The History Of Thinking Skills

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[The history of thinking skills]



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In this study we try to explore the concept of the history of thinking skills in a holistic context. The main focus of the research is on the history of thinking skills and its relation with the thinking skills. The research also analyzes many aspects of the history of thinking skills and tries to gauge its effect on such skills. Finally the research describes various factors which are responsible for thinking skills and tries to describe the overall effect of the history of thinking skills.

Table of Contents






Thinking about thinkingvi

Thinking about Historyvii

The skills of learning historyviii

Appropriate tasks for children?x

Approaches to Learningxii

The Projectxiv

Narrative, fiction and factionxv

Starting positionsxvii

Evidence from artefactsxviii

Event Framingxx

Chapter [number]: The history of thinking skills

Thinking about thinking

The perceived usefulness of thinking skills as instruments for curriculum development has fluctuated over the years, usually as a result of the stance of any one particular government at the time. The importance given to them is inclined to occur when more formal approaches to learning are perceived to have failed and, in this respect, it has become something of a holy grail. I was reminded of this recently when reading the DfES's evaluation of the literacy and numeracy strategies which asserted that too much time in a maths lesson was being dedicated 'to test practice and refining test techniques'(TES, September 2002). The alternative suggested was 'a focus on thinking skills, which would move away from the present concentration on English, maths and science'. These skills, 'based on the psychology of learning', would 'involve a variety of methods but all encourage pupils to grasp a topic at deeper level than simply recalling information'.

The idea of thinking skills as being fundamental to learning has a long and illustrious history. There is a considerable canon on the subject, much of it influenced recently by the work of Robert Fisher (1995a, 1995b, 1998, 2000) who seeks to establish approaches to help children develop critical, creative and imaginative states of mind. He argues that this can be achieved by improving their thinking skills, thus helping them make more sense of their learning and their lives. The work of Guy Claxton (2002) has extended thinking in this respect in order to give children a better understanding of themselves as learners. These principles have provided the focus for much recent work on thinking skills and learning history (Dean, 2002; Wallace, 2003, 55-77) but Fisher's ideal of the 'philosophical classroom' has been seen by some to be counter-productive to the infusion of skills within ...
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