Nov 142016
 

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Thinking Schools Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A Collaboration of Thinking Foundation and Engage Now Africa
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
img_4393-2Thinking Schools Ethiopia with Thinking Foundation began its collaboration with Engage Now Africa (ENA) with the first phase Instructional Leadership Training facilitated on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 10th and 11th 2016. Participants included the Wereda education bureau deputy head, leadership and experts team of ENA, school leaders (directors) of the four (4) Laboratory Schools and instructional leaders from local private schools, deputy directors, departments heads, teachers professional development experts, education quality assurance team from the local education bureau and key lead teachers from the model schools. The training focused on;

  1. img_4407Exposing the leadership with the Thinking Schools Model providing them with the opportunity to assess relevance, instrumentality and adaptability (practicability) of the model given concrete contexts of local government schools .
  2. Gain leadership support for whole school –systematic implementation of the tools, strategies and techniques across ALL disciplines and grade levels.

img_4374The training was a hands–on, highly interactive, and deeply reflective and focused on the simple, practical aspects /elements which educators could readily use in real class rooms thinking and learning about content with students.   The leadership training follows from the whole school transformational change approach the model employs to engage whole school community and draw from expertise, experiences, backgrounds, wisdom rooted in local cultural resources of the educators .

img_4410Following will be facilitated whole staff trainings for ALL the educators of the four (4) laboratory schools identified by ENA (Engage Now Africa ) . This will then be supported, reinforced, consolidated and made sustainable via site visits and Training of Trainers professional development works. Below are some of the photos taken of the trainings.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 1:10 pm
Jun 092016
 

mayi10
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia

By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
mayi8
We began the site visit at Mayi Ayni Elementary School with our conversations with the school leader Ato Amanuel since we arrived earlier than the set time for the conducting the professional development. In our conversations with the director we were shared the following existing level of implementation:

  • We were told that the schools top ten students were chosen for Thinking Maps training and were given Thinking Maps trainings as leaders.
  • Thinking Maps were required in lesson planning to be the pedagogical tools creatively employed for facilitating lessons in ALL subjects . Deputy director, Elsa Hadush, told us that she was observing classes where teachers were required to demonstrate their uses for facilitating students thinking with contents. She shared that there were observed three outstanding teachers in terms of competent uses of the maps. One of these, the teacher Gidey Embaye, was interviewed.
  • We were also shared that community building exercises were used and found helpful during assembly of students for singing the National Anthem and other events of the assembly.

mayi9Then since we still have enough time before we get ALL teachers together in a room for mini- professional development we were invited to observe teacher Gideys class which was being conducted.

Why was our day beautiful:
Gideys class made our day. We entered her class and observed students actually forming words in Tigrigna that begin with a given letter / alphabet in a circle of a bubble map. She first asked students to list all members of an alphabet in Tigrigna by writing on a blackboard. A student takes a chance and walks in front of the class to write all members of an alphabet , he tries exhausting writing all of them and he himself then gives a chance for any one of the girls in the class to continue with the writing of members of a different alphabet, then the girl alternatively assigns a boy, then a girl, followed by a boy…

mayi2Afterwards the task changes into forming words that begin with a letter: the letter being in the central circle of a bubble map , the bubbles then are filled with words whose initial letter is the letter in the central circles. Students were alternately changing chances on the basis of gender to accomplish tasks assigned to them. Then the teacher tried to draw a tree map with the different categories being the different letters of the alphabet. Students were actual alternatively taking chances to form different words under the different letters.

Key notes

  • mayi7Teacher Gidey had not take any of the trainings conducted in any of the phases. She was not exposed to the trainings the three of us facilitated. Seh learned from the Trainer of Trainer and other colleagues
  • She actually used a technique of alternatively using chances for eliciting students responses. Boys assigning tasks to girls whom they chose and girls assigning boys to tasks and so on.
  • The thinking maps and a pedagogical strategy was used instrumentally to support the attainment of goals of literacy.

We have seen different levels of impmayi3lementation so far in the form of transfer for other teachers who did not take visual tools trainings, portfolios of teachers using the maps in their class rooms, efforts of introducing the maps to students and bring about the awareness of the maps, but we have not seen as solid an outcome as these students actual demonstration of the mastery of vocabulary building, active, generative and productive engagement of their brains in the construction of knowledge of words and their classes.

It is important to mention here that deputy director Elsa shared that she was supporting the real class room uses of Think-Pair-Share as a strategy and Powerful Questions techniques.

mayi4We then began the theoretical discussion with community building exercises which we consolidated by facilitating participants reflective thinking about the community building exercises.

Then Atsede did a demonstration lesson on patriots and their deeds. She initially modeled the use of circle maps to brain storm about patriotism with a student and then asked students to work in pairs to do the same which was followed by whole group sharing of works in paired groups which she expanding using questioning .

She then modeled the use of bridge map for seeing the relationship between different patriots and their respective patriotic deeds.

During Debriefing

Teachers saw that:

  • mayi6The use of the bridge map was instrumental for facilitating collaborative groups learning.
  • Useful as a summarising tool.
  • Was shared that it saves time. It was noted that Atsede were able to use two different maps within short period of time.

Interview with Teacher Gidey revealed that:

  • Their use of the maps engages the students / students take more time during class room teaching and learning.
  • Students are motivated when the work using the maps / they are more interested when using the maps.
  • It is a powerful assessment technique.
  • Students mastery of a lesson is easily seen.

 

  • mayi12School Name : Mayi Ayni Elementary School
  • Directors Name : Amanuel Kidane
  • Deputy Directors Name : Elsa Hadush
  • Directors phone number : 0921989833
  • Deputy directors phone number : 0945492443
  • Total number of teachers : 23 including leadership
  • Trained Teachers : 11
  • ToT Trainer : 1

mayi1Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 

 Posted by at 12:07 pm
Jun 082016
 

teshome11
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia

By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
teshome5At Teshome Elementary School serious attention is given to the transfer of the maps for other teachers who did not previously take the training. Each teacher who had taken Thinking Maps training is assigned with a map which he is expected to transfer for those who were not trained. This is a very thoughtful strategy for transfer to take place for other teachers. We have seen the training manual they prepared.

The Woreda supervisor was present and attended the training and expressed his support and also comments. His comment was “it is key that the Wereda office of noted of and assigned with the role of supporting whole school implementation ofthe Thinking Schools Ethiopia quality education approach including Thinking Maps. It’s awareness and involvement is described crucial.

teshome7Our site visit to Teshome Elementary School in the northern state of Tigrai in Ethiopia began with our meeting with the school director. We explained what the goals of the day, described how the day is going to look like, and asked for the facilitation of room for the professional development at the school, and classroom demonstration lessons.

We discussed the theoretical underpinnings of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) model, TSEs Principles, and the research basis of visual tools in the areas of brain research and cognitive psychology.

