Thinking across Cultures

By Donald M. Topping; Doris C. Crowell et al. | Go to book overview

32
An Assessment of the Thinking Skills Movement: Miles to Go Before We Sleep: A Symposium

Ronald S. BrandtModerator

Participants
Arthur Costa California State University Sacramento
David N. Perkins Harvard Graduate School of Education
Barbara PresseisenResearch for Better Schools
Reuven Feuerstein Hadassah-Wizo Canada Institute
Edward deBonoCognitive Research Trust

Brandt: In recent years there has been heightened interest among educators in the United States and in many other countries in the possibility of teaching thinking skills as a part of the regular school curriculum. We have assembled five influential leaders of this movement to assess what has been accomplished so far and to consider what needs to be done. Our first speaker, Arthur Costa, is a popular consultant and trainer. A professor at California State University in Sacramento, he is editor of ASCD's resource book on teaching thinking, Developing Minds. He has also recently been elected as President-elect of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Costa: I see many changes going on in schools that I associate with a growing interest in teaching thinking. We're seeing a shift away from the idea that enriching cognitive skills is just for the gifted. For many years schools acted as though thinking skills were only for the bright kids. Now it's becoming understood that thinking is for all students. There's a shift away from the notion of a static and unchanging IQ. We've adopted the idea of people like Reuven Feuerstein and Arthur Whimbey, among others, that we can teach people to behave more intelligently, and that people continue to learn and become more intelligent throughout a lifetime.

Another important trend is to see the close relationship between language and thinking. It reveals the tremendous role of the teacher as a mediator of student learning because of his or her influence on language: the kinds of questions the teacher asks, the way he or she responds to student answers. This has become a subject of not only research but also the focus of staff development and even of supervision: helping teachers analyze their own thought processes and their own language to see how it affects the thought processes of students.

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