CCHSG is currently working on a three year journey to become accredited as a ‘Thinking School’- “an educational community in which all members share a common commitment to giving regular, careful thought to everything that takes place”.
We are working with the organisation, Thinking Matters, in partnership with Exeter University. Our aim is to make thinking explicit in the school and for teachers and students to talk about thinking. We will need to develop a common thinking language and embed different thinking tools to enable our students to become more effective thinkers, aiding them to become independent learners.
Thinking Schools have three guiding principles:
- All learners have innate abilities to think in a variety of ways
- Active transfer of thinking processes to content learning is key
- Student centred models are needed for improving thinking
We have decided to embed ‘thinking maps’ as the first visual tool for year one. These are eight powerful models that boost all learners’ metacognitive and critical thinking skills, helping students to effectively organise their thoughts, examine relationships, enhance reasoning skills, create connections between subjects and engage with content.
All thinking maps require a frame of reference, also known as metacognitive frames. This is a focal point which allows students to think about:
- What has influenced their thinking?
- From where the information came?
- The range and extent of their thinking and how it impacts upon them?
These frames of reference also provide an opportunity for staff to pose relevant and probing questions that extend students’ thinking.
Students at CCHSG have been introduced to all of the thinking maps via their form tutors and have been using them in their learning for the last few months. We have also recently established ‘Thinking School Champions’ who will act as our student drive team throughout our journey. In each form of each year group there is a Champion who will be guided by one of our Senior Prefects. Their role is to support the school in its journey in becoming a Thinking School. They will help encourage others in their form/year group to really stretch their thinking skills using the tools we are implementing each year. Additionally, we have established a staff drive team who will lead the Champions and all staff through the process.