Atsede subsequently described the Collegial Coaching model, which was actually used and modeled, and did the demonstration lesson. We then asked for teachers questions, observations, thoughts and comments on the demonstration lesson.

teshome10Atsede modeled the using circle map with a student on peace keeping, administration of justice and offices and institutions meant for it. It needs to be noted that Atsede modeled not only the use of the map for cultivating panoramic / holistic thinking but also used the frame of reference for elaboration of students thinking and cited examples through powerful questioning with the student.

Then she implemented the Think-Pair-Share collaborative learning strategy for facilitating the construction of the map in pairs by students and then whole group sharing which she had the students elaborated, clarify and strengthen through citing evidences and real instances by using powerful questioning.

teshome6At the debriefing we asked for thoughts, observations and questions on the demonstration lesson. Teachers saw that:

  • The use of the maps has enabled students freely express their ideas, generate information, and organize their thinking .
  • Students were seen as effectively functioning collaborative learning groups.
  • They saw that the lesson shared during the briefing session was implemented as planned.

teshome1Students were scheduled to sit for model exams . The director worked on the schedule so that teachers attended to the professional development first. She decided to administer the model exams in the after noon. This is a beautiful leadership from the school.

There is a class / a section they labeled a laboratory section where Thinking Maps are beautiful drawn / painted on a cloth with their names and their specific cognitive processes they represent.

The laboratory class is richly decorated with the different examples of use the Thinking Maps . Needs to be noted that the example of the use of the maps by students and teachers is fluent and accurate. One example is; the use of bridge map for the capital and teshome4small letters of the English alphabet. The goal is teaching hand writing / literacy. You the small letter of the Capital letter A is written (here the small letter is shown in writing) as the small letter of B is … Very curious and encouraging.

School Name : Teshome Elementary School

Name of the Director : Aster G/Eyesus

Directors Phone number : 0914230673

Total # of teachers teaching in the school : 30

Trained Teachers : 15

teshome8ToT Trainers : 1

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

teshome10

 Posted by at 11:43 am
Jun 072016
 

mayhanse1Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

mayhanse6We reached the Mayhanse Elementary School early in the morning since it would otherwise be too hot to carry out the site visit. We secured a class room for the professional development and classrooms of students for conducting the demonstration lessons.

We began the training with community building exercises (leading the group forming a circle showing patterns of bodily movements, hand patterns, creative movements with legs, hand and body). We used the hand symbols of Thinking Maps for hand shown patterns signifying the purpose of the professional development training at the site.

mayhanse8Then we discussed the Principles of the TSE model, research bases of Visual Tools in the areas of neuroscience and cognitive psychology. We then modeled the collegial coaching model: Briefing – Lesson – Debriefing. Atsede did a class room demonstration lesson on a content related to regional organizations and their goals.
She first modeled the use of circle map with a student . And practiced Think—Pair—Share with the students.   Then she subsequently modeled the use of Bridge Map with a student before ALL the children.

Observations at the Site:

  • The students are introduced with Thinking Maps at the school. They know what each thinking map is used for.
  • There has already taken place professional development trainings by the school leaders themselves. There are clear evidences of efforts exerted to bring about whole school implementation of the maps.
  • mayhanse5I was able to hear a lead student introducing Thinking Maps in another class leading students identify each of the maps by calling out loud their names.
  • Beautiful leadership : we were warmly welcomed (made cups of coffee. The coffee was made by a woman who had to come where we are with her cups, other utensils from a place away from the school, bottles of water ). There was a positive leadership with a welcoming spirit. They asked about Robert Seth Price (international trainer at the previous October sessions) and why he was not with us for the site visit.

Contact Address and School Information

  • Directors Name: Mebiratom Mlaw
  • Total number of Teachers: 42 including leadership
  • Trained Teachers : 24
  • ToT Trainers : 1
  • Directors Phone number : 0914155292


mayhanse3Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

mayhanse9

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jun 022016
 

hitsets5
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
We conducted an interview at Hitsets Primary School with the mathematics teacher Zeray Kidane.

hitsets math teacher 2Here were the interview questions and their  responses:

Q: what do you think are the powerful uses of Thinking Maps?
A: we are able to cover portions, the maps help students understand contents easily.

Q: How do you explain what you shared about Thinking Maps uses of supporting students understanding of contents?
A: for example my students were able to use the tree map for classifying triangles into different categories on the basis of their angular measurements.

hitsets math teacher 1Q: What other uses of the maps could you think of?
A:  the maps could be used as energizers . My students enjoy my class. They are always eager to learn mathematics using Thinking Maps.

Q: What do you think are the limitations of using Thinking Maps?

A: one limitation is resources, we don’t have papers and markers and students have not yet cultivated the skills of communication and working before their class mates. Students shy away, are usually less confident and are afraid of working with me before the class and sharing their works for their class mates.

htisets7Q : Why do you think that some teachers do not use the maps as effectively?
A: teachers still really feel that they have not truly taught when they use student centered pedagogies. Their belief only in the teachers centered strategies have not yet changed and this is true of myself too.

Q: What do you think needs to be done for supporting whole school implementation of Thinking Maps?
A: There has to be a leadership support. There has to be genuine conviction on the part of school leaders, there has to be a planned effort for allowing experience sharing to take place and finally follow up is key and needed very much.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.


Tigrai, Ethiopia model school leadership teams.

 Posted by at 2:52 pm
Jun 012016
 

degena4
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia

By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

degena10This blog posting is for both Degena and Adi Abezut Elementary Schools.

At Degena Elementary School we began the site visits with professional development sessions including discussing about the theoretical aspects of the model and its research bases. The professional development sessions are very participant centered with hands on learning. This models the goal of a student centered classroom model.

degena1We then did class room demonstration lessons. Atsede taught a lesson on riparian states about water sharing and distribution among the states via modeling the use of a Circle Map with a student before the class. She later asked to students to Think-Pair-Share information on ideas and thoughts on the topic. Each group shared their works in the class with the whole class of students. We modeled the collegial coaching model with teachers including: Briefing – Lesson – Debriefing, as part of the demonstration lesson.

degena6degena8degena7

adi2
adi5At Adi Abezut Elementary School Atsede did a demonstration lesson on regional organizations where she modeled the use of Thinking Maps with a student. She implemented the Think-Pair-Share pedagogical tool for peer to peer learning to support students independent thinking and collaborative works.

At Adi Abezut Elementary School we began the site visits with professional development sessions including discussing about the theoretical aspects of the model and its research bases. The professional development sessions are very participant centered with hands on learning. This models the goal of a student centered classroom model.

adi7Atsede modeled the collegial coaching model with teachers including: Briefing – Lesson – Debriefing, as part of the demonstration lesson.

