• Though within the TA one always speak about explicit teaching of thinking I never mentioned to students that I will teach them thinking and never explained the reason of a new approach to learning. I was trying to motivate them for work (which worked for some time) but that motivation was mostly connected with the results of their tests rather then the fact of learning to think. Even now if you ask me to tell them about ‘thinking’ I will hesitate. I realise that it is necessary to speak about it but I guess it will sound too ambitious - ‘we will work on the development of your thinking skills’. I am not sure I am able to explain to them this ‘teaching thinking’ in a proper way and then to actually do this ‘teaching thinking’ (this is probably the core of the fear, I am not sure I can do it that’s why I am afraid to pronounce it). So this explicit aspect of teaching thinking is not so easy and straightforward as it seems to be.
  • Materials have to be adapted, it is too risky to give the system as it is. Better to think about giving parts of the system.
  • Before you start working with the system, show students a bigger picture of where you are going, the whole cycle and try hard not to drop any of the parts you mentioned (e.g. goal formulation/reflection).
  • If you need to make students analyse sentences it is better to give them already sentences typed in templates (where it is possible) to avoid wasting time on writing.
  • Sentence analysis is often superficial. Probably one has to live with it as further model building should make them change their attitude.
  • The question remains – how to help building models. The teacher needs to provide an example of how from all the analysis done students have to build their own models. Building a general model together with students makes it non-personal. So the question is – do we accept it and expect the models to be improved on individual levels or we still have some ways of making students build individual models? 
  • There are some students who just refuse to do anything. What to do with them?



# Alexander Sokol 2011-10-25 20:13
Renata, a few questions about some of the points you are making:
- what exactly is risky about giving students the system as it is?
- have you seen the tutorial on the approach to building models at thinking-approach.eu website? If so, have you been trying to follow the approach? Which parts of it didn't work?
- is it possible to specify the difficulties involved in the actual process of building models?
# Renata Jonina 2011-10-27 19:44
Thank you for the questions. Will try to reply them in turn.
1. The system itself does not work if you are not skilful in procedures. It should be adapted according to how you as a teacher can cope with going through it with learners with different abilities. I believe all parts of the system should be there but either the number of sentences given to students should be less in some cases or written concept questions can be replaced by teacher-asking-concept-questions. You should think of possible flexibility within that system which at the same time should remain the same in its core.

2. Yes, thank you, I have seen it and I tried to follow it. But one thing is to see a tutorial and another one is to try things out. I cannot say that there are parts which do not work, it's more about your skills to work with a dynamic class when offering them the system.

3. Guess I listed some difficulties in my previous replies on other parts of this "Speaking about past" reflection. Probably, these difficulties will differ from one teacher to another, they are probably personal. One should learn to adapt to a dynamic class increasing/decreasing challenge, scaffolding more/less, differentiating approach for stronger/weaker students. If the teacher is already skilful with it, then introducing a new system might be easier.
It's easier when you have a clear task with the clear reply. Once you dare to control the process and especially the one you have never gone through it complicates the situation. It requires some time before you can stop thinking about what you do and start thinking about what your students do and how to react to what they say and direct them.
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