Nov 052012
 

“This training is a pilot project (August 2012 training with AAEB expert team), next we’ll go to schools (December 2012). We will train teachers and principals. Gradually the program will be at a national level. Let alone your job or other businesses, it helps even in our day to day life [Thinking Schools approach and methods]…”
Dilamo Otore Ferenje – Head of Addis Ababa Education Bureau (AAEB)

The video clip is from the recent Thinking Schools Ethiopia training for the Addis Ababa Education Bureau Expert team (300+ schools). They will be part of the facilitation team with implementing the Thinking Schools Ethiopia approach across the Addis Ababa Education Bureau school system. Initially there will be 60 schools from the 10 subcities of Addis beginning with the December training. The 60 schools training will start with leadership teams from each of the participating schools followed by ongoing whole school training at each of the 60 schools.

“An education with a great wide base that may be taken as a good practice that can be scaled up in any places…”
Addis Ababa Education Bureau expert

“The training is very good because it goes with the context of our country which has large class sizes…”
Addis Ababa Education Bureau expert

“Thinking School training’s methodology is related with the teaching and learning process… which helps students to understand things easily…”
Fesehaye Nigusie – Addis Ababa Education Bureau expert

“I have gained knowledge that students are not only receivers but they can also be active and reflectors… what I am most amazed at is on how to make complicated things easy for students simply…”
Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Eminence Social Entrepreneurs  

“Growing Thinking Schools is concerned in transforming schools from traditional methodology to a methodology which involves the thinking process…”
Atsede Tsehayou – Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Eminence Social Entrepreneurs  

“We are being trained on methods to let the students exploit their potentials”
Dade Girma – Addis Ababa Education Bureau expert

 

 Posted by at 8:07 pm
Sep 252012
 

Addis Ababa Education Bureau expert Sheferaw Teklegiorgis shares his reflections on the five day Thinking Schools training held recently in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

“The training was so exceptional…

Training is a means to do something… so it can be scaled up…

This implementation needs great commitment… the Minister of Education as already taken steps… the student grouping one to five (already in place) is the best way to coin this Thinking Schools approach… we have an opportunity…

The teachers are the main actors of implementation…”
Sheferaw Tgiorsis
Addis Ababa Education Bureau Expert

More reflections and video clips from the most recent training will be posted in upcoming Thinking Schools Ethiopia blogs.

 Posted by at 10:24 am
Sep 162012
 

The Addis Ababa Education Bureau (300+ government schools in Addis) Expert Team recently completed five days of training facilitated by Robert Price (Thinking Schools International Global Trainer) and Atsede Tsehayou (Thinking Schools Ethiopia Coordinator). The five day training included:

  • Growing Thinking Schools 2 day training;
  • Growing Thinking Schools – introduction to Facilitators Training for Growing Thinking Schools;
  • Introduction to Thinking Maps® training;
  • Visioning for implementation of Growing Thinking Schools with Addis Ababa Education Bureau: initially with sixty schools, then the whole school system.

In addition to the Experts, the Head of Addis Ababa Education Bureau Ato Dilamo Otore Ferenje shared his vision on the importance of Thinking Schools Ethiopia during the sessions.

Other participating guests included Kebour Ghenna, Executive Director of Initiative Africa; David Makonnen, International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia; Ermias Eshetu, Marketing Director Zemen Bank and others.

All guides are translated to Amharic for the Addis Ababa Education Bureau collaboration with Thinking Schools Ethiopia. The entire session was video taped as a model for use as training tapes for participants to continue their professional development. The next sessions, for the first sixty schools, will be video taped in both English and Amharic.