Observations during the trainings included it is very important that teachers understand the collegial coaching model so teachers see the need for projecting (understanding processes and procedures to actually be used for experimenting and learning from each other as key component of professional development and improved practice throughout academic years of the collegial coaching model that we model.

adi3Degena Elementary School

Directors Name : Mebiratu Birihane

Deputy Directors Name : Gidey Tsewa

Total number of teachers: 30

Trained Teachers at training in October: 14

 

Adi Abezut Elementary School

Directors Name : Goesh Seyoum

Total number of teachers : 19

Trained teachers at training in October: 16

ToT trainer : 1

 

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 11:59 am
Jun 012016
 

hitsets3
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
hitsets6Hitsets Primary School is about 80 Kms away from Shire and descending into the low lands where temperature reportedly reaches up to 43 degree centigrade [109F]. A hot dry place that is truly tropical low land altitude that is said to be 500 meters from mean sea level). The location is where refugees from Eritrea established settlements . Where they have their village built. Very interesting that the school is further away from this village.

We were warmly received at the school where the school leaders and educators were really hospitable. Cups of coffee (repeatedly), bottle of cold water, soft drinks, refreshments.

hitsets5We began our site visit at Histets Primary School with a consultation with the School Principal Yemane G/Medihin. Since the director was new to the school who did not participate in the previous trainings we explained ALL the preceding phases of trainings conducted (as implementation phases instrumentally translating the whole school transformational approach the model adopts as an approach) and explained that today’s site visit is part of and follows from the preceding phases of trainings.

We began the training with community building exercises. We but changed our strategy of conducting the mini- professional development work. We decided the model the use of ALL eight maps sitting on a desk at the center with ALL the teachers observing, sharing, recording, drawing the maps in collaboration with us.

hitsets1Before our modeling of the use of ALL eight maps with the teachers we quickly reviewed the maps showing hand symbols. We worked with the teachers working on using ALL eight maps calling for their active engagement and done introducing them with the maps. Following this Atsede did a class room demonstration lesson with students whose class room was a TENT. Atsede modeled the use of circle map on a content related to communication media with a student from grade 7. She used Think-Pair-Share and scaffolded it from Teacher-Student, to Student-Student, to all students in pairs followed by whole group sharing of works on circle maps. She had the students reflect upon shared information, thoughts, ideas of students works when presented.

hitsets5The following questions were asked and discussed upon during debriefing. The school director said that his teachers have been using the maps. We were asked a question with regards to students engagement: Students were engaged because the lesson was conducted on Tigrigna, how are we to teach them subjects whose medium of instruction is English? We shared Thinking Maps support generation of information, organization of thought , elaboration of concepts from ones frame of reference , it doesn’t exclude English as a subject. Thinking Maps could still be used for vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and development students writing skills, and grammar.

hitsets4ALL students of the class where we did demonstration lesson know and are aware of, could name, describe the uses of ALL eight maps. The school’s students have been very successfully introduced with ALL eight maps. The school very clearly been organized efforts exerted to transfer ALL eight maps to students.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 12:44 am
May 252016
 

Semema13
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
Semema4Semema Secondary School is a school with 47 teachers, of whom 29 were at the training in October. We began the day with a professional development session in which we discussed the Principles of TSE, research basis of the use of visual tools and research outcomes of whole school implementation of Thinking Maps.

Video clip of Thinking Schools Ethiopia trainers Atsede Tsehayou, Dagim Melese and Robert Seth Price facilitating the Trainer of Trainers (ToT) who are facilitating their whole schools including the school in this posting. The training was in October 2015.

Initially we modeled Collegial Coaching where we did briefing, conducted lessons in classrooms with students, followed by a debriefing with all the Semema10participating teachers. During the briefing we shared our lesson plan, the pedagogical strategies we will be employing during the demonstration lesson, and what we want the teachers to observe. We asked them to record their observations, thoughts and questions. During the demonstration lessons, I used community building exercises with the students, modeled the use of circle map with a student, asked students to work in pairs, gave time for sharing groups works to whole group, used questioning that call for elaboration by students, citing examples by them, and clarifying concepts and consolidated a lesson.

Semema2

The goal of the demonstration lesson was for sharing strategies of Semema12transferring Thinking Maps to students by ALL teachers. Helping teachers see how powerful is working on thinking maps to organize thinking with content as tools for ensuring student engagement in class room learning. In order to show how deep, rich, detailed, panoramic the information, thoughts and ideas of students can be when supported with Thinking Maps. Semema9How effective students and students’ transfer between each other and of information can be.

As we travel towards Humera (a hot- dry location) we have seen that it will be effective if we employ strategies of collaborative learning groups to demonstrate for example that we have natural gifts of thinking in many different ways, active transfer of thinking processes to content learning is key and student cantered pedagogies are needed for improving thinking skills.

Semema1

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 12:15 pm
May 212016
 

wukiro3
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

wukiro1Wukiro Mariya Secondary School in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has 85 teachers, with 34 of them having attended the October training with Thinking Schools Ethiopia. There are two TSE Trainer of Trainers at the school. Mulugeta Nigus is the director and Ashebir Weluthe deputy director.

We started the day with community building exercises which was subsequently followed by the mini- professional development session in which we discussed and reflected on three principles of the TSE model and the research bases of the use of visual tools. We then modeled collegial coaching in which we showed how teachers in same departments learn from one another from practicing the use of the Thinking Maps in real classrooms.

wukiro10
wukiro9We showed our flow map of the lesson I facilitated on evolution in 12th Grade. I began with a community building exercise in the class room (pass, bounce, throw for a friend an imaginary basket ball in the classroom), then modeled the use of circle maps for exploring information, thoughts, ideas on evolution with a student (modeling think-pair-share). Then we had students to work in pairs , and share their works to whole group in which I used questioning that call for students elaboration of information and ideas while surfacing their own frames of references. Four students shared their works almost ALL of them shared high quality information. The students were really moving and great to collaborate with.

wukiro4In the discussion with the directors we emphasize the need carry out transferring the maps to ALL students of the schools. We suggested posting maps on walls of ALL class rooms. Integrating Thinking Maps both in annual plans and daily lesson plans. And exercising collegial coaching in each departments. The debriefing with teachers after demonstration lessons was done in the principals office with the director and deputy directors. Ato Mulugeta Nigus (the schools director) facilitated scheduling for teachers of the day, rooms for professional development and rooms for demonstration lesson in his role of leadership.

wukiro12
Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 11:40 am
May 172016
 

Dahire Hafrash1
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

Dahire Hafrash7Today’s site visit to Dahire Hafrash Secondary School is a drive from Aksum traversing small villages after driving along the sides of mountains and rugged terrain.

Dahire Hafrash is a name of the site where The People’s Liberation Front fighter summoned and conducted meetings during a time period they were seen by the Derg regime as rebels and gorilla fighters. The name initially meant a site for leaders of the oppositions summoned and consulted on major political issues later it was changed to mean a site where not leaders but the people consulted on matters that relate to change of the existing political order.

