Dec 282013
 

The above example of a student exercise book in an Ethiopian school includes students using Thinking Maps (visual tools) to organize their thinking, understand their thinking and for transferring to writing.

In Ethiopia, Exercise Books are an important link of the student’s work at school and sharing of their work with the parents at home. Traditionally Exercise Books are used across Ethiopia including in rural areas. Usually what you find in Exercise Books are notes copied from the black board, classwork and homework from the text books. The use of Thinking Maps incorporating the student’s thinking is a transitional change in both use and content of the Exercise Books. The visual example of the third grader is from a classroom that has used Thinking Maps for less than two months.

The student brainstorms formal writing and informal writing (two Circle Maps); compares and contrasts the two types of writing (Double Bubble Map); classifies the two types of letters (Tree Map); considers the physical structure of a letter (Brace Map) and; sequences the steps of writing a letter (Flow Map). They then begin their writing in the Exercise Book. The student’s interest in using Thinking Maps and the teacher’s encouragement to include visual mapping models using the Exercise Book in a ‘non-traditional’ manner capturing the interest, depth of understanding and development of their student-centered environment with the Thinking Schools Ethiopia approach.

I really think that Thinking maps make a big difference in my life because before I really didn’t read my books much because it takes too much time to understand. Now I am interested to open my exercise books making Thinking Maps to actually study and know what I am reading. We can be independent and learn by ourselves, because Thinking Maps are our teachers. They make everything easy so that we can read and remember — it makes you visualize things. Thinking Maps capture our thinking in our mind. 
Hannan Abdulfetah, Grade 9 Student, Bikolos Academy
download more reflections from students, teachers and principal at Bikolos Academy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

With the potential of student thinking and learning content significantly linked to the exercise books, there is a opportunity for elevating the outcomes of the exercise book’s potential through incorporating thinking methodologies within the exercise books. This includes;

  • the use of visual mapping for thinking (as in the example above);
  • reflective questioning; collaborative learning with families at home;
  • collaborative networking with ideas from home to school, and school to home.

By incorporating thinking methodologies within exercise book, it now becomes a transformational tool for a student to practice, model and share with their home (family and friends) how they think. The exercise book supports the students growth as life long  thinkers using methodologies for problem solving, learning, thinking and understanding — with their own minds and capacities.

For the educator, this transforms the traditional exercise book of only being a vessel of the teacher content as copied from the board, to a means of developing, practicing, sharing and demonstrating life-long thinking skills. This provides teachers with a tool to observe and assess how students are thinking independently — especially with Thinking Maps (visual mapping) and reflective questioning — through collaborative learning methods. Each day the students can be provided a short amount of time to share their work from the previous day / night they did independently in their exercise books.

Essentially traditional exercise books — a wonderful connector with school and home — transform into Idea Books for Thinking:

What is an Idea Book
An 
idea book records personal experiences so that the individual can express and learn from them using thinking methodologies. For an idea book to be an effective learning tool, the students and teachers must desire to reflect, create and think about our own experiences. An effective idea book reflects the writer’s active involvement and participation in her/his own life. An idea book is used for observation, reflection, and research for grades K-12. The goals and purpose are consistent throughout the grade levels.

Mechanics
Exercise books such as the traditional such as the traditional ones in Ethiopia, make an excellent choice for an idea book. Student made books are also fine as they create a pride of ownership. They can be created with lined or unlined paper using either construction paper or board (e.g. a box) for the covers. In either case, the students should have an opportunity to create covers that express their own individuality (ownership). Types of entries in the idea book encompass a variety of methods including words, illustrations, drawings, and photos. 

Modeling
It is very important for the teacher and other classroom adults to keep and use an idea book concurrently with the students. Their modeling includes regularly using and sharing their own idea book.

Sharing
Each student should regularly share his/her idea book with their peers. The students can share their entries:

  • student to student (pair-share),
  • small group share (3 or 4 students collaboratively)
  • whole group share (presentation)

Pair-share and small group sharing (collaborative learning) are recommended, followed by several students sharing to the whole group. Effective sharing includes compliments, insights, questions, and observations (teacher to student, student to student, and student to teacher). Each student should regularly share their idea book with the teacher (once a week or once every two weeks — regularity is important). When meeting with the teacher, the student should share their one or two favorite entries. High level reflective questions are most effective in discussing the entries with the student. Occasionally, students should take examples from their exercise books and post them on the classroom wall. These examples on the walls will provide a variety of modeling to the class to extend their exploration of their own experiences.