Growing Thinking Schools Guide – Amharic Edition 

Photographs from the training with Addis Ababa Education Bureau Experts
Click on the right and left arrows next to the photos to see more (100+ photos)

AAEB-TSE-aug2012experts-training

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 Posted by at 7:11 pm
Aug 162012
 

Growing Thinking Schools Ethiopia is training and an accompanying guidebook, much like a travel guide and/or website that you have closely looked through before visiting a new place, with information about different pathways for investigating a new concept.  Growing Thinking Schools training and guidebook is only used with support of a certified Thinking Schools International trainer who will guide you and your colleagues through a process of:

  • envisioning what a “Thinking School” might look like in your culture and environment;
  • considering the different possible approaches you may take; and
  • beginning the planning stage for the short and long term process of explicitly and systematically integrating “thinking” processes into the existing “learning” processes within your school.

The Growing Thinking Schools Guide is in English and translated into an Amharic edition.

Growing Thinking Schools training and guide offers starting points for the journey toward becoming a “Thinking School” of the 21st century.

  • UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) has written a Letter of Support  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 Methodologies and Whole School School and System approach. 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.
  • Addis Ababa Education Bureau (AAEB) head Ato Dilamo Otore  shared at an earlier Thinking Schools session facilitated in Addis Ababa by Dr. David Hyerle,  teaching-learning approach changes that have been made available for [Ethiopian] government schools, adding that a number of trainings have been given to teachers. This however did not guarantee immediate positive outcomes, and hence Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) would serve as a medium to assist in filling the gaps still troubling the system. As part of the notable success in the new government undertaking, Ato Dilamo said that students are engaged in a group-thinking and working approach that is used both in and out of the classroom. He also pledged support to TSE throughout the coming endeavors and said that starting with leadership being key, the initial spark had been ignited through the diverse pool of decision makers that were present at the workshop. Ato Dilamo has been instrumental in coordinating the upcoming AAEB experts training from 27 Aug—1 September 2012, and the upcoming implementation with 60 whole schools across ten sub-cities in the AAEB school system beginning the end of September 2012.


Growing Thinking Schools Approach  

Below are some excerpts from the Growing Thinking Schools guide to provide insights and understanding of the Growing Thinking Schools process. The first three stages of the journey as presented in this guide are to engage you in reflective questions such as:

  • What is the relationship between “learning” and “thinking”?
  • What is a “thinking” student?
  • How have other schools created Thinking Schools?
  • What are a variety of ways, definitions and approaches to thinking?
  • How do these beliefs fit within your belief system?

Guide Table of Contents

1. Getting Started
To get started, here is a visual mapping process…will support us in getting a view of the school and the environment around the school. Part of the process and guide includes the Working Field Guide for a hands on collaborative process.

2. Exploring Pathways
How does Change Happen?  The research on “change” processes in any organization can be summarized using this sequence…

3. Planning the Journey

  • What are the best ways to approach the teaching of thinking for YOUR school?
  • What do you think is involved in a whole school approach?
  • What transformative steps are necessary for success?
  • How far are you along in this process already?
  • How will you build consistency through a developmental  planning process?
  • Are there clear timelines and actions for training, monitoring and sustaining the plan?

4. Leading the Way

Working Field Guide
The Working Field Guide is part of the guide and Thinking Schools Ethiopia process — practices applied in a practical manner.

 

Growing Thinking Schools Ethiopia Process and Timeline
The Multi-Flow Map below (inputs -> outputs) provides an insight to goals and inputs to support the goals successful outcomes. The map below is focused on the collaboration with the Addis Ababa Education Bureau and its’ 300+ schools.

Timeline (Flow Map) of Thinking Schools Ethiopia Implementation
The timeline below (Flow Map) provides a sequence of Thinking Schools Ethiopia implementation leading up to the Addis Ababa Education Bureau collaboration and the actual implementation.

 

 Project Overview
The visual map below provides a general overview of the whole Thinking Schools Ethiopia project focused on sustainability with the initiative.

 

Reflections from participants of the two day Growing Thinking Schools training…
(English and Amharic with subtitles)

 Posted by at 6:33 pm
Aug 142012
 

The Addis Ababa Education Bureau (AAEB) collaboration with  Growing Thinking Schools Ethiopia continues with the training of the whole AAEB experts team. Twelve members of the AAEB experts team previously participated in a Growing Thinking Schools training earlier this year. The training of the experts will be then followed by the training of leadership teams from 60 pilot schools in September. This will be followed by whole school Thinking Schools training with the pilot schools at their school sites. The training includes the Growing Thinking Schools training followed by specific support trainings.