Dahire Hafrash Secondary School has 26 of whom 15 participated in previous Thinking Schools trainings in Aksum. The school has 2 Trainer of Trainers who’ve received professional development with Thinking Schools in both Wukro and Aksum.

Dahire Hafrash10

We began the professional development with community building exercises with leading the group showing alternately changing hand, body, leg patterns giving turns for participants, counting natural numbers interrupted by the word Thinking Maps said out loud in stead of naming every 5th,10th,15th,20th,25th,… Numbers. We then asked participants to reflectively think about the community building exercises (asked for observations, questions, comments which we reinforced and richly discussed). Then we Dahire Hafrash14discussed about the fundamental principles of the TSE model, brain research bases of visual tools, and research outcomes of the practices of using visual mapping.

Subsequently we modeled a collegial coaching device for conducting class room demonstration of lesson. We shared how colleagues could use the collegial coaching model to learn from one another and ever refine their practices. We discussed about observations skills while demonstration  lessons are conducted. We asked the following reflective questions ;

  1. What do we observe while being exposed to a demo. lesson?
  2. Is there such a demo. Lesson that is without defect or need for refinement?
Atsede and Dagim

Atsede and Dagim

We discussed about the above questions. Then we did a demo lesson with students of grade 9. We modeled the use of circle map to demonstrate holistic panoramic thinking about the concept of environment. We modeled the sequential process of Teacher-Student, Student-Student, whole group working in pairs and then finally whole group shared with some of the maps.

  • A student observed sharing a very rich information about the environment during which we posed several question that call for explanations and discussions of the information he provided.
  • Students shared what they have recorded inside the circle and then explained them when we asked them for further elaboration.

Dahire Hafrash4So the purpose of the demonstration lesson was to model how the transfer of Thinking Maps to students could be effected.

Making Thinking Maps languages a visual alphabet among students, and seeing students demonstrating expert uses of ALL eight maps requires the processes of introducing them, modeling before them expert uses of Thinking Maps, giving them time for processing for effecting understanding.

ethiopia-tigray-visual3Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

Dahire Hafrash2

 

 

 

 Posted by at 10:45 pm
May 162016
 

Inticho3
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

Inticho12This posting is to share our start of the second round of first school site visits. We collaborated with the large staff at a high school named Inticho Secondary School. We were at the school site early in the morning for a meeting with the school leader Ato Dawit T/Medihin. Ato Dawit and a teacher are the school’s Trainer of Trainers.

There are 91 teachers teaching in the high school of whom 38 teachers who had taken part in the Thinking Maps professional development training Atsede Tsehayou, Dagim Melese, and Robert Seth Price facilitated. These trainings included Trainer of Trainers professional development, followed by further trainings that had the Trainer of Trainers leading their schools.

Inticho14

The sequence of activities we did was:

  • Inticho7We did the mini-professional development sessions (discussed fundamental principles of the TSE model, brain research bases of Thinking Maps, research outcomes of the actual use of Thinking Maps and other pedagogical tools and strategies). There were two mini-professional development sessions: one in the morning and a second mini-professional development training for teachers in the afternoon so all teachers could participate.
  • We did classroom demonstration lessons (demo of how Thinking Maps are transferred to students; use of circle map to brainstorm information, and modeling ideas about plants with the teacher and student, then student and student and then whole groups).

Inticho2

Inticho13Teachers in Amharic department of the school for examples have been trying to construct maps of contents in syllabi the different grade levels they teach and discussing about the precision of the use of the maps (see the Interview with Teacher Saba Beyene, a female Amharic teacher).

Atsede did also interview two other teachers of the school. She will be sharing of her interview questions and responses recorded.

Teacher Saba Beyene

Atsede: How did you use Thinking Maps in your subject?

Saba: We often use them in literature. My students use them for narrating a story (they use the Flow Map). We also show them using Double Bubble maps for comparing and contrasting different kinds of writing /literature.

Inticho1I usually use the Bridge Map for vocabulary development. For example opposite words: tall is the opposite of short as fat is the opposite of thin as big is the opposite of small as light is the opposite of dark (translation is mine). And opposite sexes of animals ox is a male cattle as cow is its female counter part as …. (translation is mine).

Teacher Saba also asked me a question about the correct use of brace map to which I replied: brace maps is meant for seeing whole-parts relationship of physical objects that is how it is different from tree maps which is used with the categorization abstract concepts.

Teacher Saba is working on writing a book that essentially uses Thinking Maps for illustration of decoding the patterns of thoughts in the linear text structures the constitute the notes under different categories of contents.

Inticho4During our conversations with Teacher Saba (an Amharic teacher at the school), we were informed that the teachers at the school purposefully chose a class ( a laboratory class ) where all of the teachers implement Thinking Maps working with the students. Teacher Saba mentioned that the students were introduced with Thinking Maps and were supported by their teachers in their exercises of the use of the maps with contents . It is remembered that teacher Saba is preparing a book where Thinking Maps are used essentially to decode the thought processes embedded in the linear texts making up content knowledge of the chapters a syllabi incorporates.

Thinking Schools EthiopiaInticho8 – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools

Inticho9Inticho6

 Posted by at 3:47 pm
Apr 182016
 

whole-classThinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
school
We asked for what the school name Goha, and we were informed that Goha means illumination from rising sun. Goha-Got is isolated and remotely located primary school. Walking from the school to Adigrat (one of the towns of the Tigray region like Wukro, Aksum , Shire) takes 3-4 hours. It is extremely important again to note that one of the intelligent girls of the primary school who is representing the school for questions and answers competition in the Wereda had to walk to Adigirat to take part in the competition (this girl was the same girl who was very active in Atsedes demonstration lesson on a topic which is a reading comprehension in Tigrigna language education.

outside-students2

It is important to consider it is very difficult to have regular site visits done to Goha-Got Elementary School owing to the fact that the school is very isolated and remote. We drove ascending a giant mountain road twisting here and there on a pavement that is being strengthened by road construction workers. The journey up the mountain side was frightening and risky. Atsede noted about how frightening it was to ascend the twisting roads with a very high detour and the descending it on the other side of the giant mountain we traversed. Finally we reached the school after inquiring about it’s location multiple times.

