Independent thinking: discerning learners

Here’s Ian Gilbert from Independent Thinking speaking at TEDx in Dubai. I have the pleasure of working with Ian and I’ve included this talk because it is a pertinent reminder that we need to be brave and keep on doing things differently because the world is different.

We need to maintain our focus on explicitly practising thinking, we just know this makes sense. By teaching children how to be Quality Thinkers, we can help them develop their own capacity for creativity, confidence and curiosity. From this point, they will be armed with the qualities I seek in my work, that of the DISCERNING LEARNER. One who can select, analyse, assess and appropriately apply their knowledge and skills in a responsible, innovative and creative way.

We need to deliberately design opportunities where these learning capacities can grow. We need to alert learners to what these learning capacities look, sound and feel like, so they can recognise them in themselves both when they use them and when these capacities are missing, so they can find ways for themselves to develop them.

Some powerful responses to our questions:

“I don’t know…but I will think about it…” If you hear this in your classroom, you’ll know you’re doing something right!

My Thinking-Illustrations are below if you’re interested. This is me, practising the ‘DRAW YOUR LEARNING’ strategy (a great plenary activity to set up at the START of a lesson…a bit of backward teaching for you too!)


4 thoughts on “Independent thinking: discerning learners

  1. Hi Zelda, I simply LOVE the Draw Your Learning strategy – especiallynow that we are inquiring into art and creativity. For some reason (!?!) my 2nd grade students have this idea that adult thinkers/creative people are organized and their knowledge is neatly arranged in tables, charts or very restrictive forms. We began our Reflection Journal and I encouraged them to use drawing, colors and even other materials to express their learning, questions, reflections ( I even started my own and share it with them :).I love your tip of using Illustrated Thinking at the START of a lesson and will steal it – with your permission!Thank you and keep blogging! You’re an inspiration!

  2. Thank you for your comment, Cristina. Let me know how it goes with the journal. I heard about a teacher who restricted his students to a double-page for every topic he taught, so they HAD to be creative about their notes AND in doing so, understood the information on a deeper level. Keep in touch and thank you for your feedback!

  3. Thanks for putting that one up Zoe. This was for the first ever TEDx in the Middle East and was very well received. Wherever you go in the world there are governments trying to create fact-based curricula that can be measured by testing and there are creative, motivated, ordinary people crying out for the chance to not just learn facts but learn to think. Keep fighting the good fight!

  4. Thanks for sharing this video, Zoe. Simple but wonderful premise behind this talk. I have shared it on my creativity elective blog with my students.They all have the links to your sites. Keep up the good work and thanks, Anthony

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