Published on March 20, 2014
TEPI 331 ASSESSMENT TASK SPECIFIC REFLECTION 1 THE NEW ZEALAND CURRICULUM
Thinking Skills Thinking Skills are the mental processes we use to do things like: solve problems, make decisions, ask questions, make plans, pass judgements, organise information and create new ideas. Often we are not aware of our thinking - it happens automatically - but if we take time to ponder what is going on then we can become more efficient and more creative with our minds. Thinking skills will help students learn to think more clearly, to question, and to become better students, individuals and members of the community.
Why is thinking skills important? Children begin thinking and learning as soon as they were born. They are born with ‘inquiring minds’. Children have an innate need to know and discover things around them. Thinking is one way of not only nurturing children’s inborn need to know but also supporting this natural curiosity by giving them the necessary tools to ask questions which leads to active involvement and engagement in activities with purpose which in turn influences their curiosity and learning.
Children who think learn to ask questions which assist them in their learning process. When children are taught the tools to think creatively and critically, this allows for multiple responses, unspecified answers, various perspective and interpretations, all of which will develop them into life-long learners. They don’t depend on others to think for them. They are actively asking questions to understand better and to figure things out.
Is thinking skills evident in NZC?
Vision The New Zealand Curriculum Vision is to develop young people who will be lifelong learners By encouraging critical and creative thinkers, we ensure that children are given the necessary tools to develop into lifelong learners
Principles One of the principles in The New Zealand Curriculum is Learning to learn The curriculum encourages all students to reflect on their own Learning processes and to learn how to learn Thinking fits in with this Principle as it teaches students to challenge and encourage their learning by constantly challenging them to ask questions and to find solutions to problems
Values One of the values in The New Zealand Curriculum stresses the importance of encouraging our students to value innovation, inquiry, and curiosity by thinking critically, creatively and reflectively
Students who are competent thinkers and problem-solvers actively seek, use, and create knowledge Key Competencies ‘ Thinking’ tool box is one of the five Key Competencies of The NZC They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions, and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions
The implications of teaching thinking skills in the classroom
Teachers as thinkers In order to teach thinking skills to the students, as a teacher I need to model by asking questions. I need to be creative and critical thinker myself. By using thinking skills, I will be able to foster reflectiveness in my students by asking them questions that stimulate their thinking essential to their learning.
Teachers as facilitators I will assume the role of facilitator of learning. My classroom will not teacher-centred but student-centred. I will provide my students the necessary tools to ask questions enabling them to solve problems. There will be no right or wrong answers. My students will be taught to support their answers with reasons that they obtained by thinking creatively and critically.
Classroom becomes lively Teaching thinking skills in the classroom will create a fun and active learning environment in my classroom. When students are motivated to think and ask questions, they will be actively involved in the learning process and classroom activities. Students learn better when they are interested.
Encourages constructive discussion I will need to encourage constructive discussion in the classroom. I need to demonstrate respectful way of disagreeing by establishing clear rules for voicing different perspectives. The use of appropriate language is very important here. I need to explain the importance of constructive discussion based on evidence or reasoning and discourage any personal opinions or subjective disagreement. This is where I need to facilitate and ensure ethical learning behaviours and environment is fostered among my
Relevant content As a teacher, it is imperative for me to choose subject matter that will interest students. Relevant and significant contexts will enable my students in using the thinking toolbox and engage actively in the learning process.
So that is why thinking skills is important... It is evident that the thinking toolbox in the key competencies is an integral and all encompassing part of The New Zealand Curriculum. Primary school students will benefit greatly from learning thinking skills, as this will equip them to be lifelong learners. When students are given the pathway and responsibility to be creative, critical and reflective thinkers in the class, they will develop into young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved and lifelong learners.
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