26 Mar 2018

Making Thinking Visible

An area of learning we are passionate about is using visible thinking routines in the classroom to help develop students who can shape their world through independent, creative and critical thinking. A visible thinking routine is any idea that invites the learner to be an observer, organise their own ideas and reason carefully and reflect on these ideas. The idea was developed by a philosopher at Harvard University, who created Project Zero. He believed that learning should be a cognitive activity but zero work has been done in this field so the idea of Project Zero was generated. It has been developed and expanded to many different areas over the years and led to the ‘Culture of Thinking’ project and examples of thinking routines to use in class.

The benefits we have experienced from using thinking routines at AISA are numerous. They help direct teacher attention straight to the issue of thinking, they encourage action and discussion and they build an infrastructure for thinking and learning in the classroom. By using the visible thinking techniques in lessons and leading professional development sessions in school, we have aimed to create a creating a culture of learning to drive students learning forward. To develop this further we are aiming to schedule catch up sessions in school to share good practice and reflect on what routines worked well in the classroom. We plan to research the ideas further by making connections in the local community and joining Project Zero Netherlands professional development events creating partnerships with other schools in the area.

Sarah Horton

Class Teacher



Image credit: Rachel Mainero