 Posted by at 12:11 pm
Nov 232013
 

Structuring Thinking Environments

Thinking Environments, a professional development model, is an awareness,understanding and a process focused upon the design, interface and impact with the environment of the physical learning space. The environment is ‘The Third Teacher’ (Reggio Emilia) where we focus on designing the physical space with the ‘Image of the Child’ as a root understanding. The ‘Image of the Child’ (Reggio Emilia) respects and understands the child’s frame of reference in regards to how children see, sense, use and interface within the environment. The teacher’s decisions:

  • with intentionality — impact the classroom and school’s environment.
  • are crucial to the quality outcomes of the children and youth’s learning experiences and how they model the children.
  • become a model to how students learn to consider using their environment: in school, home and the greater community.

Download the front matter (contents and introduction) for an overview) as a pdf file.

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

<em>The three video clips below provide examples of Thinking Schools Ethiopia educators and students engaging in discussions and modeling of classroom structures.

  • How do the educators and students reflections compare with one another?
  • How can their decisions with structuring a thinking environment impact teacher and student outcomes?

Download the front matter (contents and introduction) for an overview) as a pdf file.

 Posted by at 12:33 pm
Oct 212013
 

How do we directly improve students’ abilities to think?

The thinkabout blog by Thinking Foundation founder David Hyerle (and creator of Thinking Maps) digs into the big picture transformations of global education trends while focused on learners as thinkers… especially in Ethiopia, South Africa, Malaysia, India, New Zealand, Lithuania, Norway and Northern Ireland, the UK and US and many other places where Thinking Schools are growing from the inside out.  How do we “educate” children as they take on the role of “student”?  How do we explicitly nurture thoughtful, mindful “students” who then take on the role of “adult” as they stand for gate-keeping exams (or drop out) and enter their own life of decision making?

Read the complete blog posting including video clips with students reflections on their thinking and improved learning. Go to the Thinking Foundation website to read David Hyerle’s blog posting.
http://blog.thinkingfoundation.org/

David Hyerle’s blog may also be accessed on the Thinking Schools International website at
www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com/category/davidsblog/

Minds of Mississipppi
The Pass Christian Public Schools received a grant from Thinking Foundation to document their incredible story. The story of “The Pass” began before the hurricane Katrina, continued as their whole community was “wiped off the map” in 2005, and has been sustained at the highest levels (2013) by staying focused on the map for improving students’ thinking. Thinking Foundation proudly presents the recently premiered film Minds of Mississippi. Watch the trailer of the  “made for TV” documentary on the Thinking Foundation website.

Thinking Foundation——Thinking IS the Foundation for Learning
The mission of the non-profit Thinking Foundation is to support high quality research on cognitive skills development, creativity, and critical reflection—at pre-school, K-12 and college levels in order to transform learning, literacy, teaching and leadership around the world for those with the greatest need.
www.thinkingfoundation.org

 Posted by at 7:01 pm
Sep 062013
 

Sentence Transformation for Vocabulary Development
a collaborative method to increase vocabulary, fluency and ideas
This method was recently included as part of the leadership training with principals from 33 government schools part of the Initiative Africa All Children Read Grant. The training foundation was using the Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out handbook to provide a framework for whole school change. The 2 day hands-on session (see previous blog posting) including visual mapping (Thinking Maps®), reflective questioning, collaborative learning and structuring environment. In addition specific reading strategies, such as Sentence Transformation, were incorporated into the training.

