Saturday, 21 March 2015

Harvard's Project Zero

Since I've joined a new work environment, I haven't had much time to reflect and post about what I've learnt. Seriously, the depth and breath of information that has been loaded into my brain for the last 3 months is near what I've accumulated over the last 4 years as a teacher. A case of information overload from the incessant workshops, seminars and talks that I have been attending as a result of my involvement in curriculum design work.

It turns out that curriculum design work is a whole new ball game to me. It is a new playing field and the future of a certain subject and the expectations of a whole nation's responsibility now resides heavily on my shoulders.

For today, I will like to share on Harvard's Project Zero, which is about making Thinking Visible. It has its roots in 1967 and Howard Gardner, the psychologist who theorized multiple intelligences, is the Senior Director of this project.

I could not really translate my learning into practice when I attended a Thinking Routines workshop conducted by the Singapore's Teacher Union some 2 years ago. But somehow, the recent sharing on Harvard's Project Zero enlightened me and I could finally see what this could lead to in terms of enriching student's thinking with content learning across different subject areas. It is not only suitable for the teaching of languages and the arts where opinions and justification are needed. It is applicable for the mathematics and sciences as well.

In short, it is for practitioners who want to encourage the development of a culture of thinking in their classrooms to deepen student's learning and to cultivate their thinking skills. The premise for this is that thinking is invisible. Visible Thinking includes strategies of making students' thinking visible to themselves, to their peers, and to the teacher, so they get more engaged by it and come to manage it better for learning and other purposes. Essentially, students have to think about what they are thinking (metacognition).

Harvard's Project Zero has uncovered routines, which are simple structures for use across various grade levels and content. These routines could include a sample set of questions or a short sequence of steps, that can be used repeatedly in the classrooms so that students and teachers are familiar with this thinking culture.

There are 4 types of routines - Core, Fairness, Truth and Creativity. Some of us are may be familiar with See, Think, Wonder and Think Pair Share. What about Circle of Viewpoints, Compass Points and Stop, Look, Listen?

Ideally, I will like to see how a combination of these routines can be used in the classrooms and how that culture of thinking can be set in the classrooms.

For more on Visible Thinking strategies, go to Visible Thinking

1 comment:

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