Innovative Thinking and Building Knowledge


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As an educator one is always looking beyond teaching the standards and giving students the tools they will need to be productive in society. Teaching thinking skills is the place to start. Ever wonder how to empower your students to think? Well this powerpoint is a practical application of teaching thinking skills at every level. It challenges teachers to teach students to think. Even if your students are in higher education. This powerpoint is based on Cabrera and Colosi’s book Thinking at Every Desk (2009).

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Innovative Thinking and Building Knowledge

  1. 1. Understanding Thinking and Knowledge By Wafa Hozien, Ph.D Virginia State University Based on the Book Thinking at Every Desk By Cabrera and Colosi
  2. 2. Ch. 1: Why Students Need 21stCentury Skills
  3. 3. To meet the challenges ahead, Problem Solvers will need proficiency in:        Content Knowledge Critical Thinking Creative Thinking Interdisciplinary Thinking Scientific Thinking Systems Thinking Prosocial Thinking
  4. 4. TWO LAWS OF KNOWLEDGE 1. We Build Knowledge Knowledge What to Know (Product) CREATES INFORMS Thinking How to Know (Process)
  5. 5. 2. Knowledge Changes Three ways in which knowledge changes: 1. Growth 2. Validity 3. Relevancy
  6. 6. Restoring the Balance: What to Know and How to Know     Mismatches between practices and reality (which must be resolved) We see a system that behaves as if students can “get” knowledge and teachers can “give” it We see a system that behaves as if facts are static and reliable forever We see a system that behaves as if knowledge can be segregated from thinking
  7. 7. Method We don’t need a miracle to teach thinking skills- we need a method.
  8. 8. Chapter Two The Patterns of the Thinking Method Making Distinctions
  9. 9. The Universal Structure of a Distinction is Identity and Other DISTINCTIONS Identity Other
  10. 10. Distinction       Is NOT a thing that we assign a name to; It is a boundary between that thing and everything that is NOT that thing. Is the boundary that allows us to capture or explicate both an identity and an other. Being more aware of the distinctions you are making will make you more analytically sophisticated, more creative, more systematic in your thinking
  11. 11. Name all things. . . When we name things, it’s a good indication of distinction-making We don’t need words to make distinctions
  12. 12. The Hazards of Ignoring the Other We get our identity from our relationship with the other  If you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a thousand battles without a single loss (Sun Tzu)  You must see both the identity and the other in every distinction you make 
  13. 13. Figuring out what Something Is and by What it is NOT  Distinction Making In Seconds or Years ◦ We make dozens of distinctions every minute       What we choose to see or are able to recognize changes everything: How we think How we behave How we understand the world Anytime we make a distinction we decide to recognize some things and to ignore others Knowledge changes – distinctions need to be revisited and revised e.g. Pluto is now a dwarf planet
  14. 14. Chapter Three The Patterns of Thinking Method Recognizing Relationships
  15. 15. Relationships RELATIONSHIPS Cause Effect
  16. 16. Four Key Points About Relationships: 1. 2. 3. 4. They are universal They are often hidden or implicit They are distinct and often are systems themselves made up of parts, and Relationships are inter-relationships between and among ideas
  17. 17. Building New Knowledge 3 Ways to Innovate 1. Invent something totally new 2. Make an existing thing better 3. Relate two existing things in a new way
  18. 18. Chapter Four The Patterns of Thinking Method Organizing Systems
  19. 19. The universal structure of a system is part and whole SYSTEMS Part Whole
  20. 20. Chapter Five The Patterns of Thinking Method Taking Perspectives
  21. 21. Take a Point and a View PERSPECTIVES point view
  22. 22. Understanding Perspective Taking perspective is: viewing the world or anything in it from a particular point of view  We are used to thinking of different people as having perspectives,  Ideas have perspectives, too 
  23. 23. Ideas as Perspectives We look at one idea through another idea:  For example, the Civil War is called  War Between the States (North)  War of Northern Aggression (South)  Same War – Different Connotation 
  24. 24. Idea has Many Perspectives Teaching students to see ideas from many perspectives shows them that how we name thins  And the parts we see of an idea are a result of the perspective from which we view it 