Description Sentence Transformation for Vocabulary Development is a collaborative method to build vocabulary from prior knowledge, readings, schema connections, and peer to peer learning. Sentence Transformation models and develops reading fluency, vocabulary, parts of grammar (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, etc.), langauge and spelling patterns and collaborative learning. This strategy is applicable for beginning readers through secondary school. The lower grades learning patterns of language, while the upper grades explore expanding on quality writing to develop vocabulary and their own voice from master writers.
download the brief handout


sentence transformation in Amharic, Oromo, English – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – June 2013

Strengths Sentence Transformation is a process that involves the whole class and/or small groups in a very participatory activity that builds vocabulary and fluency. It requires minimal resources – a basic chalkboard and/or a wall painted with chalkboard paint is excellent to use. Students can lead the process in addition to the teacher. For the teacher it is an excellent opportunity to model reading with fluency and thinking aloud with vocabulary development.

When The process takes approximately 5-15 minutes. It is recommended doing the process 1-2 times daily. The sentence can most appropriately connect to content during the day. This method can be used in ALL content areas (language, science, math, social science, PE, etc.).


sentence transformation in English – New York City, USA – 2013

Extensions After developing vocabulary with the sentence for various parts of speech, students can extend this activity by writing sentences from the developed sentence transformation. Additionally, the vocabulary if connected to current studies and content can be used as part of a vocabulary word wall.

Needs A medium or large size chalkboard and/or white board are very effective. This provides sufficient space to write complete sentences (row) and develop a wide range of vocabulary (columns). Chalkboard paint could be used to paint an entire wall.

The Process

  • the teacher writes the sentence on the chalkboard saying nothing with the students watching
  • the teacher chants the sentence while tracking (pointing to) the words in phrases
  • the teacher selects one part of speech (e.g. adjective) and asks for words with similar meanings
  • after adding one word, the teacher chants with the students the complete sentence with each added vocabulary word
  • the teacher continues with this process adding futher words to the part of speech being expanded
  • Reminder—add one part of speech, then chant all the sentences so far. This supports fluency practice and learning the patterns progressively. 

Students as the Facilitators (teachers)
Having students becoming the whole class and/or small group leaders provides an opportunity to peer to peer transfer, observation of students to assess the student leaders as much as the participating students.

Teacher’s Goals of Modeling
It is important to develop students into the leaders of facilitating. It is equally important for teachers to model the procedure throughout the year — assessing student progress to determine needs and ‘changing up’ what is supportive for growth to model to the students.

Precludes, Next Steps and Extensions
The ‘word bank’ of vocabulary in context created with sentence transformation provides a natural progression to using the ‘word bank’ as a framework for writing.  Prior to sentence transformation (or concurrently) visual maps can be used to develop vocabulary in a similar manner.

Connecting with Thinking Schools
Sentence Transformation is about learning patterns collaboratively and as a visual tool – the classification and expansion of the parts of language.

download the brief handout

Thinking Schools International:  www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com

Research: Thinking Foundation www.thinkingfoundation.org

 

 Posted by at 6:33 pm
Sep 042013
 


Implementing Thinking Schools Ethiopia

A Whole School / Whole School District / Region Systems Approach

Step 1: Visioning & Planning Transformational Change:
Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out
read more about on previous blog entries

The initial training uses the Thinking Schools International Growing Thinking Schools Guide for the initial two day training with leadership teams. The purpose is to learn through using the Thinking Schools Six Starting Points of Thinking. This begins with learning more about ourselves, our school, our team, and our community.  The training includes hands-on use of the Thinking Schools Methods:

Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out Transformational Design Handbook

  • Reflective Questioning high quality questioning and listening skills
  • Thinking Skills explicit use of cognitive processes
  • Visual Mapping the use of visual tools to map out ideas. read more
  • Collaborative Networking between us in pairs, groups, schools, and global networks that includes collaborative learning; collegial coaching; regional and global collaborations. read more
  • Developing Dispositions characteristics, dispositions, and habits of mind are engaged
  • Structuring Environment considering how the physical space is organize and resources used
  • read more

view an example with the Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) & Initiative Africa collaboration (click on the image to enlarge)

Step 2:  This training begins with a leadership team. Examples in Ethiopia include:

  • Thinking Schools International and Thinking Schools Ethiopia training of the Addis Ababa Education Bureau Expert Team in November 2012 – this is the team that would play an important role in working with the school leadership teams, leading demonstration lessons at school sites, and facilitating professional development. read more
  • Training principals from the participating schools of a Thinking Schools whole school change process. Thinking Schools International and Thinking Schools Ethiopia training of 33 school leaders part of the All Children Read Initiative. read more

Step 3:  Training School Leadership Teams
The next step after training a team of experts and/or principals, is to train leadership teams from each school including principals, supervisors and lead teachers from the school. These teams are part of a collaborative training with other school leadership teams – optimally from the same sub-city and/or region (kebele / woreda).