We met the director and shared what we were there for and how the site visit is going to look like. We learned that there are a total of 20 teachers at the school and 9 teachers who were trained by the three of us (Atsede, Dagim and Robert) in Wukro. There is one ToT trainer from the school.

classroom-demo

As usual we did a mini-professional development training in which we discussed The Fundamental Principles of the Thinking Schools Model and Research Basis of the Use of Visual Tools. Atsede then shared how she is going to do a demonstration lesson with 7th graders on a passage about the lives of neighbors who earn the same level of income but different life style with implications for the relative failure and success in terms of leading a happy life. The goal of the lesson being planning our lives, using resources wisely, saving.

teacherstudentclass

students3Atsede also shared what she wants the teachers to observe (student’s engagement,
student’s writing of their own thoughts, examples, explanations), students collaborative work, and strategy of transferring Thinking Maps to all students through her modeling with students. She also shared that if the teachers have questions they need to write them in their notepads during the lesson and raise them during debriefing discussions after the lesson.

exercisebookShe followed the same pattern while doing the demonstration lesson (community building, modeling use of a Circle Map (brainstorming) with a student, having students work in pairs, then small groups and share later with the whole class where information was enriched, ideas were consolidated, concepts were further clarified.

She then modeled the use of Double Bubble map (compare and contrast). She used it with students and gave students a home work to complete the Bubble Maps between characters in the passage. Atsede then introduced all eight Thinking Maps for the students while teachers observing in the classroom. During the debriefing session teachers reported how supportive using Thinking Maps are.

students4

Key Reflections and what we learned at Goha-Got which we will put to use for further refining the quality of upcoming site visits.

  • It is very important that teachers understand how Thinking Maps support students thinking with content (what are teachers in the demonstration class for?), what are they looking for in the demonstration class?). Teachers would have, in most cases, been seen sitting on desks of the demonstration lesson classes, but are now learning how to walk around and help students construct the maps (change from teacher centered to student centered as directed by the Ministry of Education for quality education). We asked the teachers to walk around in the class to see what students have written, how rich are ideas generated, thoughts organized.
  • How can we help teachers understand that students must practice regularly to clearly see what we say about the changes / results the use of Thinking Maps help bring about.

There seems to be lethargy in terms seeing and valuing how processes are as much important as the outcomes we desire to materialize. And we believe this is the same everywhere.outside-students

Other notes :

  • There was a Woreda supervisor at the school who took part in the training.
  • Students were evaluating their teachers when we arrived at the school. Students evaluation of their teachers makes up 15% of the overall teachers evaluation.
  • We we returned back to Adigirat we drove along a different path which was on a plain surface, less risky and frightening.
  • We were presented with some cabbages from the school garden as they were appreciative of our being there at the school for collaboration with the professional development.

12833197_1032400123500757_593136933_n

 

 Posted by at 11:31 pm
Mar 142016
 
Samire elementary 12 - 1

Samire elementary 12 - 1

Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
Samire elementary 20 - 1

The site visit today was paid to Samire and Getet Elementary Schools. Both of these elementary schools are located farther away from the secondary school we visited yesterday. These schools are remote and isolated. And the message here is that frequent follow up of these schools is very difficult given their location away from Mekele and the nature of the road that leads to them.

Samire elementary 19 - 1

There are 31 teachers teaching in Samire elementary school of whom 12 took the two days Samire elementary 9 - 1training on thinking maps in Wukiro last October. There is 1 ToT trainer who is at the same time the schools director whose name is Yisak. Robert easily remembers Yisak who was very active leading community building exercises in Wukiro. [Robert – ‘Yisak was very active with his team as a ToT and equally at ease working with the whole group of 400 teachers in the training. He is an example of the talent amongst the ToT’s that can become the leaders of expanding to schools throughout the region, and country.’]. His school is one of the leading schools in terms of implementing Thinking Maps and actually using Thinking Maps.

Samire elementary 13 - 1

The other school was Getet Primary School. Getet Primary School had its director took part in the two day thinking maps training in Wukiro. But later was transferred to a different school. Currently there is an acting director. Her name is Etsayi. There are 38 teachers in the school of whom 13 were trained in Wukiro.


Samire elementary 2 - 1Samire elementary 7 - 1Samire elementary 8 - 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Samire school Atsede did:

  • Samire elementary 10 - 1community building;
  • modeled the use of Circle Maps with a content being environmental problems;
  • modeled the use of Multi-Flow map to examine cause – effect relationships of the environmental problems;
  • Students were asked intermittently to work in pairs and groups on both Circle Map and Multi-Flow maps and share their works to whole group in which information was enriched;
  • concepts were clarified, thoughts were supported with citations of examples;
  • Then students were given homework.

Samire elementary 4 - 1 Samire elementary 5 - 1
Samire elementary 16 - 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We began the training with a mini professional development as usual in which reviewed the thinking schools model and discussed the research basis of use of visual tools, followed by the collegial coaching model to do the demonstration lessons. During the Debriefing session teachers reported that they have seen how they could actually use the maps with content in their class rooms.

getet elementary 5 - 1

getet elementary 4 - 1At Getet site, Atsede modeled the use of bridge map for seeing analogical relationships of different lines in geometry. The lesson is about a circle and its dimensions (chord, diameter, tangent, radius). The model of Bridge Maps Atsede used with a student is such that a chord is drawn on the upper side of the bridge and its name and definition put in the lower side, as diameter is pictorially represented with its definition in the lower side as radius above and its definition below (see photo of this analogy).

She modeled the use of Double Bubble Maps to compare and contrast a chord and a diameter which the students were later asked to work on their own in pairs and groups. Final students were given chances to present their works before the class. Information and concepts were consolidated.

getet elementary 7 - 1getet elementary 9 - 1getet elementary 11 - 1

 

 

 

 

 

Ataede then introduced each of the eight thinking maps to all students in both cases modeling for the teachers how they could introduce the maps for their students .

getet elementary 2 - 1

  • One important note is that trained teachers at Samire Elementary School have transferred their trainings or Thinking Maps to other teachers and have prepared handouts of Thinking Maps which they have shown.
  • The school director of Getet primary school was assigned to other school he was one of the ToT trainers. We would like to emphasis the fact that the remoteness and isolated locations of the school coupled with road quality may hamper frequent follow up and support for the schools.

getet elementary 13 - 1

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

getet elementary 1 - 1

 Posted by at 1:57 pm
Jul 082014
 

posted by Robert Price
click on responses above to leave a comment 

‘UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) has written this Letter of Support to Thinking Schools Ethiopia – part of Eminence Social Entrepreneurs, a local non-governmental organisation for the work it is doing to promote the concept and practice of Thinking Schools Ethiopia.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia aims to promote modern teaching and learning methods in Ethiopian schools through the Thinking Maps Methodology and Whole School System. IICBA, as an Institute engaged in the  promotion of modern pedagogy and support to teacher education institutions in Africa has been participating  in  the  workshops that were organised  to familiarise school teachers in Addis Ababa with the methodology and confirms that the new approach to teaching and learning be very beneficial to students in Ethiopian schools.

As part of Eminence’s commitment to “rejuvenating and transforming the delivery of services in Ethiopia”, llCBA  believes that the Thinking Schools Ethiopia exercise will introduce a new dimension in the way teachers think about teaching and students about learning.’

