LEARNING AND TEACHING
THE "WHAT AND "HOW"
DEVELOPING SKILLFUL THINKERS
Adapted from the book
A Resource Book
For Teaching Thinking,
Arthur L. Costa
It is often stated that schools over emphasize the logical/mathematical and verbal /linguistic intelligences. And it is often observed and discovered in the Pisa test; students are really working at low level skills. If we use Bloom's taxonomy as a guide we could say that students are involved in the knowledge and comprehension levels with a few opportunities to work at the application level. However, we need more students who can analyze, synthesize and evaluate from a range of options. The Pisa study focused on 15 year old students to see if they had acquired the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of an information/ knowledge driven society The results indicate that indeed our students do not have the requisite skills for our age. Industrial countries involved in the PISA review have discovered that many of their students do not have the skills for the 21century. Changes have to be made and the point recognized that we, as educators, are now being asked not to produce workers, but to produce thinkers who can work. We know that many of the jobs our students will have in the 21st century have not yet been invented.
In teaching for thinking, we are interested in how students produce knowledge rather than how they merely reproduce it. Intelligent behavior is performed in response to questions and problems, the answers to which are NOT immediately known. Thus, we are interested in focusing on student performance under those challenging conditions that demand strategic 2
reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity, and craftsmanship to resolve complex problems.
What behaviors are indicative of the efficient, effective problem solver? Just what do human beings do when they behave intelligently? Research in effective thinking and intelligent behavior by Feuerstein (1980), Glatthorn and Baron (1985), Sternberg (1984), Perkins (1985), and Ennis (1985) indicates that there are some identifiable characteristics of effective thinkers. It is not only some scientists, artists, or mathematicians who demonstrate these behaviors. These characteristics have been identified in successful mechanics, teachers, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and parents - people in all walks of life.
WHAT HUMAN BEINGS DO WHEN THEY BEHAVE
What follows are a dozen suggested characteristics of intelligent behaviors that teachers and parents can teach and observe. This list is not meant to be complete. As we think and study more about intelligent behavior we will discover additional indicators of growth in thinking abilities. As the characteristic is presented, complete the self assessment scale that is underneath each section.
1. Persistence: persevering when the solution to a problem is not immediately apparent * Students often give up in despair when the answer to a problem is not immediately known. They often say, "I can't do this," "It's too hard," or, they write down any answer to get the task over with as quickly as possible. They don't take the time to analyze the problem, to develop a system of problem attack.
Students demonstrate growth in thinking abilities by increasing their use of alternative strategies of problem-solving. They collect evidence to indicate their problem-solving strategy is working, and if one strategy doesn't work, they know how to back up and try another. They use systematic methods of analyzing a problem, knowing ways to begin, knowing what steps must be performed, what data need to be generated or collected. This is what I'm meaning by perseverance.
Does this behavior represent the quality we want our students to have? Mark along the scale where you think you stand?
N0……………………………………………………………..Yes Are we accomplishing this in our school?
Mark along the scale where you think you stand?...