Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Dimensions of Learning : teaching students to think


Teaching thinking skills will best prepare students for the complex problems that await them in the future. Learning tasks now require students to demonstrate deeper understanding through the application of knowledge to solve problems. The shift towards the development of student thinking skills is based on the premise that the collection of knowledge alone is not sufficient for young people to function in a complex world. Despite the emphasis placed on the development of student thinking skills, there has been little discernible change in the way some classrooms operate. One model that provides a practical framework for teachers to infuse instruction in thinking skills into curriculum content is the Dimensions of Learning model. Underpinning this model is the assumption that all learning is thinking and that if learning is to be enhanced teachers must explicitly teach the thinking skills needed. Dimensions of Learning was developed as a model that translated educational research into a comprehensive set of instructional strategies based around five types of thinking. Central to the Dimensions of Learning framework is a five-step process that guides teachers through the explicit teaching of thinking skills: (1) Help students understand the process. (2) Give students a model for the process and create opportunities for students to practise using the process. (3) Focus on the critical steps and difficult aspects of the process. (4) Provide students with graphic organisers of the thinking process. (5) Use teacher-structured and student-structured tasks. [Author abstract, ed]

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