“Getting to the heart of the matter using the thinking hats”

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It has been very encouraging over the course of this last UOI to see how students are beginning to see the value of making their thinking visible and developing their confidence to share ideas in a very public way. It is possible that sometimes as teachers we can take children’s ability to reveal their thoughts for granted, but for young children sharing personal ideas can be very risky and potentially expose them to ridicule. However when students feel secure in their learning environment, we start to see not only creative ideas emerge, but also preconceived ideas through the connections they make with their personal lives. These different perspective provide a great context for developing the learner profile and attitudes, because they allow us to interact, share points of view and reflect on concepts such as bias and the validity of our beliefs. At times this can be a contentious area to explore, but in my opinion totally necessary. After all in the PYP we are teaching children for intercultural understanding.

By using different combinations of the thinking hats, it is possible to tap into those pure unadulterated lines of thought, which may not emerge in a general discussion and brainstorm about a subject. (see the video clip below). During this session the thinking hats supported greater depth of insight into student thinking. From a teaching and planning perspective this kind of thinking provides wonderful material for further inquiry.

Wondering around the classroom I used two simple guiding questions to stimulate interaction – “what are you thinking?” and “what makes you think that?”