Conference Day 2 Programme

Saturday, 22 September


09:00 - 09:15   Reflection on the learning experience during Day 1

09:15 - 11:00   Teachers Learning to Teach Thinking: An Interactive Exhibition of teachers from Finland, Latvia and Lithuania

Study Materials as Resources for Thinking-based (SMART) Learning project started in August 2016 and comprised partners from Finland, Latvia and Lithuania. The ambition of the project was to develop materials for learners of different age groups and subjects that will help them develop thinking skills along with the development of subject-matter competences. The project group includes both experienced teachers who have been working in the field of teaching thinking for an extended period of time and new colleagues who have just started experimenting with the approach. For the past two years over 50 worksheets for 10 subjects were developed and tested with learners in the three countries. Despite multiple differences all the materials are based on the same competence development framework that comprises five stages: 

  • Stage 0. Can I? Accepting a learning problem
  • Stage 1. What am I dealing with? Developing the passport of an element
  • Stage 2. How to make a choice? Formulating a hypothesis
  • Stage 3. Does my hypothesis work? Developing an algorithm
  • Stage 4. Do I still need the algorithm? Becoming competent and facing a new problem.

During this interactive exhibition session, you will have an opportunity to see some of the developed study materials, do the tasks as a learner, browse through pupils' works, talk to teachers and discuss the relevance of materials to your context. The session will also be a kind of mini action research project for you as a learner.


11:00 - 11:30    COFFEE BREAK (optional discussion of future thinking projects for your organisation)


11:00 - 12:45   Short presentations on various aspects of teaching thinking. Room "Lielupe"  

11: 30 - 11:55 Irina Bučinska, Daugavpils Russian Lyceum, Latvia.

7 Bricks on the Path of Teaching Thinking

Developing learners’ thinking is an interesting, inspiring but challenging area for teachers. When a teacher decides to work in the context of integrating teaching thinking and subject matter, they have a set of questions. What is thinking? How to teach thinking? How to integrate thinking and subject? How to help the learners to think more effectively? In the presentation we will try to answer some of the questions basing on our experience of working with developing learners’ thinking in teaching languages. The talk will focus on 7 important in our view aspects of the process of teaching thinking.


11:55 - 12:20  Dr. Anita Backhouse, University of Lincoln, UK.

Assessment Companion for Thinking Skills (ACTS) project

Erasmus+ is a European Union initiative that aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. The Assessment Companion for Thinking Skills (ACTS) Project is part-funded by Erasmus+ and is a partnership between seven institutions in the UK, Latvia and Finland. The project aims to make the identification and assessment of thinking skills more accessible to teachers in the classroom so that they can recognise the progress their pupils make in their thinking.  ACTS will help teachers diagnose their pupils’ thinking development and help the teachers to direct their support towards guiding their pupils to become more skilful thinkers. This session will present the background to the project, the intended outcomes, the impact that it is having so far within the project as well as the more widespread impact that it hopes to achieve.


12:20 - 12:45  Michael Walsh and Leah Crawford, Let's Think Forum, UK.

The Let’s Think professional development model: developing teachers' reasoning.

Let’s Think in English (LTE) is one of the reasoning programmes that has grown out of the initial ground-breaking work of Adey and Shayer’s (1994) Cognitive Acceleration in Science Education (CASE).  LTE requires that teachers develop pedagogical skills which often sit counter to their existing practices and beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning: teachers themselves need to think differently before they can support their students to do so.  In this lecture, Let’s Think in English tutors Leah Crawford and Michael Walsh will explain the guiding principles that sit behind Let’s Think professional development and some of the practical ways in which they can be enacted.


12:45 - 14:00    LUNCH BREAK (optional discussion for those who would like to join ACTS as pilot partners)


14:00 - 14:55   Short presentations on various aspects of teaching thinking. Rooms "Lielupe" & "Venta"

Room "Lielupe"

14:00 - 14: 35 Irina Bučinska and Renata Jonina, TA Group, Latvia

Towards a tool for assessing the thinking competence: quality of description.

The need to develop and assess students’ thinking competence has been featured in educational programmes of many countries. However, many teachers still have a lot of questions about what exactly should be developed and how it can be assessed.
We have been trying to address this issue by working on a tool that focuses on one aspect of the thinking competence, that of the description of an element under study.
The aim of the developed tool is threefold. It should allow teachers to see which exactly components of this competence can be assessed, how they relate to each other (namely, how these separate components work in a system), and, finally, it should allow teachers assess where their students stand on this thinking line and how they can progress.
During our talk, we will share the first draft of the tool. The participants will be expected to provide feedback in order to help us improve the tool and advance in its improvement and further development.

14:35 - 14:55 Merja Toivanen & Hilppa Jankama, University of Turku, Finland. 

