Our own project, with the Culture of Thought

Watch a report which follows our team at the ICOT Miami 2018 and how it explored new strategies and possibilities by visiting some schools in the state of Florida, leaders in the application of the Culture of Thought in the classroom.

Ours is an educational project based on the present and very much on the future. A present that is fundamentally based on the choices of our own background and the good results that we obtained year after year in university access exams, the official basic skills tests of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the internal surveys completed by the students, in which they usually very positively evaluate the school’s relaxed and stimulating working environment. To this we add a very exciting future, as a result of the implementation of the Culture of Thought.

This is the result of years of study, research, courses, visits and conventions, all with the ongoing concerns about finding the best methodologies for students and with the conviction that the key is a good base during preschool education.

It was with this purpose that we travelled to Philadelphia two years running in the 90s to attend the theoretical-practical courses given by Dr. Glenn Doman, the creator of the bits intelligence, at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP). With the same desire for learning, we travelled to Reggio Emilia where we absorbed the philosophy created by Loris Malaguzzi, which converts the students into the controller of their learning. Years later we visited different schools and institutes in Finland to understand why their educational system obtains such good results in the OECD’s PISA tests. We also visited North American public schools in Florida, the leaders in the application of the Culture of Thinking and making the most of the attendance of a team from our school at the International Conference on Thinking, ICOT Miami 2018.

As explained in the report, 50 years ago a group of researchers called Project Zero from Harvard University, among which were Gardener and Perkins, began to study the cognitive thought processes, reaching the conclusion that it was necessary to perform a reset of how we had been approaching teaching up to the present. They propose resetting the counter to zero and beginning again, with a new mentality that contemplates the cultures of thought, meaningful learning, the comprehension of consequence as research lines, in other words, a series of strategies based on metacognition. This recently coined term supersedes cognition —in other words acquiring knowledge— to add a reflection on the thinking itself and the mental processes involved in learning.

In order for students to understand how they learn a high level of awareness and dedication is required, but there are enormous rewards such as the pleasure of carrying out research, setting one’s own objectives and creating strategies to achieve them. The result is more autonomous, conscious and efficient learning.

The whole school is a gallery of learning

The change in the paradigm transcends the classrooms and fills the whole school. The most visible latest development from the integration of the Culture of Thought in our school has been that everything is becoming conceived as a gallery of learning. Not just the classes but also the corridors and other common areas detail the history of different learning methods.

Huge murals document and lay out the learning process in order to create a conscious and visible though, and at the same time dignify and celebrate the learning achieved by the students.

The Culture of Thought joins a series of innovations that we have been implementing in recent years based on Multiple Intelligence Theory, as well as the Glenn Doman, Reggio Emilia, Montessori and Waldorf methods, to name a few.

A new school culture that motivate students to want to learn at any time and in any place, which prepares them to develop the skills that the world requires: emotional, communicative, adaptive, etc. and which makes them smart thinkers, with resources and strategies to address any situation that they may face.

Moreover, in a simple, stimulating and creative manner using the different methodological resources provided by the Culture of Thought:

  • thinking routines
  • mind habits
  • thinking skills
  • thinking keys
  • thinking maps

Some quotes from the Culture of Thought,

that we gathered at ICOT as a source of inspiration:
  • “It is necessary to promote visible thinking and mental habits, to take another step in learning and understand what can be done with it” (David Perkins).
  • “We have to teach students how to think and guide them towards a superior, creative and autonomous thinking… so that they explore what they are learning in depth and, based on critical reasoning, they reflect on the decisions they make” (Robert Swartz).
  • Documenting learning and making thought visible is a very useful tool in encouraging understanding and it is also more motivating for the student, given that they will have proof of the path that has led them to integrate the learning” (Maria Ximena Barrera).
  • “Teachers should design an area of co-creation with the students, where they can recognise their capabilities, stimulate their interests and moreover trust them, in order to empower them and to make them more autonomous and responsible (Maria Adelaida López).
  • “Emotions must be involved in learning so that it is real and significant” (Mary Helen Immordino-Yang).
  • “Deep understanding is only achieved by directly involving students in the thought and learning processes” (Lane Clark).
  • “The classroom must have a fluid atmosphere, in constant experimentation, where errors are naturally integrated as part of the learning process and the student is complicit with the teacher and classmates to jointly design the learning” (Guy Claxton).
  • “I support integrating the liberal arts into the classroom because they encourage a type of learning that involves the senses and emotions, the capacity to observe and to surprise oneself and the ability to know how to see…” (Howard Gardner).

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