Making Thinking Visible

One of the advantages of using “maker” techniques in the classroom is that when children make things, it helps make their thinking visible to a mindful observer. This is true authentic assessment.

But some teachers may wonder exactly what they can do to make this happen. An initiative called “Visible Thinking”, from Project Zero offers guidelines to help teachers create the culture and climate in classrooms so that visible thinking is a normal part of the learning process.

An article in Educational Leadership, Making Thinking Visible: Teaching Children to Think is a good introduction to these techniques.

Six key principles anchor Visible Thinking:

  • Learning is a consequence of thinking.
  • Good thinking is not only a matter of skills, but also a matter of dispositions.
  • The development of thinking is a social endeavor.
  • Fostering thinking requires making thinking visible.
  • Classroom culture sets the tone for learning and shapes what is learned.
  • Schools must be cultures of thinking for teachers.

This short article contains ideas and suggestions for teachers who wonder about what to do to make sure that “making” in the classroom results in real learning for students. For more in depth resources, including routines and structures for different types of learning situations, check the Visible Thinking website.

One Reply to “Making Thinking Visible”

  1. Looks fascinating. I’m a retired ECE teacher and director, but I love to see new ideas in education.

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