Friday, February 24, 2017

What is the story of learning in this place?

In the second session with Mark Church today, we asked the question how do we use students' thinking to navigate their learning forward? We first of all considered our own experience and thought of a time when we've been part of a group that did really good thinking together that really advanced our learning. We thought about what made it that way - what were the factors, influences or practices that made that group such a good thinking group? As we shared out, we noticed many similarities: our groups had a common goal, all voices were heard, we could learn from our mistakes, there was an outcome we cared about, everyone brought strengths, we could be flexible, and our collaborative thinking was valued. This led us to the following conclusion about cultures of thinking:
Cultures of thinking are places in which a group’s collective as well as individual thinking is valued, visible and actively promoted as part of the regular day to day experience of all group members.
We applied this to our schools to ask how we could move away from simply using thinking routines, and move towards "thinking that's routine".  We thought about how a classroom's story gets told - what are we doing to foster this culture?  Again we considered the forces that shape a culture in the classroom: routines and structures, time, opportunities, modeling, interactions and language.  And we came away with a question: If I want to encourage thinking - what I am doing to get the culture into place?

Photo Credit: Anna Marie Gearhart Flickr via Compfight cc

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