  25. 25. Point of View When you have a point of view you have a perspective  When thinking you are standing from a point where to view it  As with any relationship the point affects the view  And in turn the view affects the point 
  26. 26. Categories Are a Perspective Categorization is not universal  We organize our desks in categories of accessibility; kitchen as well  We teach students to sort and organize  When we categorize we are taking perspective  That is from OUR world view 
  27. 27. Chapter Six Thinking at Every Desk Making Connections leads to Effective Engagement
  28. 28. Ripple Effect Energy is focused on  Teacher Knowledge  Student Knowledge  These are the student-teacher relationship/knowledge-thinking relationship  Focus on these TWO relationships is the Ripple Effect  ◦ We get Best Practices for Free
  29. 29. Best Practices:       Differentiated instruction Student-centered learning Multiple intelligences Teacher effectiveness Data-driven assessment Deep understanding
  30. 30. Best Practices  - -   21st century skills Critical thinking Creative thinking Interdisciplinary thinking Systems thinking Scientific thinking Learning by design Improved test scores
  31. 31. Infusion of the Patterns of Thinking Method throughout a standards based curriculum will have the following impact on classroom or school: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Students are more engaged. They understand the content more deeply. Their knowledge retention increases. Their transfer or learning increases. They develop skills in metacognition, understanding how they think. Teachers
  32. 32. Power of a Teacher 6. 7. 8. 9. Teachers can reach any type of learner. Teacher preparation is simplified. A vertical articulation of essential thinking skills occurs across all grades in all subject areas. Thinking skills become easy to measure with a practical way to assess how students are constructing meaning.
  33. 33. National Standards for Thinking Skills Standard Skill Learns to make distinctions by identifying what is and is not included in an idea. Names and defines concepts by communicating what something is and is not. ----------------Considers alternative boundaries between what is and is not part of an idea. ----------------Understands that every thing is a distinction comprised of identity and other.
  34. 34. Standard Skill Learns to think about interrelationships between and among ideas. Relates ideas. ---------------Identifies and names hidden relationships between and among ideas. ----------------Identifies the parts of a relationship. -----------------Understands that every idea can be related to other ideas or act as a relationship.
  35. 35. Standard Skill Learns to think in systems by organizing parts and wholes. Identifies the parts of ideas. --------------Organizes systems into parts and wholes. ---------------Recognizes the alternative wholes that a part can belong. ---------------Understands that every whole has parts and every part is a whole.
  36. 36. Standard Skill Learns to take different points-of-view Takes multiple perspectives on a and see new perspectives topic or issue. ------------------Understands that perspective is comprised of both a point and a view. ------------------Demonstrates taking various types of perspectives (physical, psycho-social, conceptual) ------------------Recognizes that a perspective exists even when it is unstated.
  37. 37. Standard Skill Integrates the Patterns of Thinking Demonstrates ability to combine distinction making, interrelating, part-whole organization, and perspective taking processes to create, understand and change concepts. Applies the Patterns of Thinking to Content Knowledge Is aware of both current and structural context when constructing the meaning of any idea.
  38. 38. Implant or Inoculation?   Implant: To establish or fix an idea in a person’s mind Inoculation: The act or an instance of inoculating, especially the introduction of an antigenic substance or vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease. Students must be taught to: 1. Take another look at the other. 2. Discover hidden connections between ideas. 3. See both the parts and wholes that make up a system, and 4. Take many perspectives on any and every idea they encounter.
  39. 39. Questions What are the four patterns of thinking discussed in this presentation?  How do you see yourself implementing these strategies?  How do you use tools to develop thinking skills?  How do you encourage students to play with ideas? 
  40. 40. Reference  Thinking At Every Desk. (2009)  How Four Simple Thinking Skills Will Transform Your Teaching, Classroom, School, and District  By Derek Cabrera and Laura Colosi  Research Institute for Thinking in Education  Ithaca, New York