Conference Day 2 Programme

Saturday, 24 September, Room "Lielupe"


09:00 - 09:30   Susan Granlund, Kirkonkylä Primary School, Finland & Kirsi Urmson, Rauman Normaalikoulu, Finland. 

Bringing the new Finnish curriculum to life through thinking competences

The new Finnish curriculum comes into effect in 2016. Thinking is the foremost underlying cross- curricular competence, highlighting dispositions, knowledge and skills in thinking, aiming to help learners to be more active, conscious of the learning process, questioning, willing to take risks and make an effort, and finally to be more in control of their own lives and decisions. They should be aware of how they and others think, be inventive and creative, and develop problem solving skills. This presentation is based on our experiences so far of using TA and the TTF, and some other approaches to thinking, and our aim is to demonstrate, through specific, practical examples from our own work in primary and EFL teaching, what steps we have been taking so far to integrate thinking competences more widely into our everyday work in the classroom.


09:30 - 10:00   Natalia Kovilina, Daugavpils Russian Lyceum, Latvia

What to teach at a modern lesson?

The presentation is about one of the most important teachers’ question “What to teach at the modern lessons?” For the teachers who start using TA (Thinking Approach) this question can be transformed into “What themes are good at the TA lessons?  The author will share her ideas how to find some proper subject themes which will help a teacher to integrate subject and thinking aims, how to work with subject Elements at the TA lessons. The presentation will contain a number of examples from the Russian as a native language and other subject lessons.


10:00 - 10:30  Juli-Anna Aerila, Anne Keskitalo, Marja-Leena Rönkkö & Kirsi Urmson, University of Turku, Finland

Arts-based learning process enhancing and revealing children’s thinking

In this study a holistic learning process is presented from the perspective of thinking skills. The learning process was part of the teacher training of University of Turku in Rauma department. The content of literacy, craft and visual art in the frame of thinking skills was combined into a learning process using story line pedagogy. The data consist of texts, art pieces and craft products made by second graders. The data was analyzed using qualitative content analyses and the study aims at finding out how arts-based activities support and enable children’s thinking and how to evaluate these activities as thinking activities. The preliminary results show that the activities in this study might be effective in learning. They contain clear learning targets and limitations and simultaneously give the children the opportunity to be creative and implement their own ideas.


10:30 - 11:00    COFFEE BREAK


11:00 - 11:30   Dr. Ann S. Pihlgren, Ignite Research Institute, Sweden.

Keeping order in a thinking and learning rnvironment

This paper is part of a larger study where more than two hundred teachers have been observed and interviewed. The questions guiding this part of the study focus on how the teacher’s way of keeping order affects the cognitive quality of what is taught.
A ‘thinking and learning environment’ presupposes that the teacher acts with strong focus on fostering students’ habits of mind, keeping order at the same time. However, there is no automatic relationship between orderliness and learning. Two factors are of importance: The teacher’s way of exercising control and if the system was perceptible for the students. Four types of learning environments could be identified, two less successful in supporting cognitive development of students, and two more successful. The strongest learning outcomes are achieved when teachers use a clear and visible system during the lesson, so the students understand what is expected, a system that promotes their self-control.
Keywords: Cognition, order, praxis theory, teaching styles, thinking.


11:30 - 12:00  Dr. Sergei Modestov, Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics, Russia

Science-fiction texts writing as a method of creative thinking development

It is possible to increase creative thinking skills if a person has a talent for creativity? This is a traditional concept. Creative abilities are regarded to be something existing only in the human mind. However, creativity may have different conceptions: every man-made product or technical system designed to deliver certain functional value tends to evolve in a systematic way according to generic patterns and trends of evolution, as well as to some laws of development. It is considerably more efficient than to try to develop genetically determined abilities. The easiest sphere in which everybody can try to create something new and essential is literature. Applying these laws and trends of development to literature leads to producing a new approach to creative thinking training – training by writing science-fiction and fantasy texts.


12:00 - 12:45  Justus Schollmeyer, Leibniz Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, Germany

On the gamification of teaching creative problem solving

At the round table I would like to discuss the opportunities that the increasing digitalization of education holds for teaching Creative Problem Solving (CPS) to more or less anybody with internet access. “CPS” refers to a few approaches that were developed within the TRIZ-tradition (TRIZ – Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) on the basis of patent studies. They were designed with the aim of providing potential inventors with guidelines and conceptual tools for solving problems in invention. According to the TRIZ approach, the art of creative problem solving cannot only be studied systematically but also be taught. Based on these ideas, I would like to focus on the possibility of gamifying education in CPS on a digital level, using as an example a particularly successful serious game for language acquisition, namely “Duolingo”. I will suggest that designing serious online games for CPS might be a promising alternative to attempts of implementing CPS education in the public school system.


