Contrary to popular opinion, thinking CAN be taught
There is a huge emphasis on HOTS and the development of thinking skills in Malaysia, but I am afraid that a lot of it is just plain TALK and THEORY. Teachers are constantly told what they should be doing, but there is not enough support for teachers to show them HOW to do it in their lessons. A lot of time and effort goes into the development of training modules, and teachers spend a lot of time attending Professional Development sessions – but at the end of the day, when you are faced with an overladen curriculum, and with a continued emphasis on the lower order thinking skills such as remember and understand, very little of this new knowledge is ever transferred and embedded into lessons.
On Sunday, RITE Education will start delivering the second module in the PINTAR PCT (core modules for teachers), that we designed to support PINTAR Foundation schools with bridging the gap between theory and practice. This module was developed with a focus on creating a culture of thinking in the classroom, school and school community. Our approach is practical, and we encourage reflection, sharing of best practice and for teachers to really start working together in cross-curriculum groups in order to break down the artificial walls that have been erected between subjects. We approach the development of thinking very comprehensively.
There are so many thinking tools that could contribute towards helping children to create those neural patterns that form with the repetitive use of thinking structures that help scaffold the thinking processes needed for creative and critical thinking. Using simply one tool, such as graphic organisers, is like trying to build a cabinet with only a hammer or a saw. You need multiple tools and strategies within an environment that expects, supports, creates opportunities for, provides the necessary resources and encourages learning from mistakes and experimentation. At the end of the day, however, good thinking starts with good questions and therefore we should encourage our learners to ask those questions that will help them discover and explore the world around them. The graphic below might help you!