Sunday, 7 April 2013

Top Ten Quotes about Teaching Thinking in Schools

Running alongside my work around learner self-esteem, I have also started developing - within my own classroom - a new method of teaching & learning to try encourage my lower-attaining English groups to think more independently, more critically and more abstractly.

For the forthcoming term, we have been asked to each take on a class reader and develop some planning & resources around it. I have long been interested in the work of  the late Matthew Lipman and what he termed as 'Philosophy 4 Children', known as P4C for short. I think teaching a novel, such as Skellig by David Almond, is a great opportunity to try move our students working at Level 3, and thinking in a Level 3 way, to higher ground. The P4C cycle, which very much focuses on encouraging students to generate their own questions to stretch their learning further, appears to be one which we can adapt for this purpose and I intend to share resources I've developed around this over the coming weeks and months. As always, advice, tips and feedback from colleagues is appreciated - either via the comments section or via the contact page.

Below are some interesting quotes on this subject, which I think highlight the importance of this aspect of our work in schools:

>> "Do not confine your children to your own learning for they were born in another time." - Hebrew Proverb 

>> “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” - Christopher Hitchens 

>> “Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work." - Adrienne Rich 

>> “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” - Bertrand Russell 

>> "Education must not simply teach work — it must teach life." - W.E.B. Du Bois 

>> "I decided to teach because I think that any person who studies philosophy has to be involved actively." - Angela Davis 

>> "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." - Roger Lewin 

>> "The one real goal of education is to leave a person asking questions." - Max Beerhohm

And finally, one for English teachers in particular...

>> "A novel is never anything, but a philosophy put into images." - Jim Rohn 

And very finally, one I intend to turn into a poster for my more stubborn-minded students!

>> "Our heads are round so that thoughts can change direction." - Francis Picabia 

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