Step 4:  Training at schools including demonstration lessons within a collegial coaching (collaborative learning) model for the educators.
This training involves the whole school staff in observing and participating with demonstration lessons in classrooms with students. Thinking Schools methods are used in the demonstration as well as part of the educators in their professional learning communities. Download the brief PDF file outlining an example with Visual Mapping. Any thinking strategy can be substituted in the pedagogical model.

Use of Video of Actual Practices from Demonstration Lessons
During the on-site professional development with whole school staffs, the demonstration lessons are video taped for building a video library for the school staff (Professional Learning Community).

Training of Specific Methods
The school staff continues training (professional development) with specific methods trainings including Visual Tools (e.g. Thinking Maps); Structuring Environment; Collaborative Learning; Reflective Questioning; Dispositions. read more

Collaborative Network
In addition to collaborating with schools locally, regionally and nationally, schools can collaborate within the greater Thinking Schools International network: www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com

 

Thinking Schools International:  www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com

Research: Thinking Foundation www.thinkingfoundation.org

 Posted by at 3:26 pm
Aug 232013
 

Download the reflective poster (pdf file) of Bikolos Nur Academy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as seen below.

Hannan: I really think that Thinking maps make a big difference in my life because before I really didn’t read my books much because it takes too much time to understand, but now I am interested to open my exercise books make Thinking Maps to actually study and know what I am reading. We can be independent and learn by ourselves, because Thinking Maps are our teachers. They make everything easy so that we can read and remember — it makes you visualize things. Thinking Maps capture our thinking in our mind.
Hannan Abdulfetah, Grade 9 Student

Download the reflective poster (pdf file) of Bikolos Nur Academy,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as seen to the right.

 Posted by at 12:33 pm
Jul 202013
 

Principals collaboratively using Thinking Maps to develop and organize their ideas and thinking at the June 2013 training.

All Children Reading Initiative
In this blog posting:

  • an overview of the initiative
  • reflections from principals at the first 2 day training including video clip
  • specific methodologies being implemented with the initiative

The All Children Reading Initiative focuses on students thinking and reading (decoding, comprehension, thinking methodologies) including educators developing a reflective teaching practice through action research. Initiative Africa is collaborating with Thinking Schools Ethiopia on the implementation of the model project. The initial two day training with Principals from the 33 participating schools from 3 regions in Ethiopia was held in Addis Ababa in June 2013.

  • 11 schools in Amhara
  • 11 schools in Nazeret
  • 11 schools in Addis Ababa Gulele Sub-city

The specific practices that educators will be implementing include:

    • Growing Thinking Schools Ethiopia from the Inside Out approach includes Visual Tools (Thinking Maps), Collaborative Learning, Building Community, Thinking Environment, and Reflective Questioning. These approaches are the foundation of a whole school thinking approach developing a common approach with the whole learning community. The Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out model develops plans that support each schools specific needs in a whole school approach. The guide is currently used in English and Amharic.
    • Specific reading approaches including spelling (phonics and language patterns), language fluency (Sentence Transformation), and writing (sentence patterns and use of visual tools).
    • For educators:  Action Research; Collegial Coaching; Thinking Maps for planning and assessing.
    • Books published in the three key languages: Amharic, Oromigna, English

Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out guide in Amharic.

  • Teacher guides (professional development) published in the three key languages accompanied by a DVD (developed in Ethiopia with Ethiopian educators and students) to see the methods in action.

