How to teach students to think well

22 Novr 2023

Steel your brains and start thinking now! An order like this would rarely work. Because it is not just about the thinking – it is about thinking well. Raising thinkers and confident minds is one of the specialties of the British School of Plovdiv. But how to activate the thought process in the students? This can sometimes be quite a challenging endeavour. Luckily we have the solution at hand. Here are five methods, which our teachers use:

  1. Giving structure

In order to build a coherent studying structure, the teachers give students an appropriate sequence of learning tasks and have clear learning objectives in the lessons. The students are given tasks, which match their progress and readiness to learn. This makes studying accessible to everyone with the aim that this scaffolding being removed when everyone is at the same level.

  1. Providing explanation

New ideas and topics are clearly presented with appropriate and engaging explanation. When new material is taught it is crucial that the teacher links it to what has been learnt before, which in turn, gives opportunities for revision and checking of prior knowledge. This helps the learners to gain a deeper understanding of what is being taught and enables them to demonstrate newly acquired skills.

  1. Asking questions

The importance of asking the right questions is huge. Teachers always aim towards asking questions, which entice thinking, followed by actions. Luckily, they have the TBL tool up their sleeves. TBL is short for “Thinking Based Learning”. This is a way of teaching, which promotes critical and creative thinking, predicting, comparing, etc.

  1. Triggering interaction

A teacher should always be available for feedback, even when not asked to give it. However, the real challenge is to facilitate the interactions not only between teacher and student, but also between the students themselves. This can be done is various ways. One of the best is to ask a class for peer assessment. Checking a classmate’s work, when done appropriately, boosts critical thinking, decision making and team work.

  1. Reinforcing learning

This is to make sure that the learning material and all it encompasses is embedded in the students’ minds. The children are given tasks, which reinforce their knowledge and skills, so they don’t forget what has been learnt. The teachers task their classes with revision. This turns self-assessment in a powerful tool, which aids in finding one’s own mistakes and the means for correcting them.

All of the above, when combined and performed well, activate the thinking capabilities of the students. They can plan, regulate and monitor their own learning. They progress appropriately from structured to more independent way of thinking and develop knowledge, skills and expertise – all of which are essential skills for success in the 21st century.

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