Teaching of Thinking

teaching of thinking

Effects of the floods could be seen on the doors at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pulau Rusa in Terengganu after floods on Dec 20 last year. (Photo by BERNAMA)

There are several ways in which thinking could be taught, and one of the ways it to be taught as a course by not referring into a specific discipline of knowledge.

Teachers could prepare modules that could enhance thinking skills such as instruction that encourages students to collaborate in groups in problem solving activities.

But the main weakness in this approach is that all students were not taught how to think skillfully.

In other words, thinking skills such as analysis, reflection, metacognition (thinking about thinking), and thinking skills embedded in various categories of thinking such as critical thinking and creative thinking are not made visible to their peers and their teachers, thus students are not aware of these thinking skills and could not describe those skills to their friends and their teachers.

Teachers too could not identify the thinking skills employed by their students when they solve problems.

An effective approach in the teaching of thinking is to infuse higher-order thinking skills such as skills of analysis, reflection and metacogniton into content instructions.

This pedagogical approach is known as thinking-based learning (TBL) and the idea was initiated by Emeritus Professor Robert Swartz from University of Massachusetts, Boston in the United States.

TBL will provide opportunities for students to learn how think skillfully by being aware of the HOT skills that they apply when they come up with a solution to a problem.

TBL allows teachers and students to make thinking visible and hence collaborative learning will be more effective and meaningful as all students are well equipped with various HOT skills from various categories of thinking such as critical thinking and creative thinking.

The term collaborative learning often refers to getting students to discuss in groups in problem solving activities without guiding them how to think critically and creatively.

This is quite a common conception and practice among our educators and teachers. As a result our students fail to think critically and creatively and unable to become efficient problem solvers.

As an educator myself, I would recommend that teachers should be exposed to TBL to lay a strong foundation in thinking among our students and to equip the teachers with the ability to infuse HOT skills into their content instructions.

TBL could also complement the existing pedagogical approaches which are currently been practiced in schools and universities. School-based assessment can only serve its purpose in improving thinking and learning if teachers are trained to acquire relevant pedagogical knowledge that could HOTS into content instructions.

Zahari Othman is also a Fellow at Institute of Mathematical Science, Faculty of Science, University Malaya.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.

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