12:45 - 14:00    LUNCH BREAK


14:00 - 14:45   Renata Jonina, TA Group, Latvia

Teaching competence for developing learners’ thinking and problem solving: helping in-service teachers grow professionally.

The talk aims at helping participants understand which aspects of their teaching competence they can improve in order to make their classrooms more effective and directed at developing their students’ problem solving competence or inventive thinking skills. In the framework of this talk, I refer to problem solving competence or inventive thinking skills as ability to “effectively solve non‐typical (creative) problems in various domains avoiding a large number of trials and errors” (Sokol et al., 2008: 34).
The discussion will touch upon both those competences which are required for effective teaching-learning process as such and those which are specific for inventive thinking skills classroom.
The talk is based on research data, the results of the study the facilitator is involved in, as well as facilitator’s own pedagogical experience.  

 14:45 - 15:45   Panel Discussion. Teachers from Latvia, Lithuania and Finland

Teacher Stories about thinking classrooms

Teacher education is an important part of any approach to teaching thinking. In this session we would like to give the floor to colleagues who have recently started embedding elements of the Thinking Approach into their classes. They will share their stories about bringing thinking into the classroom, reflect on the achievements made and the difficulties they have faced. After discussing the experiences with the session facilitator and the audience, we will invite more experienced colleagues working in the framework of various traditions of teaching thinking to reflect on the stories and come up with their suggestions and advice.


15:45 - 16:15    COFFEE BREAK


16:15 - 16:45   Dr. Jagoda Topalov & Dr. Biljana Radić-Bojanić, University of Novi Sad, Serbia.

The role of Need for Cognition and L2 proficiency in task performance at higher cognitive levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.

Need for Cognition represents an individual’s tendency to engage in and enjoy cognitive tasks. Previous research results indicate that there is a positive correlation between NFC, on the one hand, and greater persistence and performance in academic tasks, on the other. The goal of this research is to determine whether NFC is significantly tied to success in the EFL tasks that require engagement at the higher levels of the cognitive domain. For this purpose, we conducted a quantitative research in which 68 fourth year English majors completed a short-form of the Need for Cognition Scale and proficiency level (CPE) tests of reading comprehension and the use of English. The results indicate that Need for Cognition is not a determinant of higher cognitive engagement, whereas proficiency in the L2 is significantly tied to the achieved success at higher levels of the cognitive domain. In practical terms this means that foreign language teachers must make attempts to simultaneously raise the level of their learners’ foreign language competence and develop higher order thinking skills, which can be done via different types of tasks, some of which will be illustrated in the presentation.

Key words: Need for Cognition, L2 proficiency, the cognitive domain, higher cognitive levels.

16:45 - 17:15   Svetlana Suchkova, Samara State University and Katie Riley, University of Vigo

Fostering critical thinking via a wiki project: analysis of experience

This paper analyses an international wiki project between a Russian and a Spanish group of EFL adult learners aimed at promoting cultural awareness amongst the participants ( This project provided a space for students to share information about their cultures with peers, ask questions, and comment on each other’s posts. Based on Bloom’s revised taxonomy, the benefits and challenges of the project in terms of promoting critical thinking skills, student motivation, and language skills development will be discussed. In this analysis, we will look at the anticipated problems and solutions, evaluate the effectiveness of the project, focus on the results and student feedback, and suggest changes for future iterations.


17:15 - 17:45   Muhammad Iqbal, Punjab Vocational Training Council, Pakistan.

 Introducing new philosophy of thinking competence to address poverty

(If I exist, I do move and if I move, I do change or be changed- Iqbal HLT Mag 08)

The speaker presents a new philosophy to address poverty through creativity and thinking competence. He proves that 'glass is half full' is not a positive thinking. Rather, he believes in “Glass is half empty but I have a competence to fill it". Man is to think to move ahead for creating 'something meaningful' from 'annihilation' and 'nothingness'.

The speaker focuses on creativity and thinking as a key competence that play a vital role to address poverty in learners. In other words, he explains how creativity and thinking competence can prepare learners for moving motivationally towards 'Nothingness' to transform it into 'Something Meaningful. For practice, he presents why, how and what skills he teaches to promote creativity and thinking competencies in learners. Finally, he shows some of his example lessons.


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