How might we build a culture of critical and creative thinking for students, where children delight in their learning, develop deep and lasting understandings, and become critical and creative thinkers? How might we move away from a spoon-feeding culture towards a culture where it is the children who take responsibility for their own learning? How might students become thinkers, rather than do the thinking? And how does the culture of a classroom teach?
For over a decade, Masada College has been offering professional opportunities to explore these questions and many more, drawing on a wide range of research on critical and creative thinking in schools to build a culture of thinking. Cultures of Thinking are “places in which the group’s collective and individual thinking is valued, visible and actively promoted as part of the regular, day-to-day experience of all group members.” (Ritchhart, 2002)
Our flagship course, Building Capability for Critical and Creative Thinking course, takes as its starting point the notion that ‘the imparting of knowledge (content) and the development of thinking skills are accepted today as primary purposes of education’ (ACARA), however, building on this, it is underpinned by the belief that it is through the practice of critical and creative thinking, that the acquisition of knowledge and deep understanding is achieved.
By the end of this course, professional learners are able to apply a rigorous and transformative framework for building students’ capability in critical and creative thinking. It is not an either/or – knowledge and understanding or critical and creative thinking – we achieve both of these goals.
Through our professional learning courses at Masada College and in our consultancy with schools across Australia, we aim to ignite the flame of interest in cultures of thinking, create curious classroom cultures and help teachers and schools focus on developing thinking dispositions that allow our students to be successful in not just the tests and exams they face in school but in all the tests they will face in life.