PHASE 1:  from 2009 —2011 over 2000 Ethiopian educators have been through multiple day Thinking Schools Ethiopia training in Addis Ababa and Hosanna Ethiopia. Many of the sessions are documented in the blog.

PHASE 2:  from August 2012—December 2012 the AAEB expert team and 60 schools will be part of the initial pilot project. They will all receive Growing Thinking Schools Ethiopia training.

PHASE 3:  from January 2013—July 2015 the project will expand to the whole AAEB school system. Concurrently there will be projects with rural regions and collaborations with children / youth organizations.

For more information on the upcoming training please contact TSI Global Trainer Robert Price or  Atsede Tsehayou. Contact information may be found clicking on ‘contact’ in the menu.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia demonstration in Addis Ababa Education Bureau Government School.

 Posted by at 6:33 pm
May 292012
 

Thinking Maps are a key component of Thinking Schools Ethiopia. Thinking Maps Incorporated is kindly providing in-kind support of Thinking Maps in professional development within Ethiopia under the guidance of Robert Price who is a Trainer of Trainers. With Addis Ababa Education Bureau implementation of Thinking Schools Ethiopia starting, along with collaborations including concurrent rural projects, it timely to share more on visual mapping. Recently a school in Northern Ireland captured superbly on video – including the principal, teacher and students – how this whole school language is effectively changing and growing the school:

Thinking Maps and Directing Thinking
Whole School Implementation 

St MacNissi Primary School
Glengormley, Northern Ireland

In this ESaGS TV program video above, you will visit St MacNissi’s Primary School in Glengormley, and hear from the principal, the Thinking Skills co-ordinator and the pupils as to how Thinking Maps are being used as one aspect of the school’s focus on developing and directing pupil thinking.
St MacNissi’s PS Inspection Report (pdf file) 


“children were involved in the development of learning intentions and success criteria… having developed that culture of children having a voice in their learning… a tool to use to develop… Thinking Maps a natural progression…”

Cognitive thinking is universal – and Thinking Maps representing how we think is a universal language. From here in Ethiopia to the above example in Northern Ireland to Thinking Schools International global collaborations including projects in Malaysia, South Africa, United Kingdom, Norway, Brazil and more.

 Posted by at 7:22 pm
Apr 112012
 

Reflective Questioning (inquiry) is one of the six starting points of thinking with Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE). The practice of questioning includes the teachers, school leaders and as part of the daily classroom thinking methodologies. Initially this could be through the technique of Powerful Questions which used to build comprehension, inferential thinking, listening skills, understanding, and interest. Upon regularly using Powerful Questions in the whole school (students, teachers, school leaders, school community), the next step could be implementation of Interpretive Questioning throughout the school.

Why Reflective Questioning?
The ability to master the skills of reflective questioning (inquiry) develops the capacities to research and analyze complex problems and to communicate easily and effectively about them – which are fundamental to all disciplines. This includes:

  • The ability to ask good questions
  • The ability to determine what needs to be learned in order to answer those questions
  • The ability to identify appropriate resources for learning
  • The ability to use resources effectively and to report on what was learned
  • The ability to be a listener
  • The ability to self-evaluate

Reflective Questioning integrates within all the starting points of thinking (see previous blog posts). Reflective Questioning is part of all TSE whole school training and implementation of transformative design. Sessions are offered for whole school teams that are specific to developing a deeper level of understanding and implementation of Reflective Questioning.

