Thinking Moves A-Z: Metacognition Made Simple

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Thinking Moves A-Z: Metacognition Made Simple

Thinking Moves A-Z: Metacognition Made Simple

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People who think in this philosophical way about their lives and their learning grow in a sense of agency – standing up more confidently for what they care for and value, whilst becoming more creative and collaborative members of their communities.

Enrichment training is minimally another 6 hours for whole schools, usually about 6 months after the Foundation course, but, to help you consolidate Thinking Moves across your curriculum and beyond, it is recommended to include support between the courses. The support usually consists of at least: Roger Sutcliffe had been focussed on teaching thinking in one way or another for 40+ years – as an English teacher, then a Maths teacher, then a Philosophy for Children trainer, and for some years as a consultant for Thinking Schools International.The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) found metacognition to be a low cost and high impact approach to supporting progress. They also linked it to self-regulation, an area which is ever present in early years frameworks. In their findings about metacognition the EEF stated; Thinking Moves A – Z provides a vocabulary for thinking. The moves themselves are not new – we all use them in our learning and our life every day. But now we have a way of talking about how we think, and that gives us a means to work on improving the effectiveness of our thinking.’ Teaching staff build on the more commonly used Thinking Moves words, whilst subtly introducing less familiar terms. The use of synonyms within conversation, to accompany the language of Thinking Moves, supports both adults and children to use the words in context. The variety and depth of them. When you think about what thinking move is being used there is always a perfect one to describe your actions. According to the Educational Endowment Fund, “With a large body of international evidence telling us that, when properly embedded, these (metacognitive) approaches are powerful levers for boosting learning, it’s clear that we need to spend time looking at how to do this well. The same study also states that “Explicit instruction in cognitive and metacognition strategies can improve pupils’ learning” EEF Guidance Report, 2018 (

Metacognition and self-regulation approaches have consistently high levels of impact, with pupils making an average of seven months’ additional progress.” Stephen Walshe is the Co-Principal of the Fortune Kindergarten in Shanghai, and an accredited Thinking Moves trainer. Thinking Moves A – Z is a vocabulary of 26 types of thinking. The Moves are understandable, comprehensive and memorable. They make metacognition simple for teachers and learners, bringing big benefits in school and everyday life. Watch this video to learn more… Our thinking ability is what makes us distinctively human. Yet we have no generally accepted approach to teaching thinking – and no common vocabulary to describe different ways of thinking. This, when you think about it, is extraordinary. Imagine trying to teach or learn maths if we did not have commonly accepted terms such as add, subtract, multiply and divide. At Fortune Kindergarten, in Shanghai, we have been introducing Thinking Moves to our K2 classes since the beginning of this school year. As the year has progressed in K2 classes, we have been integrating the language for these Thinking Moves into our P4C (Philosophy for Children) enquiries and regular classroom lessons. Along with asking children: “What did we just learn?” or “What did we just do?”, we can now ask children, to think about the way they are learning and help them focus on the kinds of thinking they are employing, by asking: “What kind of thinking did we do?” and “How did this help us learn?”A brilliant animation from the year 6 students at Sandringham Primary, Newham on P4C and the 4Cs. Worth 7 minutes’ of anyone’s time! Year 3 students at Bunscoill Rhumsaa in the Isle of Man used Thinking Moves to plan speeches about their favourite predator. Thinking Moves A-Z was developed by Roger Sutcliffe, the man largely responsible for establishing the practice of Philosophy for Children in the UK, together with his colleagues at Dialogue Works. The A-Z provides a shared language with which we – students and teachers – can describe our thinking. Without such a language it is difficult to reflect on the cognitive moves we make and their effectiveness, and to share those reflections with others.

Teachers have expressed their enjoyment incorporating the Thinking moves in their classes. They have remarked about how easily they can be embedded into any topic and how students are now able to use them naturally and without prompting. New teachers to our school are always very impressed at how well the students can remember them and how the students are able to continue using them over the span of their primary school journey.” Moreover, after a while, even very young students begin to understand that the Moves are connected, and we can then look at Thinking Grooves. Comprehensible. Simple activities are provided to allow each move to be practised and to allow people to make meaning of the move. This is supported by a list of synonyms and associated vocabulary for each move that helps people to build a more nuanced understanding of the acts of thinking it denotes. For example, to think ‘Ahead’ is also to ‘ predict‘, to ‘ aim‘, to ‘ look forward‘, to ‘ expect‘, to ‘ hope‘ and to ‘ target‘. Special synonyms for EYFS children are provided; A sixth form teacher in Hertfordshire asked their students how they have been using Thinking Moves… We are an international primary school that has around 600 students and 65 teachers and teaching assistants from all over the world with a significant number learning English as a second language. Our curriculum for Maths and English follows the UK curriculum with the other subjects being taught through topics using the International Primary Curriculum.Thinking Moves A – Z is a vocabulary of 26 types of thinking. The Moves are understandable, comprehensive and memorable. They make metacognition simple for teachers and learners, bringing big benefits in school and everyday life.

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