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The impact of the implementation of thinking skills programmes and approaches on teachers

What do we want to know?

The Thinking Skills Review Group is interested in establishing the extent of the research evidence of the impact of the implementation of thinking skills on teaching and learning. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of evidence that can inform practice and support the effective implementation of thinking skills programmes and approaches.

Who wants to know?

Teachers; those involved in teacher education

What did we find?  

The following key areas were found to be significant:

  • Changes in pedagogical practice, including: teacher questioning; grouping of pupils; changes in planning and assessment
  • Changes in attitudes towards pupils, including: perception of pupil ability; facilitation of greater pupil responsibility and autonomy; access to pupil learning
  • Implications for professional development, including: practical tools being necessary; collaborative CPD (continuing professional development) being preferable; and partnership with researchers as co-inquirers and critical friends being beneficial.

What are the implications?

  • Technicist, delivery models of implementation will not only reduce the professional involvement and motivation of teachers but may also reduce the effectiveness of the interventions in terms of pupil impact.
  • Thinking skills interventions appear to have potential to support and encourage teachers to develop pedagogy that enables students to achieve greater understanding, engagement and higher achievement. However, it is a process that requires close partnerships and sustained involvement of teachers working together within and across schools, as well as links with critical friends, and this has resource implications.
  • The impact on teachers of teaching thinking skills is to provide greater insight into pupils’ learning and to assist in the meeting of the requirements for assessment for learning as well as promoting higher order thinking.
  • Tools designed to assist the research/evaluation process in an intervention can also be useful in improving the range and quality of feedback to pupils.

How did we get these results?

Thirteen studies were included in the synthesis. All studied the usual teacher working with his/her normal class in an authentic school setting, and included data on the impact of pupils as well as on teachers.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI Centre

This report should be cited as: Baumfield VM, Butterworth M, Edwards G (2005) The impact of the implementation of thinking skills programmes and approaches on teachers. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

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