Additional information on TSE Reflective Questioning:

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

 Posted by at 7:34 pm
Mar 262012
 

By: Selfago Fuse


The second round of training with master facilitators/educators, on Saturday March 24 morning, was thoughtfully engaging and practically showing the BIG PICTURE of the educational transformation conceived to be realized throughout the City of Addis Ababa and Ethiopia respectively. Master Facilitators/Educators, Thinking Schools Ethiopia Program leader, Bereket Aweke and the international trainer Robert Price (via Skype) were thoughtfully engaged in exchanging their thoughts and expertise on how to knock the needy school doors so as to start the journey to actualized the fore seen big picture by applying the workable theories and its fruitful experiences locally and internationally. The training facilitators were exchanging thoughts and their mind felt professional feelings on how to make the change happen in the nation. More over the insightful professionals had an introductory session on the Six Starting Points for Thinking Schools.

Photos include the collaborative use of Thinking Maps by Robert Price with the potential master facilitators via Skype.

‘Community Building ‘‘Modeling Behavior’ and ‘Reflective Questioning’ were some of the frequently uttered phrases by the professionals in the hall.  

Many Reflections were forwarded and powerful questions were posed by the participants and the training facilitator in Addis Ababa who were gathered in Eminence Social Entrepreneurs. Some of the questions posed were:  

Why starting points for thinking? Why thinking School…

These were ideas based on the training manual (used with Thinking Schools Ethiopia whole school training) titled as “Growing Thinking Schools from The Inside Out”.  The trainer and the participants thoroughly discussed and scholarly reflected on the issues.

 Posted by at 1:40 pm
Mar 232012
 

Structuring Environment

considering how the physical space is organize and resources used

How the classroom, school, and surrounding area is physically structured has a great affect on teaching and learning. Positioning of students on the floor, seating arrangements in the classroom, and the accessibility of learning materials are all dimensions of the environment. The use of all the resources available within and around the school and wider community is key to engaging students.

A key to the success of Thinking Schools Ethiopia is consideration of Structuring Environment with intentionality. When developing the ‘classroom environment’ consideration is made to what best supports student learning.

The three video clips below Thinking Schools Ethiopia educators and students engage in discussions and modeling of classroom structures. How do the educators and students reflections compare with one another?

Another key component of Structuring Environment is using materials around us to guide our learning which we’ll explore in a later blog posting. Some suggested extensions include the Reggio Emilia approach and The Third Teacher, a recent book from the Internationally know designer Bruce Mau. Both connect and explore the critical link between the school environment and how children learn. The Reggio Emilia approach has a long history of implementation with extensive documentation and research supporting its success.

The images below – from Thinking Schools Ethiopia professional development trainings – models educators part of participant centered learning where they their experiences model approaches they will transfer for use in the classroom.

As with all six starting points of thinking, it is important to implement each area with a goal of mastery in a thoughtful manner, while seeing the big picture of how they interconnect in a systems approach of whole school transformative design change. Structuring Environment is part of the initial 2 day Growing Thinking Schools training where schools initially understand, reflect and vision on their whole school transformative design. Additionally Thinking Schools Ethiopia offers trainings specific to Structuring Environment as part of the whole school transformative design change process.

 

 Posted by at 4:35 pm
Mar 092012
 

By: Edda Zekarias

Eminence Social Entrepreneurs corridors were buzzing with the delighted sounds of enlightened education experts yesterday, March 8, 2012.

Except the handful that already had had opportunities to attend Thinking Schools workshops or training, what to expect was clearly vague to some.

The introduction by Dr. Hyerle highlighted Thinking Schools mission and goals supported by demonstrated successes achieved across countries in which the program has been implemented.  Thinking Maps concepts and practical application opportunities were also presented briefly through sharing examples of work done by students starting from Kindergarten right up to the advanced Sciences and even tertiary level education. Moreover, the presentation revisited information accessibility and utility while reflecting on how that factor affects teacher-student relations in contexts where the latter sustain traditional educating systems. This would mean that, teachers and educators in general would have to remember, acknowledge and accept that students have seemingly infinite sources of information at their disposal. Hence instead of seeing that as a threat, use it to their advantage so as not to stifle student quest for learning and earning knowledge.

