Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pilgrimage to Thinking - Why do it?

Having travelled for 36 hours to attend the international conference on thinking in Belfast I have been both jet lagged and  tired. It has been a fantastic antidote to that time in the air. The first day included a group presentation led by Robert Swartz who is a leader at the National Center for Teaching Thinking.

Part of his session looked at what strategies can make thinking explicit.
One of the propositions with regard to thinking skills  was that they require a context and process in which to be placed.

Robert used a Thinking Map or organiser to look at Part Whole relationships

Determining Part-Whole
1.  What smaller things make up the
2.  For each part, what would happen to
the whole if it were missing?
3.  What is the function of each part?

I decided to try to apply this to my own understanding as to what made up a conference such as this thinking one. My feeling was that these are powerful learning experiences and wanted to critically look at why. The tool did help me to come to the following personal viewpoint after this is a look at the process map I used. The graphic organisers and perspective tools add to the depth of thinking I think.

Relating Part to Whole

The reasons we attend conferences or professional learning is to add to existing understandings and create potentials. These experiences might provide preferred futures for ourselves our learners, schools and communities. One such opportunity is an international conference which has a particular place due to its unique features. The motion involved: travel, pilgrimage, exposure to new faces and new ideas creates an immersive environment that goes beyond the keynote and workshops. There is invigoration and determination to take as much away from this opportunity. Keynote speakers generally represent considered authority and bring together contempories to challenge each others thinking. These people set some of the big questions for the audience to consider and bring an authority and respectability to the event. The programme brings focus to the ideas and concepts concerned in a way that other learning situations are unlikely to achieve.

Part Whole Thinking

Roberts co-authored this book which maybe worth a look: Infusing the teaching of Critical and Creative Thinking into Content Instruction” by Robert Swartz & Sandra Parks (The Critical Thinking Co.) It can be purchased online from The Learning Network NZ.

No comments:

Post a Comment