Finnish Teacher Trainees´ Perspectives to Enhancing the Thinking Skills of Primary School Students

The Finnish curriculum for basic education (FCBE, 2014) has thinking skills as one of the core aims. According to the FCBE thinking skills are closely intertwined with learning to learn skills and they both underline the development of other competences and lifelong learning. In this study, we investigate the portfolios of 10 teacher students. In portfolios the students describe their training experiences in classrooms, which concentrate on different thinking pedagogies and are part of the international project ACTS (Assessment Companion for Thinking Skills). The aim of this study is to ponder the pedagogical approaches students have tested during their three month training period. The data (portfolios and a supporting questionnaire) are analyzed via qualitative content analyses, implemented mostly data-driven. The results show, that one of the key elements in creating space for thinking is giving children time to think and discuss as well as providing them with tools to problem-solving.

Room "Venta"

14:00 - 14:25  Dr. Sergei Modestov, Nevsky Institute of Language and Culture, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

The future: do-it-yourself, or Non-obvious literature

We had started a creative imagination development project aimed to find a space where everyone could create without any limits. It is the creation of science-fiction and fantasy literary texts  especially  — since they are dealing with development, the future and other worlds. For this reason, we developed a training course that consists of three main parts: drama text structure, the basic writing skills of authors, and algorithms of creative activity. Later we faced a new problem. Students come up with many bright and interesting ideas and stories, but do not intend to complete their works. The possible solution is to provide the participants with inspiring pragmatic goals and add some competition. Sci-Fi literature ideas are solutions to problems formulated years ahead. Therefore, we present the to the participants some actual future challenges. Participants try to invent possible solutions through fantasy and science fiction narratives and build them into an attractive context.

14:25 - 14:50 Simona Farina, Scuola Primaria Martiri di Belfiore di Mantova, Italy. Talk. Room "Lielupe"

Interdisciplinary learning pathways: “The flower between art and science”.

Interdisciplinary education project in primary school, based on the "Laboratory" experience as an instrument that offers the possibility of dialogue between the Knowledge, in the complexity of a system of knowledge. A non-place in which to promote with the cooperative method: the inclusion, respect, valorisation of the resources involved in the project, appreciating the diversity . Narration and metaphor as a working tool to promote the development of equal dignity to different disciplines: a new humanism. Education as a system for a "sustainable" society.


15:00 - 16:00   WORKSHOP ROUND NO. 3

Kirsi Urmson, Rauma School and  Susan Granlund, Kirkonkylä School,  Finland. Room "Venta"

Using pictures to motivate young learner thinking

In this workshop we will discuss how we have used pictures as a springboard for learning subject content as well as for improving learners’ thinking competences. We will describe what we ourselves have done in a primary school mother tongue (Finnish) class, and in the English (EFL) class, sharing examples of worksheets developed during the Nordplus SMART project.

We will consider what kinds of pictures might be most motivating for young learners and useful for the purpose of making suitable diagnostic tasks which can then be followed up and lead to the making of aims, to making banks and to research into the subject matter.
We aim to share some of our own banks of pictures with the workshop participants and to invite them to consider how some of them might be used in their own learning contexts and with different age groups.

Natalia Melchenkova, Luidmila Talzi, Khoroshkola secondary school, Moscow, Russia. Room "Lielupe"

Writing: critical thinking challenge

This workshop is about developing critical thinking skills through “writing-to-think” approach (the origin: Bard College, USA). It is being successfully implemented in Khoroshkola secondary school, Moscow, Russia. The workshop is divided into three parts: 1) individual writing aimed at establishing beyond the text communication between the reader and the author; 2) collaborative learning practice to explore the background of the participant; 3) metacognitive writing to produce reflection on the collaborative work.


16:00 - 16:30    COFFEE BREAK (discussion of learning experience by the participants)


16:30 - 17:30   WORKSHOP ROUND NO. 4 

Tetyana Kasima, Audentes School, Tallinn, Estonia. Workshop. Room "Venta"

Why do things work out differently than predicted? Developing thinking skills through project-based lessons.

Current workshop aims to answer practical questions that arise while using project-based learning to develop competences. The audience will be able to analyse a series of lessons presented by the speaker and discuss real life situations that highlight the gap between planning and implementing a class.  The participants will have an opportunity to think what they would do in a given situation and then compare their ideas with those implemented in the classroom. The main aim of the workshop is not to be prescriptive but rather create a space where everyone can test their ideas based on concrete examples.

Vira Danylova, Lyceum MIR, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Workshop. Room "Lielupe"

Ability to raise questions as a condition of thinking and learning

We consider questions and questioning an important part of thinking. And we are sure, that it is necessary to teach students to put their own questions. The training of reasonable work with questions should be carried out already in the primary school. For this purpose we develop games and exercises for primary and secondary school students. In these games they learn to raise questions, select, group and transform them. We want to present two such techniques - Map of questions and Positional questioning.

17:35 - 18:00   Reflection and closing


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