In seeking to move away from traditional methods of learning—most notably, the lecture oriented, one way learning—Thinking Schools advocates for creating better thinkers, problem solvers, and much more. Rather appealing for Ethiopia considering, Dr. Hyerle had started off his discussion by sharing the infrastructural transformation he had seen upon his arrival to Ethiopia. In linking this transformation with the country, Dr. Hyerle brought focus on the Thinking Schools International ‘more than training…we transform’ approach which left the participants analyzing those capacities in human skill development. Aside from just looking into the functionalities of a whole school system, documentation was another fundamental point that Dr. Hyerle raised. In this he noted that, the bi-directional experience sharing mode that TSI has used internationally would be used within TSE. Accordingly, videos and other documentation would be used to reach teachers in all corners of Ethiopia—an approach he mentioned has greatly encouraged and enriched teachers and learners. For instance, imagine documentation going from successful Ethiopian classrooms as training materials in South Africa or Malaysia.

Dr. Hyerle also noted that Thinking Schools and Maps are not limited to the schooling system but rather have been applied in big corporations around the world.

Ato Bereket presented Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) past achievements, present status (2009-2011) as well as future prospects. Embarking on years of research and successes achieved by TSI, he noted, TSE was modeled under the principles and approaches put forward by TSI but crafted for implementation in Ethiopia according to existing realities. Challenges, the good and the changeable were all covered in the presentation. Trainings and workshops thus far conducted were touched upon followed by brief breakdown of upcoming strategies and partnerships. Mentioning collaboration and support rendered by the Addis Ababa Education Bureau and the UNESCO-IICBA; Bereket thanked the organizations and also explained their interventions. Currently, TSE is working on a selection of 30 schools within Addis Ababa that will participate in the pilot training after which plans forecast summer/ long school break/ teacher training project and an Education Conference. Most importantly, he also added that TSE will consider learning among special needs students as well.

In the discussions that followed, Ato Dilamo Otore (Addis Ababa Education Bureau) thanked Eminence for taking the initiative to partner with TSI in the creation of TSE. He disclosed the teaching-learning approach changes that have been made available for government schools, adding that a number of trainings have been given to teachers. This however did not guarantee immediate positive outcomes, and hence TSE would serve as a medium to assist in filling the gaps still troubling the system. As part of the notable success in the new government undertaking, Ato Dilamo said that students are engaged in a group-thinking and working approach that is used both in and out of the classroom. He also pledged support to TSE throughout the coming endeavors and said that starting with leadership being key, the initial spark had been ignited through the diverse pool of decision makers that were present at the workshop.

UNESCO-IICBA, Program Officer, Dr. Awol shared what he understood as immediate and long term benefits of incorporating Thinking Schools approaches locally, he outlined the disadvantages that come with what he called ‘competition vs. cooperation’ trends that dominate local school setups. Further, he stressed the need to build a common understanding around ‘ideas that matter’. In so doing he noted, diversity, cooperation, value(s), changing roles due to clear understanding and sharing of knowledge, etc would become more integrated and practiced in individual, human to human, human to environment and even national relations.  He also expressed contentment over the evolution of TSE, initially having focused on private schools, but now, the outreach having been extended to government schools.

In the end, concerns about coverage and ensured practical applications were raised for which it was responded that TSI experiences for pre and post implementation monitoring and evaluation would be used as lessons for implementing TSE. For instance, select ‘best’ teachers would be identified for training with the leadership team. These teachers would in turn be expected to train and also monitor implementation so that each school would have in-house expertise as opposed to external periodic supervision and monitoring. School leadership-teacher trainers-curriculum developers- teachers-students have been the foundation of the education system in Ethiopia. Using this as a guiding framework, training would be conducted by TSE to ensure all of the stakeholders understand and own the program and this would include the parents as well.

In the closing, Dr. Awol and Ato Dilamo expressed great support and commitment towards TSE and pledged to render support as would be required. Dr. Hyerle was also thanked and applauded for coming to Ethiopia and sharing his vision for the program. In conclusion, Ato Bereket thanked all of the participants mostly highlighting the support given by Dr. Awol and Ato Dilamo in collaborating the presence of the experts at the workshop.

