Visible Thinking

Visible Thinking

Visible Thinking is a flexible and systematic research-based conceptual framework, which aims to integrate the development of students' thinking with content learning across subject matters.

Visible Thinking began as an initiative to develop a research-based approach to teaching thinking dispositions. The approach emphasized three core practices: thinking routines, the documentation of student thinking, and reflective professional practice. It was originally developed at Lemshaga Akademi in Sweden as part of the Innovating with Intelligence project, and focused on developing students' thinking dispositions in such areas as truth-seeking, understanding, fairness, and imagination. (Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Usually, the processes of thinking are invisible to students. At TASIS Portugal, we aim to make this thinking visible, memorable, and applicable. The development of "thinking routines" and the strategies used to clearly identify problems, consider alternate ideas and solutions, and then creatively solve problems is essential to creating deep thinkers.

Visible Thinking is an approach developed by Harvard's Project Zero to teach thinking routines, habits, and skills that deepen content learning. TASIS Portugal teachers are lucky enough to participate in this embedded professional development course to learn, explore and apply three themes that are at the heart of Visible Thinking: thinking routines, thinking dispositions, and documentation of student thinking.

Visible Thinking is not about thinking alone, but about collaborative processes of thinking together. It is by sharing our thoughts and opinions and taking in the thoughts and opinions of others that help us to refine our thinking, examine our biases, and improve our communication skills.

Visible Thinking in Action

Visible Thinking provides structured routines that allow TASIS teachers to embed cognitive skills into the content-rich lessons from Core Knowledge and Singapore Math. Some of the key goals of a Visible Thinking approach include:

  • Deeper understanding of content
  • Greater motivation for learning
  • Development of learners' thinking and learning abilities
  • Development of learners' attitudes toward thinking and learning (growth mindset)
  • A school culture of engaged thinkers and learners

The maker mind: Jen Ryan at TEDxDirigo Generate