Dimensions of Thinking and Cognitive Instruction

Dimensions of Thinking and Cognitive Instruction

Dimensions of Thinking and Cognitive Instruction

Dimensions of Thinking and Cognitive Instruction

Synopsis

By establishing a conceptual framework and a common language for educators to work together, this volume attempts to answer the challenge facing all teachers -- how can students improve the quality of their thinking? Methods of strengthening the thought process include: helping students learn to monitor their attention and commitments; asking questions that require students to organize, analyze, and integrate information; setting tasks that involve complex processes such as problem solving and research; and modeling and reinforcing fair-mindedness.

Excerpt

American education is experiencing a period of unprecedented change. One significant change is the focus on restructuring schools. Throughout the nation, there are initiatives for "school-based management, "empowerment," "alternative schools," "essential schools," "accelerated schools," "involvement of parents," and "community/business partnerships" as different approaches to restructuring schools.

A second change is the growth of the movement to improve students' ability to think using cognitive instruction, which helps students to develop so-called "higher order" thinking skills and to become self-regulated learners. This thrust comes largely from two different sources: (a) the number of commercially developed thinking skills programs and study skill courses offered as adjunct courses, and (b) the recent movement to infuse the teaching of thinking across the subject areas so that every teacher teaches thinking.

This movement to teach thinking is refreshing and long overdue. However, there is much confusion among educators, policymakers, and researchers alike about what thinking is and how best to teach it. Also, we have great concerns that the movement to teach thinking is not linked directly to the initiatives to restructure schools. Equally important, this ground swell to teach thinking characteristically does not address issues of equity of access to quality curricula and appropriate cognitive instruction.

The two volumes of this book address these issues. Volume I provides research-based descriptions of skilled thinking and self-regulated learning within each of the various dimensions of thinking, factors that influ-

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