Stage 3 staff.) © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Being Creative Imagining, Generating, Inventing, Taking Risks for Learning Seek out questions to explore and problems to solve. Experiment with ideas and questions. Make new connections between ideas/information. Learn from and value other people’s ideas. Make ideas real by experimenting with different designs, actions and outcomes. Challenge the routine method. Value the unexpected or surprising. See opportunities in mistakes and failure. Take risks for learning. Learning Outcome: ‘Demonstrate creativity and initiative when developing ideas and following them through.’ This next strand is called Being Creative, so it is about nurturing dispositions and behaviours that encourage the creative process. How do our list of skills compare to those on this slide? (Allow a few minutes of discussion and comparison.) The bullet points you see here set out the main behavioural characteristics that we should promote in order to help our pupils be more creative. You can see that the first three bullets relate to curiosity, experimentation and imagination. These, together with bullet four, highlight that creativity is not just about pupils coming up with original ideas individually. It is about them being able to use, build on and combine others’ ideas. Bullet four also relates to reciprocity – the ability to interact productively with others. Bullets 5-9 relate to flexibility and resilience by highlighting that creativity is about following through on ideas despite the uncertainty of the outcome. A creative person is not put off by failure and is open and responsive to problematic solutions. (Remove line starting: ‘Learning Outcome’ on the slide if you are not presenting this unit to Key Stage 3 staff.) © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Working with Others Being collaborative, Being Sensitive to Others’ Feelings, Being Fair and Responsible Listen actively and share opinions. Develop routines of turn-taking, sharing and cooperating. Give and respond to feedback. Understand how actions and words affect others. Adapt behaviour and language to suit different people and situations. Take personal responsibility for work with others and evaluate own contribution to the group. Be fair. Respect the views and opinions of others, reaching agreements using negotiation and compromise. Suggest ways of improving the approach to working together. Learning Outcome: ‘Work effectively with others.’ Next, let’s look at the Working with Others strand. How do our list of skills compare to those on this slide? (Allow a few minutes of discussion and comparison.) The bullets on this slide identify: The procedures that are required to work as part of a group (listening and turn-taking); The emotional intelligence that promotes effective group work (feedback, understanding how actions and works affect others, adapting behaviour, language); The ability to perform different roles within a group (personal responsibility for work in a group); and Diplomacy skills that promote group decision-making and consensus (negotiation and compromise). (Remove line starting: ‘Learning Outcome’ on the slide if you are not presenting this unit to Key Stage 3 staff.) © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Self-Management Evaluating Strengths and Weaknesses, Setting Goals and Targets, Managing and Regulating Self Be aware of personal strengths, limitations and interests. Set personal targets and review them. Manage behaviour in a range of situations. Organise and plan how to go about a task. Focus, sustain attention and persist with tasks. Review own learning and some aspect that might be improved. Learn ways to manage own time. Seek advice when necessary. Compare own approach with others and in different contexts. Learning Outcome: ‘Demonstrate self-management by working systematically, persisting with tasks, evaluating and improving own performance.’ The final strand to review is the Self-Management strand. How do our list of skills compare to those on this slide? (Allow a few minutes of discussion and comparison.) The first two bullets on this slide are about pupils developing an awareness of themselves as a learner and setting/agreeing realistic goals. Bullet three relates to our pupils’ ability to manage their emotions and behaviour and knowing that, for example, the language and expressions you use with friends are not the same as you would use in more formal situations. Bullets 4-9 highlight the need for pupils to develop a range of practical strategies that help them achieve personal goals and targets. These include the ability to seek out advice and help when they need it and the ability to realise that self-management isn’t about working in isolation. (Remove line starting: ‘Learning Outcome’ on the slide if you are not presenting this unit to Key Stage 3 staff.) © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Matching the Strands UpNothing is new. Some of the language may be different to what we are familiar with. There is some overlap between skills and strands. The bullets are not statutory. What you may have noticed as we reviewed the ‘official’ bullets is that: Not much of what you just saw is new. Many of us are already developing several, if not all, of the types of skills and capabilities within the five strands. One of our challenges in the Revised Curriculum, though, is to make the development of these skills more explicit to our pupils and to relate them to other learning contexts. You may have also thought that some of the language was slightly different. Terms, in some cases, may take on slightly different meanings in different contexts. For example, problem-solving has generic steps that are applicable to any subject, but the term itself may have specific strategies in some subjects. You will have also noticed that there is some overlap between strands. Each strand is broad and includes a range of different skills, and many of the specific skills mentioned in a particular strand are repeated in different strands. Some of you probably noticed this yourselves as you moved around among the flipcharts. Finally, it’s important to point out that the bullets we reviewed are not statutory. The bullet points are there to help us break down each particular strand into the important skills, processes and behaviours that characterise it. This breakdown can help us to create more targeted and effective TS&PC lessons for our pupils. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Summary of the TS&PC Framework’s Key CharacteristicsProvide a common language across the curriculum Strands overlap Skills will naturally cluster Skills should be delivered in and through the Areas of Learning To summarise, here a few of the framework’s key characteristics: Having this single TS&PC framework provides a common language for us and our pupils to use when talking about skills and their development. And this language can be used in Areas of Learning across the curriculum, which will enhance continuity for the pupils. Many of the strands overlap and are interrelated, which we discussed as we reviewed the bullets for each. Certain skills will cluster. For example, problem-solving and the ability to work with others are skills that are often developed simultaneously during group activities. The strands should not be developed in isolation. They should instead be delivered in and through the curriculum’s Areas of Learning. This is known as ‘infusion’, which is covered in detail in CPD Unit 2. So given these key characteristics, what does this mean for our teaching practice? © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
The Implications of TS&PC for Classroom PracticeActivity 2 The Implications of TS&PC for Classroom Practice (Pass out a Post-It note pad to each participant.) So far we have brainstormed skills for each strand and compared those against the ‘official’ skills for each strand. We now have a fairly detailed understanding of the TS&PC framework. In this activity, we are going to consider the implications of explicitly developing TS&PC for our classroom practice. To begin, I’d like each of you, on your own, to think about what the development of these skills is going to mean in your classroom. What might your classroom look like, sound like or feel like that is different to what you currently experience? Then, write down five implications on your Post-It. (Allow 5 minutes for individuals to come up with their five implications.) Now I’d like everyone to form groups and share your list with the others in your group. (Allow 5 minutes for group members to share their Post-It lists.) Next, note if there are common issues emerging. Place these under appropriate headings. (The groups might use headings such as: teaching strategies, group work, planning, classroom management, classroom layout, resources, training, etc.) Can any of these common issues be addressed using collaboration between classes, or departmental or whole-school strategies? (Allow a few minutes of discussion.) Hopefully you can now see that although many of us may currently be addressing Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, to make their development explicit and consistent across the curriculum and across our school, we will need to plan carefully and implement additional strategies. Some suggested strategies will be covered in the other TS&PC CPD units. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
Summary TS&PCs develop the tools, habits and dispositions for lifelong learning. The TS&PC framework brings together different types of thinking skills along with personal and interpersonal skills and capabilities. The different strands that make up the framework overlap and interact with each other. Few of these skills and capabilities are new, but if we are to develop them explicitly, this will have implications on our pedagogy. That concludes Unit 1. Here are few key points to take away with you. © PMB 2007 © PMB 2007
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