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LEEP: Teachers Guide

Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn

(Developing a classroom culture of thinking)
Michael Pohl believes that one of the primary objectives of schooling should involve the
teaching of tools for life-long learning. Many educators place a high priority on
empowering students with thinking skills such as the ability to reason, to make informed
judgements, to critically evaluate information, and to think both creatively and caringly.
Hence, immersion in high order thinking, therefore, should be an integral aspect of
According to Pohl, a classroom thinking culture may be best described as a supportive
environment in which specific factors work together in a synergetic fashion to bring about
and reinforce the enterprise of productive thinking (i.e. in a critical, creative and caring
sense). When educators try to develop a thinking culture inside the classroom, it is
important to provide teaching and learning activities that will 1) empower students with
language, tools and strategies to engage in a wide range of analytical, critical, caring and
creative thinking tasks; 2) provide on-going opportunities for developing, practicing and
refining the skills of thinking; 3) provide instruction and practice in ways of managing,
organizing and recording thinking; engage in the higher order thinking skills; engage
students int he higher order thinking skills; and, 5) assist in the transfer of skills to
everyday life and everyday situations as tools for life-long learning.
Michael Pohl also stresses that the culture of thinking requires teachers to employ
strategies in the classroom that will include the following:
appropriate modeling;
explicitly teaching the tools and strategies;
explaining the significance of each tool in the thinking process;
providing many opportunities for students to interact with the newlyintroduced tools
and strategies; with each other; and, with the teacher. (Students who are familiar with
the tools can practice and apply the new knowledge and become confident users of
the strategies in many diverse situations)
giving feedback in a variety of forms that encourages the learner to engage in both
risktaking situations, and reflective and metacognitive thinking.
Within a thinking culture, it is expected that all students will be progressively exposed to a
range of thinking strategies that develop their skills in a range of types of thinking,
including: analytical thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, caring thinking, responding
to a wide range of question types, framing questions, using question- generating tools,
using graphic organizers to record thinking and to present the products of their thinking,
and making decisions and solving problems.
Pohl identifies models and strategies explored in Classroom Thinking Culture for the
following objectives:

To develop a broad range of thinking and feeling processes, teachers may

employ the following instructional approaches
Thinkers Keys
Extended Brainstorming


The Revised Blooms Taxonomy

Directed Thinking (Hats)
To tap into different ways of knowing and understanding the world, teachers
may employ the following instructional approach:
Gardners Multiple Intelligences


To develop different thinking focus, teachers may employ the following

instructional approaches:
Taylors Multiple Talent Model (Focus on Critical Thinking)
SCAMPER (Focus on Creative Thinking)
Lipmans Caring Thinking Model (Focus on Caring Thinking)


To explore integrated instructional approaches, teacher may use:

Combined Blooms Taxonomy and Gardners Multiple Intelligences
The Divergent Thinking Model
Combined Blooms and Krathwohl Taxonomies

Other Instructional Approaches


Creative Problem Solving

Effective Questioning Techniques
Graphic Organizer

Pohl, Michael. Developing a Classroom Culture of Thinking-A Whole School Approach.
27 May 2013 <
Pohl, Michael. Developing a Classroom Culture of Thinking: A Whole School Approach.
27 May 2013 <http://research.avondale.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?