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Addis Ababa

“I would like to see this continue in some form…this was a complete success…to have on an ongoing basis…for public school teachers…that would assist the whole education system in the country because this was a workshop about changing minds…acquiring a new set of beliefs about what education is all about…”

Video interview with Dr. Awol Endris, Program Director at UNESCO – International  Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, after participating in full five day Thinking Schools Ethiopia training in Addis Ababa.

www.unesco-iicba.org
UNESCO Letter of Support for Thinking Schools Ethiopia (PDF)

 Posted by at 5:58 pm
Mar 022012
 

2 March 2012
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Dr. David Hyerle, Thinking Maps® developer, Thinking Schools International co-director and Thinking Foundation founder, will be visiting Thinking Schools Ethiopia (Eminence Social Entrepreneurs) next week on March 3-8, 2012. During this visit, he will meet and discuss the Thinking Schools Ethiopia project and Thinking Maps with select government officials and partners from the government and private sectors. This includes experts and leaders from Addis Ababa Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, NGOs and major Ethiopian universities. Dr. Hyerle will be visiting government schools in Addis Ababa and doing public presentations in addition to the above meetings. He will be arriving from South Africa where he participated in last weeks Thinking Schools South Africa conference. For additional information on Dr. Hyerle’s visit, please contact Bereket Aweke, Thinking Schools Ethiopia coordinator (select contacts in the menu).

David Hyerle, EdD, is an author, researcher, seminar leader, and keynote speaker focused on integrating content learning, thinking process instruction, and collaborative leadership across whole schools. He is founding director of the Thinking Foundation www.thinkingfoundation.org, a nonprofit organization supporting research in cognitive and critical thinking development for the purpose of creating thinking schools nationally and internationally.

Download the complete article as a PDF file.

The creation of his Thinking Maps® model emerged from his experiences as a middle school teacher in inner city Oakland, California, USA. His development of Thinking Maps® was also informed by his work with the Bay Area Writing Project and the Cognitive Coaching model.

Among his numerous professional books and articles based on visual tools research, David wrote the foundational training materials for Thinking Maps and guided the professional development process with Thinking Maps, Inc. The Thinking Maps model is used across the United States and the United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand, Ethiopia, South Africa and many other countries. David co-wrote the training guide Thinking Maps: A Language for Leadership and edited Student Successes With Thinking Maps, a professional book presenting background research and documenting the professional development outcomes from the implementation of Thinking Maps.
Video above to the right is a short trailer from upcoming documentary  Minds of Mississippi – an extraordinary story about students and a whole school district on thinking…

David is co-director with Richard Cummins of Thinking Schools International that currently has projects in United Kingdom (over 400 schools), Norway, South Africa, Malaysia, Ethiopia and other countries. www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com.

David earned a doctorate and bachelor’s at the University of California–Berkeley and has served as a visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Education.

In the video below David Hyerle interviews a Special Needs student on her use of Thinking Maps and writing about Dr. Martin Luther King.
See the complete case study on Learning Prep.

Dr. David Hyerle interviews high school students in the United Kingdom on use of Thinking Maps.

Thinking Maps® in Kawasaki City, Japan.

Thinking Maps in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

 

 Posted by at 4:47 pm
Feb 272012
 

27 February 2012
post by Robert Price



Collaborative Networking

between us in pairs, groups, schools, and global networks
Collaborative Networking is one of Thinking Schools Ethiopia’s Six Starting Points of Thinking which includes reflective questioning; thinking skills; visual mapping; collaborative networking; developing dispositions; and structuring environment. This blog posting will explore Collaborative Networking.

The techniques for cooperative learning are many and there are many models for establishing collaborative groups, classrooms and schools. The research on cooperative learning in school and the need for high quality collaborative groups in the work place connect to the recent evolution of social networking through new technologies as learners engage other learners around the globe. Collaborative Networking (i.e. collaborative learning at all levels) can greatly change the success of students, educators and the community as thinkers and learners. It is sustainable and a low cost high impact methodology – a transformative design. Like all implementations aiming for sustainable success: whole school implementation with a goal of mastery is important if not vital.  In this post we’ll briefly look at collaborative networking from within the classroom to whole school to global including:

  • Collaborative Learning – Students
  • Collegial Coaching – Teachers and School Leaders
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Collaborative Learning between Schools Regionally and with Country
  • Collaborative Learning between Schools Globally
  • Methods
  • Tools

Collaborative Learning – Students
Peer to Peer sharing and learning
Collaborative learning is an environment  in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together. People engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another’s resources and skills:

  • asking one another for information,
  • evaluating one another’s ideas,
  • monitoring one another’s work,
  • learning from each other’s prior knowledge – schema,
  • etc.

Collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge can be created within a population where members actively interact by sharing experiences. Several examples of many that are very effective include Think-Pair-Share; Three-Step Interview and Learning Teams (one page outline – pdf file). Visual Mapping and Reflective Questioning are very effective elements to use within cooperative learning.

An example excerpted from a chapter on the Thinking Schools Ethiopia project in an upcoming book on Thinking from Corwin Press models the potential of collaborative learning on a global level:

  • A vivid example of the potential this had for our collaborative effort occurred during my fifth visit to Ethiopia when students at Children’s Home Academy were using a laptop in their garden to Skype with a school in North Carolina, USA. The students in Ethiopia were in the student’s garden – one of five at the Children’s Home Academy that provides food for the student lunches. The North Carolina students were tethered to the classroom computer talking about a garden they were envisioning. It was apparent that the food movement in the USA has much to share with and also learn from locations in parts of the world that actually need to have school gardens.

Collaborative learning methodologies can support the development of increasingly complex types of thinking. Benjamin Bloom developed a hierarchy of six types of thinking which become increasingly complex and demanding. Though the “levels” have increasing complexity, at any age level or at any time within a classroom context a teacher or student may move between different levels. There is no linear sequence required for use of this taxonomy. The six levels (as revised by Andersen)

  • creating
  • evaluating
  • analyzing
  • applying
  • understanding
  • remembering

Collegial Coaching – Teachers and School Leaders
Pedagogy

Collegial Coaching is a model that improves teaching — especially performance (i.e. pedagogy) — by observing, learning, and coaching each other within our learning community. Successful Collegial Coaching includes:

  • openness to observe and learn as professional colleagues;
  • creating systems of observation and learning;
  • using techniques that provide a means to learn from each other regularly.

Collegial Coaching includes regular collaborative coaching, discussion groups, and practicing collaboratively in real classroom environments.

Observation techniques should be clear with goals and techniques to support our collaborative learning. We use techniques based on research to fully develop our abilities as focused observers. An example might be deciding on a specific focus to observe for (e.g. a specific student behavior) then while observing writing and sketching observations + questions. We all bring skills to learn from — new and veteran teachers. By honoring, and pooling our varied and collective talents, the goal of providing the best possible learning environment(s) for students reaches new heights. The Instructional Coaching model initially includes coaching support from outside sources, but ultimately our greatest resources are peer to peer within our teaching and learning community.

