A thinking school is an educational community in which all the members share a common commitment to giving regular, careful thought to everything that takes place. They identify both staff and students as active participants in thinking reflectively, critically and creatively.
The success of our thinking school process is reflected in our students’ attitudes to learning, performance and satisfaction in school. Every stakeholder of the school shows commitment to the process and goals of the institution. Our staff are special trained regularly and our curriculum is structured in a manner whereby necessary cognitive and critical thinking strategies are taught
Thinking School Accreditation Process
For an institution to be accredited as a Thinking School, some criteria need to be met, according to Bob Burden, Director of the cognitive Education Centre at the University of Exeter. There are 14 criteria and they include:
- The headteacher/principal needs to formally make a commitment to include cognitive learning in the system to improve the school’s development.
- The school governors need to support the commitment (above). A formal statement of support needs to be written to avoid any clashes.
- A capable and formally-appointed member of staff as the coordinator of Cognitive Education.
- The Cognitive Education coordinator needs to create a team/group of colleagues to become part of the cognitive education team.
- Eventually, at least 80% of the staff should understand fully, what the cognitive curriculum is about, what it’s really for, and how they can contribute to its success.
- The main cognitive programmes being offered need to be examined thoroughly.
- Everything about cognitive education needs to be included in an action plan which the cognitive education team must’ve created.
- The cognitive education coordinator needs to actively partake in special training and programmes that are relevant to his/her role.
- All school staff need to attend courses/training as well.
- Alternative forms and outcomes of assessment need to be done. This includes self-assessment and peer assessment by students.
- Evidence of successful learning programmes will need to be documented and tracked. This also applies to the students’ attitudes to learning.
- When a school becomes a recognised thinking School, there’ll be reviews on how effective the process is.
- Staff needs to be encouraged to talk about cognitive education and how it can be made better. It should be an ongoing process and staff need to be enthusiastic about it.
- All the listed criteria need to be fulfilled in a way that shows that the institution fosters a positive, caring and creative atmosphere to every stakeholder.
Benefits of a Thinking School
Thinking Matters also highlights some benefits of Thinking School for leaders, teachers and pupils:
- It creates a common purpose, and this energises staff
- Improves staff engagement and retention
- There is improved motivation to learn, and this leads to improved attendance.
- Students’ behaviors and attitudes are improved.
- It prepares students with the necessary skills and thought processes for higher education and careers.
At Grenville School, we are proud to call ourselves a Thinking School having satisfied the above criteria.
For more information on Thinking Schools, visit https://www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com/what-is-a-thinking-school