Dr. David Hyerle – Thinking Maps Developer Visiting Thinking Schools Ethiopia in Addis Ababa 3-8 March 2012

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.


Collaborative Networking
Collaboration between & with Students, Educators, Leaders

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

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.

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.


Visual Mapping for Organizing, Understanding and Sharing Our Thinking

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

Thinking Schools Ethiopia Acquires Government Backing

posted by Bereket Aweke
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

After a series of deliberations between Eminence delegates and government representatives, Thinking Schools Ethiopia/Eminence Social Entrepreneurs has acquired the full support it requires from the latter. This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Addis Ababa City Administration Education Bureau and Eminence Social Entrepreneurs, plc www.eminence-se.com on December 23, 2011. This agreement recognizes the pilot project that will begin in schools within Addis Ababa soon. In addition the bureau will provide necessary support documentation, deploy experts and also coordinate processes that enable partners to work together. Thinking Schools Ethiopia will initially launch the pilot project in Addis Ababa targeting both public and private schools, with the intention of reaching to the various regions of Ethiopia. This agreement comes as a much awaited confirmation by the Thinking Schools team both in Ethiopia and Thinking Schools International.

Eminence Staff Meets Thinking Schools Ethiopia

posted by Bereket Aweke
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As part of in-house action plan and information dissemination practice, the Thinking Schools International trainer Robert Price delivered training to Eminence staff in late October 2011. The training introduced the staff to basic ideals and components of the thinking Schools approach; in particular Thinking Maps. This was done to enhance staff planning and creative thinking to handle office projects, as can be gathered from the title of the training ‘Thinking Maps as a Tool for Project Development’. At the same time, this engagement enabled the staff to practice first hand with some of the components of the approach that can be broadly applicable beyond the scholastic setting. The staff greatly appreciated the training session which they said was useful and easily implementable not just in the work place, but also for personal development.

Growing Thinking Schools Training Photos

posted by Robert Price
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Photos from the 28-29 October 2011 a Growing Thinking Schools workshop was facilitated by Robert Price and Bereket Aweke. Participants included nine experts from the Addis Ababa Bureau of Education who were attending as a follow-up to their recent presentation on Thinking Schools Ethiopia.
click on a photo for a larger size image 

Presentation for Government Education Experts

posted by Bereket Aweke

The Addis Ababa Bureau of Education Director Dilamo Otore Ferenje whom I met previously with Robert Price requested a presentation of the Thinking Schools approach for experts from the Bureau of Education. The presentation was held on the morning of Wednesday, September 7th 2011 at Eminence Social Entrepreneurs. A panel discussion was held in one of the conference rooms in the Eminence Social Entrepreneurs PLC offices, in the 8th floor of the Dire Dawa Building on Wollo Sefer, Addis Ababa.

The objective of the panel discussion was to introduce the approach of “Thinking Schools Ethiopia” to solve the quality issues of the Ethiopian educational system.

“Thinking Schools Ethiopia” is run by Eminence Social Entrepreneurs PLC in collaboration with “Thinking Schools International”.  In Ethiopia the “Thinking Schools Ethiopia” pilot project commenced in 2009. For more information on the program please visit the “Thinking Schools Ethiopia” website: www.thinkingschoolsethiopia.com and Thinking Schools International website:  www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com

Presentation PDF
Presentation PowerPoint