An example of one Collegial Coaching Model usually in small groups (3-4 best) where the educators regularly observe each other. The model includes:

  • The Briefing – The participants initially meet to provide an overview of the lesson and determine the observation focus. It is best to select a facilitator for these sessions. The briefing format includes:
  • The Lesson – The lesson will provide an opportunity to observe strategies and techniques that interest all the participants. The lesson format includes:
  • The Debriefing – The teachers will meet immediately after the lesson to share observations. It should involve all participants including the teacher leading the lesson.

Professional Learning Communities
Within Schools—Between Schools
A professional learning community (PLC) is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field. It is often used in schools as a way to organize teachers into working groups.

Collaborative Learning between Schools
Locally, Regionally, Country, Globally
The methods used by students and educators in a classroom, within a school and local area can be expanded further – including within a region, country and globally. There are many technology tools to support such expanded collaborations – especially when the collaborative learning methodologies are solidly grounded and implemented initially on a local level.

Methods
While ALL six starting points of thinking are relevant and integrative with Collaborative Networking Visual Tools, Reflective Questioning, Structuring Environment are very instrumental in building success. Additionally, Community Building Exercises can be a very effective method of building understanding and respect of the collaborating people.

 

 Posted by at 7:51 pm
Feb 242012
 

23 February 2012
Visual Mapping
post by Robert Price

Visual Mapping – Visual Tools…

Visual Mapping is one of Thinking Schools Ethiopia’s Six Starting Points of Thinking which includes reflective questioning; thinking skills; visual mapping; collaborative networking; developing dispositions; and structuring environment. This blog posting will explore Visual Mapping. Schools that participate with Growing Thinking Schools professional development training can participate in sessions on Visual Mapping and Thinking Maps® as part of their whole school transformative design. Read more on Thinking Schools Ethiopia and Thinking Schools Trainings on this website.

Visual mapping transforms the way we SEE thinking — SEEING the patterns of our thinking and with other people’s thinking. They are a tool to organize our thinking supporting deeper thinking and understanding. Visual mapping improves comprehension, writing and presentations. Think of how a road map is used: to ‘map’ out a journey and understand where a place is in context to other locations. Visual mapping for organizing and seeing thinking provides a ‘road map’ for the mind. Thinking Schools Ethiopia uses Thinking Maps® in trainings – eight maps representing eight different ways the brain cognitively thinks and understands things.

An excerpt from the book Visual Tools for Transforming Information Into Knowledge by David Hyerle (2011, Second Edition, Corwin Press) will provide an introduction with visual tools. Thinking Schools Ethiopia is in the process of translating the highly respected book into Amharic courtesy of the author and publisher. The excerpt Summary Definition of Visual Tools from the book follows below:

“Visual tools are nonlinguistic symbol systems used by learners, teachers, and leaders for graphically linking mental and emotional associations to create and communicate rich patterns of thinking. These visual-spatial-verbal displays of understanding support all learners in transforming static information into active knowledge, thus offering a complementary representational system to more traditional literacies grounded in speaking, writing, and numerating. These linear and/or nonlinear visual forms are also metacognitive tools for self-assessment in each content area and for interdisciplinary learning that may unite linguistic, numerical, and scientific languages together on the same page. There are three basic categories of visual tools, each with specific purposes and visual configurations:

  • brainstorming webs for fostering creativity and open mindedness;
  • graphic organizers for fostering analytical content and process specific learning;
  • conceptual mapping for fostering cognitive development and critical thinking

Watch the video below on Thinking Maps and brain research with Pat Wolf known for her work with the translation of brain research to classroom practice.

A fourth category is a unique synthesis language of visual tools that has been used extensively across schools called Thinking Maps® (Hyerle, 1996; Hyerle & Yeager, 2008). This common visual language of visual tools integrates the creative dynamism of webs, the analytical structures of content-specific learning, and the continuous cognitive development and reflections fostered through conceptual mapping. Over time, new visual languages may develop that integrate different visual tools and thus enabling a greater range of thinking, communication, and reflection. Visual tools are used for personal, collaborative, and social communication, negotiation of meaning, and networking of ideas. These graphics are constructed by individual or collaborative learners across media networks and mediums such as paper, white boards, and computer screens. Because of the visual accessibility and natural processes of “drawing out” ideas, many of these graphics are used from early childhood through adulthood, and across every dimension of learning, teaching, assessing, and leadership processes. Visual tools are also used across cultures and languages and may become keys to new levels of more democratic participation and communication in human systems. Across traditional cultures and new “virtual” cultures, visual languages ultimately may be used for uniting diverse and distant learning communities as people in schools, communities, and businesses and in different countries seek to understand each other through seeing each others’ thinking and perceptions through multiple frames of reference.”

Thinking Schools Ethiopia professional development training starts with the initial two day Growing Thinking Schools training. During this workshop leadership teams develop their ‘journey’ with a visual flow map of the steps they will have the staff train and master. While each school might have different starting points, visual mapping is often an excellent entry point for developing the whole school with Thinking Schools Ethiopia. Visual Mapping is one of the six starting points of thinking that the staff may decide to learn, use and master.

More on Visual Mapping:
Research: Thinking Foundation: www.thinkingfoundation.org
Thinking Maps®: www.thinkingmaps.com
Thinking Schools International: www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com
Mindmapping:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map
Concept Mapping:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_mapping

See the 14 February blog posting for information on David Hyerle – international expert on Visual Mapping and the creator of Thinking Maps who will be in Addis Ababa from the 4th-8th March. Contact Bereket Aweke for more details.

Thank you Geoffrey Suddreth, General Manager of Thinking Maps®, Inc. and David Hyerle, creator of Thinking Maps® and founder of Thinking Foundation for providing use of Thinking Maps® with professional development for school leaders, NGO leaders and educators in Ethiopia.

Video below is a collection of still images of Thinking Maps® by children and educators in Addis Ababa and Hossana Ethiopia



 Posted by at 3:38 am
Feb 142012
 

By:Edda Zekarias (Communications Officer at Eminence)

MEMO

Dr. David Hyerle will be visiting Eminence (Thinking Schools Ethiopia) on March 3-8, 2012. During this visit, he will meet and discuss with select government officials and partners both from the government and private sector.

Brief Intro

David Hyerle, EdD, is an author, researcher, seminar leader, and keynote speaker focused on integrating content learning, thinking process instruction, and collaborative leadership across whole schools. He is founding director of the Thinking Foundation www.thinkingfoundation.org, a nonprofit organization supporting research in cognitive and critical thinking development for the purpose of creating thinking schools nationally and internationally.


Growing Thinking Schools from the Inside Out 

The creation of his Thinking Maps model emerged from his experiences as a middle school teacher in inner city Oakland, California, USA. His development of Thinking Maps was also informed by his work with the Bay Area Writing Project and the Cognitive Coaching model.

