Professional Development – Thinking Skills and Assessment

The teachers at MPA just participated in a workshop led by Dr Sue Lyle, Head of Continuing Professional Development of Teachers and David Hendley, Senior Lecturer in Education at Swansea Metropolitan University, Wales, UK .  The rationale behind the development of the workshop can be summed
up in three statements:

·         The most important resource in the classroom is the teacher
·         A lack of high calibre teachers is the major stumbling block to a country’s development.
·         You can’t improve student learning without improving instruction

The aim of the workshop is to improve the quality of teaching in order to directly affect the quality of student learning.  The key question asked was:
How can teachers gain the skills they need to promote high quality learning experiences for their students fit for life in the 21st Century?

The Answer:         Thinking Skills

In a world where the only certainty is change, where we cannot predict what knowledge and understanding our students will need, we must equip our students with the skills necessary to be good citizens and lead productive lives.  It is no longer enough to acquire a vast amount of knowledge – they will need to learn how to think and how to apply their thinking.  In this workshop we focused on how teachers can help pupils gain the higher order cognitive skills they will need to make sense of the world in the 21stCentury, for example, how to:
·         Compare and contrast
·         Look for similarities and differences
·         Predict
·         Hypothesize
·         Analyse
·         Evaluate
·         Synthesize
·         Distinguish facts from opinions