The workshop was attended by delegates from several sub city education bureaus, AAEB, Save the Children Norway, UNICEF, IICBA-UNESCO.

Dr.Awol Endris Progam Officer,UNESCO/IICBA

Opening the workshop, Ato Tesfaye Alemu CEO& President, Eminence SE

Ato Dilamo Otore Addis Ababa Education Bureau Head

 Posted by at 12:45 pm
Mar 082012
 

By: Bereket Aweke

David Hyerle met with Ato Wondwosen Tamrat, President of one of Ethiopia’s upcoming prominent private institution of higher learning—St. Mary’s University. A fruitful discussion ensued on how St. Mary can become a center of excellence for Thinking Schools.  It was very encouraging to find an auditorium full of students, teachers and university leadership, 120 in total, waiting to hear all about Thinking Schools International concepts and experiences.

More info coming soon.

 Posted by at 11:40 am
Mar 062012
 

By: Edda Zekarias

David Hyerle Ed.D, Thinking Schools International Co-Director met with Ato Dilamo Otore, Head of the Addis Ababa Education Bureau. In the discussions, levels of implementation were greatly highlighted at the end of which strategies were crafted. Explained, the strategy will start with training experts from AAEB itself along with the ten sub-city leadership. Following, school leadership /principals etc/ will take awareness creation training after which the implementation of the program in the pilot schools will be on a strong foundation. The highlight of the meeting was an agreement for Eminence SE to host a half-day workshop this coming Thursday, March 7th 2012 in which senior delegates from the bureau and the sub-city leadership will be attending. In the discussion, Ato Tesfaye Alemu, CEO of Eminence Social Entrepreneurs and Bereket Aweke coordinator of Thinking Schools Ethiopia were present.

 Posted by at 6:41 am
Mar 062012
 

By: Edda Zekarias

‘Thinking, network, creativity’ and ‘improve problem solving’ were some of the terms that Dr. Hyerle used to brief Eminence staff on the concept of Thinking Schools International /TSI/ and what has been achieved and could be expected once implemented. In the briefing, he said that TSI was a result of experiences in the 1980s US educational revolution which initiated a wave of thinking pattern necessities that eventually changed schooling systems. As more refining came about, thinking was infiltrated into schools and organizations focused on creative and productive skills development and so forth.  He shared some success stories from projects in Malaysia and South Africa where support for Thinking Schools approach has been overwhelming and greatly encouraging.

Thinking Schools coming to Ethiopia through Eminence was also noted as a good collaboration between TSI and Eminence. He noted the benefits of having a comprehensive company as Eminence would facilitate the process mentioning the training and media department engagements in the areas of product development /publications, videos, software development, etc/ to assist with the program. Not only limited to the schooling environment, he added that Thinking Schools approach has been used in huge corporations and businesses and could have like potential in Ethiopia and beyond.

 Posted by at 6:25 am
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 202012
 

By: Edda Zekarais
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

This article is taken from the upcoming March issue of  ” The Eminence” magazine.

www.eminence-se.com

‘Isn’t thinking a key component of most learning and isn’t student learning the primary function of all schools? Unfortunately, a great deal of evidence would appear to indicate that a significant proportion of pupils pass through their 15,000 hours of schooling without being required to do much real thinking at all. External tests and examinations are prepared for and passed at every level by means of drills and rote-memory exercises with the result that a great deal of superficial information may have been accumulated without any reflection on its value or the meaning. Meanwhile, the notion of an autonomous (and group orientated) learner and problem-solver has been completely lost.’ (Professor Bob Burden (University of EXETER-UK)

