What is Thinking-Based Learning?
Well, many schools today have recognized that the standard instructional methodology that emphasizes memory and rote learning, reinforced by standard textbooks, is ineffective in leading to either deep or lasting learning on the part of most of their students. These workshops are devoted helping the participants learn a new instruction methodology that they can use in their classrooms at every grade level and in every subject area to achieve deep and lasting learning on the part of their students.
In fact we will expect participants to practice TBL lessons of their own design developed in these workshops in-between each workshop. In each of these workshops we will emphasize four different types of thinking from decision making to judging the reliability of sources of information to developing creative ideas. As we do these workshops we will also engage in an in-depth examination of the instructional strategies that involve transforming the classroom into an active-learning classroom in which the students then use the thinking skills they develop to achieve a deep understanding of important content from the curriculum. This is Thinking-Based Learning.
Hence at its core TBL involves two basic components
The result: students not only learn how to learn things in ways that deepen their learning and help them retain what they learn, but also they learn to become good thinkers in ways that they use not only in the school environment, but throughout their life experiences.
The TBL lessons we will demonstrate and analyze in these workshops represent how teachers at different grade levels, using a standard content curriculum, start to do this. They infuse the teaching of thinking skills into content instruction – critical thinking skills, creative thinking skills, analytical thinking skills, and action-related skills represented by both skillful decision making and problem solving.
But it is not only this dual structure that you will experience in these workshops. You will also experience how teaching TBL lessons involves using a set of special instructional techniques that cluster together to make TBL into a new and powerful instructional methodology.
I am stressing all of this because the ultimate goal of this series of workshops is a practical one. We will help you identify in these real classroom examples of TBL lessons the ingredients of TBL as an instructional methodology that makes TBL so successful, and we will help you translate these into the development of similar lessons of your own. In fact the plan is that through participating in these workshops you will teach your own TBL lessons to your students on a regular basis.
Does this sound good? Well, read on. I will now focus on the main specifics of each workshop.
This workshop will introduce the techniques of Thinking-Based Learning through demonstrations of lessons in which students use each of four different types of thinking to explore examples of important curricular content. These are decision making, problem solving, parts-whole thinking, and an extended version of comparing and contrasting. The main objectives of these lessons are that students learn how to do these types of thinking carefully and with skill, and then use these types of thinking to engage with curricular content. Participants will be introduced to the use of three specific and basic thinking strategies for teaching these types of thinking in these lessons – specific questioning techniques — together with special graphic organizers, as well as ways of shifting to thinking about their thinking – metacognition – to monitor and guide their own thinking. Opportunities will be provided for participants to develop their own lesson ideas for similar TBL lessons that they can teach to their own students using their own instructional style at their own grade level and in their own subject area.
This workshop will build on what was accomplished in Workshop 1 and focus on important skills of Critical Thinking and of Creative Thinking. Again, through lesson demonstrations and analysis participants will be guided to develop lessons on judging the reliability of sources of information, skillful prediction, finding causes, and developing creative ideas, all applied to yield a deep understanding of important curricular content. Techniques for building on a good TBL base to translate good thinking into good writing and other forms of expression will also be introduced in this workshop. And, as usual, opportunities will be provided for participants to develop their own TBL lesson ideas on these four thinking skills.
This final workshop will focus on four more traditional types of thinking – sequencing, ranking, top-down classification, and bottom-up classification which, when set in a TBL context, turn into powerful ways of developing deep understandings of both common and technical concepts that students learn and use in the regular curriculum. This workshop will conclude with an exploration of techniques to help students guide and assess their own thinking, and transfer its use into their lives outside of school.
Certification as a TBL Teacher
Participants who complete all three workshops may chose to make this the basis of becoming certified as a TBL teacher. Certification as a TBL teacher means that we recognize the TBL teaching of a teacher as a fine representative example of TBL teaching. TBL teachers can therefore choose to make their classrooms available to other teachers who want to find out what TBL is like in the classroom.
To be certified as a TBL teacher there is an another requirement in addition to attending these three workshops. Each candidate for TBL status will also need to be coached by a certified TBL coach. CTT usually has a number of TBL coaches available for such coachings. What coaches do is to help teachers perfect their TBL instruction by observing one of their TBL lessons from each workshop and then, in a post conference, discussing the lesson with the teacher. Coaching is non-evaluative, but coaches guide teachers to identify what is working well in their TBL lessons, and what may be in need of improvement, and to discuss with the coaches how they might make the lesson work better.
Teachers who want to be certified, or their schools, usually pay an additional fee for the coaching plus expenses. If a teacher is interested in coaching and certification he or she should contact the CTT office in Madrid and make contact with Elena. The phone number is 91 32 08 070. The email address is email@example.com.
Price: 225 euros per workshop. Registering for all 3 workshops by 1 october is 600 euros. Space in these workshops is limited.
There is a minimum number per workshop. We will contact everyone registered 10 days before the workshop is scheduled to start if the Workshop does not reach its minimum. Registration fully refundable if workshop cancelled.