Among his numerous professional books and articles based on visual tools research, David wrote the foundational training materials for Thinking Maps and guided the professional development process with Thinking Maps, Inc. The Thinking Maps model is used across the United States and the United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand, Ethiopia, South Africa and many other countries. David co-wrote the training guide Thinking Maps: A Language for Leadership and edited Student Successes With Thinking Maps, a professional book presenting background research and documenting the professional development outcomes from the implementation of Thinking Maps.

David is co-director with Richard Cummins of Thinking Schools International that currently has projects in United Kingdom (over 400 schools), Norway, South Africa, Malaysia, Ethiopia and other countries. www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com.

David earned a doctorate and bachelor’s at the University of California–Berkeley and has served as a visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Education.


Visual Tools 

Current Books by David Hyerle:
Visual Tools for Transforming Information Into Knowledge
Corwin Press, Second Edition, © 2009, 192 pages
By David Hyerle
Prologue by Arthur L. Costa
Foreword by Robert J. Marzano


Student Successes With Thinking Maps®
School-Based Research, Results, and Models for Achievement Using Visual Tools
Corwin Press, Second Edition, © 2011, 248 pages
By David Hyerle and Larry Alper
Foreword by Patricia Wolfe

Developing Connected Leadership
Solution Tree Press
By David Hyerle, Larry Alper, Kim Williams
read more about the book 

 


The Process of Developing Cognition

 Posted by at 2:59 pm
Feb 132012
 

This is the first of several upcoming postings that will provide an overview of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia process – beginning with the initial Growing Thinking Schools two day workshops. The upcoming blogs will look into each of the Six Starting Points of Thinking (visual mapping, reflective questions, environmental structure, collaborative networking, thinking skills and dispositions) as well as assessment and IT integration. Each of the six starting points of thinking will be highlighted separately and how they are a transformative design collectively in upcoming blogs. Any reflections and/or questions are appreciated in the ‘responses’ section.

The initial two day Growing Thinking Schools sessions is for school leadership teams about to embark on whole school transformative design change using Thinking Schools Ethiopia thinking methodologies. The leadership team is comprised of the principal and other key faculty and staff who are school leaders in teams of 4-6 people per school. It is not about one size fits all. It is taking 21st century thinking methodologies that we know work (research as learned through practice) and then the school leadership team determining where their school (and school community) is currently, and how best to vision, create, achieve and sustain their goals. Mastery and sustainability are key visions of Thinking Schools Ethiopia. The initial two day Growing Thinking Schools sessions include learning and using Thinking Schools Ethiopia’s six starting points of learning to:
—learn (and reflect) about ourselves
—learn (and reflect) about our schools (and/or NGO organizations) as a collaborative team
—learn together as teams building a collaborative network between different schools and people
—learn thinking methodologies in a participatory centered (mirroring student centered) manner
—learn collaboratively within our leadership team AND between other school’s leadership teams
—develop understanding, thinking out ideas, learning each other’s perspectives (frame of reference), and developing an initial Growing Thinking Schools plan with visual tools…
—create a plan that includes mastery for the leadership team, the teachers, the school support staff, the students, and the greater community.

Click on the images above to see the full photos and/or visual mapping.
The images are left to right:

  • building community;
  • visual mapping with Working Field Guide;
  • Growing Thinking Schools training;
  • visual overview of Growing Thinking Schools implementation in Ethiopia 

The Thinking Schools Ethiopia – a collaborator with the Thinking Schools International network – six starting points of thinking methodologies  include:

1. Reflective Questioning high quality questioning and listening skills
2. Thinking Skills explicit use of cognitive processes
3. Visual Mapping the use of visual tools to map out ideas
4. Collaborative Networking between us in pairs, groups, schools, and global networks that includes collaborative learning; collegial coaching; regional and global collaborationsExamples include collaborative learning, collegial coaching, professional learning communities, parent involvement.
5. Developing Dispositions characteristics, dispositions, and habits of mind are engaged
6. Structuring Environment considering how the physical space is organize and resources used

 

Each of the six starting points of thinking will be highlighted separately and how they are a transformative design collectively in upcoming blogs.

The video clip below shares participants reflections
from a recent Growing Thinking Schools Ethiopia training.

 Posted by at 3:11 am
Feb 092012
 

posted by Robert Price & Bereket Aweke
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Thinking Schools Ethiopia is part of the Thinking Schools International network that includes thinking schools in the United Kingdom (over 400 schools), South Africa, Norway, Northern Ireland, Malaysia and other countries. It is a vision to share bidirectionally, innovations and ideas between and among all schools in a collaborative manner to benefit students worldwide. This begins with respecting that innovation and ideas originate globally, then using 21st century methods (of thinking) to collaborate. The Thinking Schools Ethiopia project really began to take form when we started using Skype to communicate. This provided a tool for sharing ideas via text, voice and in view.

A vivid example of the potential this had for our collaborative effort occurred during my fifth visit to Ethiopia when students at a K-8 school in Ethiopia were using a laptop in their garden to skype with a school in North Carolina, USA. The students in Ethiopia were in the student’s garden – one of five at the Children’s Home Academy that provides food for the student lunches. The North Carolina students were tethered to the classroom computer talking about a garden they were envisioning. It was apparent that the food movement in the USA has much to share with and also learn from locations in parts of the world that actually need to have school gardens.

While the Thinking Schools approach is a systems approach that focuses on sustainability, funding for Ethiopia, a country with one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world (212 out of 228 countries) and currently the eighth highest population growth rate in the world, can dampen the potential. We believe there are some excellent mechanisms that can be implemented to provide support for innovation at a low per school cost and develop sustainability from within. Preparing a highly skilled team of master facilitators within Ethiopia along with a body of action research from Ethiopian educators should support the potential into a realization.

The recent memo of understanding (MoU) between Thinking Schools Ethiopia (part of Eminence Social Entrepreneurs – an Ethiopian founded and owned organization in Addis Ababa) provides a starting point of bidirectional change – an idea and ideal of global collaboration. And further supported with UNESCO’s recognition of Thinking Schools Ethiopia being a model of ‘modern pedagogy’.

Ethiopia has been an independent nation since ancient times, and is one of the oldest countries in the world. The workshops to date with over 2000 Ethiopian educators have provided a context, and a foundation to the potential. Most importantly the potential of the children – a generation of thinkers to come…

The video clip below shares a Thinking Schools Ethiopia demonstration lesson facilitated by Robert Price. During the use of collaborative learning,  visual mapping (Thinking Maps), reflective questions and structuring environment, the students discussed deforestation and other current events. Like the garden example above, the students’ hands-on personal experiences genuinely lend a collaborative potential of sharing ideas and innovations in a bidirectional manner…

 Posted by at 5:51 pm