Indeed, can we take a moment and reflect on the type of routine education we have had? Better yet, if a parent, what sort of education/ learning system have we put our most valuable children into? If a teacher, what have students learnt with us today? If part of the school administration, what values have we imparted on our students and have we truly made an effort to engage with our students beyond reminding them to pay tuition fees, respect school rules or even keep grade scores up so that our school is successful?
Fundamental as these and other related questions might be, they only tend to be asked contextually. In other words, they are left as questions to be asked and responded to by those in the system of education. It is rather unfortunate that it fails to be understood that such bearings only hamper and limit the exploration of maximum capacities to teach and learn. What such a statement alludes to is the fact that, learning and teaching should not only be limited to teacher and student, and within the confines of a school compound.
The truth of the matter is, raising questions alone without suggesting or providing tangible solutions to such issues is equally hazardous as doing nothing at all.
On the other hand, the beauty of the matter is, profound dedications and contributions have been made to address the issue(s). In addition, time and time again, across continents, it has been proven this effort works! This is in reference to Thinking Schools International. Initiated in the UK and US by David Hyerle and Richard Cummins, Thinking Schools International has been integrated into schooling systems in the UK, Norway, South Africa, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Northern Ireland.

Defined a
‘Thinking School is an educational community in which all members share a common commitment to giving regular careful thought to everything that takes place. This will involve both students and staff learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively, and to employing these skills and techniques in the co-construction of a meaningful curriculum and associated activities. Successful outcomes will be reflected in student’s across a wide range of abilities demonstrating independent and co-operative learning skills, high levels of achievement and both enjoyment and satisfaction in learning. Benefits will be shown in ways in which all members of the community interact with and show consideration for each other and in the positive psychological well-being of both students and staff.’
(Professor Bob Burden (University of EXETER-UK)

Understanding the benefits associated with Thinking Schools approach or learning, Eminence Social Entrepreneurs in collaboration with Thinking Schools International (TSI) have created Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE). This partnership without doubt comes at a crucial moment in the thriving academic sphere of Ethiopia.
Education is a basic foundation for any country’s development, especially in the context of developing nations. In our context, Ethiopia’s globally appraised growth will require constant human capital productive involvement. This condition creates obligation to cultivate these required skills from childhood and continue building them even in adulthood life circumstances. In such environments, progress is visible and achievable considering; each and every single person becomes a stakeholder in the processes created therewith.
Approaches and ideas set forth by Thinking Schools International also apply for Thinking Schools Ethiopia. In other words, the ‘whole-school’ teaching-learning approach is to be implemented within Ethiopia and in the long-run across the region. A vigorous pilot programmed phase between 2009 and 2011 was completed with utmost success. Following, TSE conducted pre-implementation training with government and private schools, the latest one having taken place November 2011. Consequently, the Addis Ababa City Administration Education Bureau signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Eminence (TSE) officially making it possible for the latter to commence preparations for initially working with schools in Addis Ababa.
This whole school method of teaching changes systems of the teaching-learning processes by making everyone a learner and teacher at the same time. Conventional schooling systems that focus on teacher-dominated learning, non-child/ learner friendly learning environments/ spaces, non-creative thinking, minimal parent and school administration involvement, etc are some of the aspects that TSE will work with in schools.
Of recent, Thinking Schools Ethiopia has received support from UNESCO-IICBA (UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa), which serves as great acknowledgement and also encouragement at the same time for this grand initiative in the area of education.
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… (Awol Endris, Dr— Program Director at UNESCO – IIICBA)
Future prospects for TSE hold expansion within Ethiopia and eventually in the region. In all of the engagements that will follow the progress, TSE will further strengthen Eminence’s social responsibility based initiatives that are crafted for wider community good.
“…I have started up using Thinking Maps…managing my own classrooms…now every single individual in my classroom is very much engaged in what we try to do…this has become a two way communication…” Mr. Addis – English Teacher
Video of Mr. Addis interview including how the integration of Thinking Schools Ethiopia training has impacted him as a teacher and the affect on his students…

Additional thoughts from Mr. Addis on the need for participant centered professional development training…
 

 Posted by at 9:06 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
click on responses above to leave a comment 

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