All methods need only minimal materials – either chalkboard and chalk or sand and drawing utensils are highly effective. The model includes regular professional development led by Thinking Schools Ethiopia trained facilitators including:

  • specific sessions on Action Research, Thinking Maps, Building Community, Spelling and Fluency
  • monthly school site visits to all schools during the school year (2013-1014) for on-site professional development
  • specific School Leadership training
  • collaborative trainings at school sites (two schools joining the host school)
  • use of media for ongoing training between in-person site visits

The Innovation
An Action Research Approach to Improving Student Reading Using Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) for reflective practices while implementing research based methodologies Including specific reading methods, Thinking Maps and others.

The Participants
Leadership teams from three regions representing eleven schools from each region as part of an All Children Reading grant. The first year will focus on the effectiveness of the model, building a body of action research, implementing research based thinking and reading methodologies, and developing whole school change.

The administrators and government education officials representing 33 schools shared reflective insights throughout the two day training. Some of the reflections at the end of the training include:

Thinking Schools Ethiopia Facilitator:
As you are leaders of different schools, I would like to know how this training was useful for your own work.
Atsede Tseheyer, Thinking Schools Ethiopia Facilitator 

The Training:
“What I understand from the two day training was, training can be fun with Thinking maps, experience sharing and reflections.”
Wosen Sileshi, Principal 

Collaborative Learning & Whole School Change:
“The training was helpful for school administrators too, it helps us to work with our staff collaboratively and come up with new ideas.”
Abenet Girma, Principal

Student Centered for Students — Participant Centered for Teachers and School Leaders:
“Starting from the trainers, I have seen how we should treat students and how this will affect their performance and their interest in coming to school.”
Zenebe Nigussie, Principal

Student Prior Knowledge, Thinking Methodologies, Smiles:
“Now I understand that students come to school with prior knowledge, how sentence transformation works and various tools to make class room interactive. The other important thing I notice was how powerful it is to welcome students every day and see them off at the end with smile.”
Tegegn Shimelash, Principal

Quality Education for All Children:
“The Thinking Maps will assist us in solving our fundamental problems by bringing quality education to all children.”

Milkias Bonke, Principal

Sharing, Spelling, Fluency, Collegial Collaborations:
“The main thing I got today is sharing experience from my colleagues and other schools. Secondly, I found different techniques how to teach spelling, fluency, thinking.”
Getasetegn Engida, Principal

Vision:
“I can see it in two ways, one: it helps us to see what is available in our schools and outside of our school. Secondly; because previously a lack of teaching methodologies, students performance may be lowered. With thinking methodologies we can give them these tools to support the school team and students.”
Abraha Hailemariam, Principal

TSE-IA-june2013leadership-training

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The Thinking Schools Ethiopia approach has been recognized by UNESCO as a method of modern pedagogy. Read more on an earlier blog posting. Thinking Schools Ethiopia trained the Addis Ababa Education Bureau experts team during a five day participant centered training in September 2012 on the practices of whole school change, Thinking Maps, Reflective Questioning, Thinking Environments, and Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out.

 Posted by at 12:15 pm
Jun 112013
 

Thinking Schools Ethiopia (Eminence Social Entrepreneurs) in collaboration with Initiative Africa has organized a two day training on thinking methodologies, reading and spelling. The training will be conducted from June 15-16, 2013 at the 4 kilo Sports and Education Center. Participants are thirty school leaders and six education Bureau officers from selected schools in Addis Ababa, Kolfe Keraniyo and Gullele sub-cities, Boset Woreda, East Shewa, Oromia and Angolela Tera Woreda, North Shewa, Amhara regions.

 Purpose:

  • Connecting the All Children Reading Initiative with Growing Thinking Schools Ethiopia Approach for a Sustainable Initiative.

Objectives:

  • Multi-directional development is a belief system and model where all participants recognize their own capacity for aiding the others globally: ideas and innovation originate within and across all places globally.
  • Whole systems change involves ‘whole schools’ in implementation including all students, staff, teachers, administration and parents.
  • People must have an understanding, ‘buy-in’, and develop mastery of methods for change to root and become imbedded in the process of change.

Methodology

Thinking Schools Ethiopia is a 21st century sustainable model developing educators and children who are innovative thinkers through:

  • whole school training with methodologies – a systems approach
  • training leadership team as leaders using and modeling methodologies to be the leaders and guides
  • creating models of excellence using methodologies that are research based, examples of success in the field and create models of excellence to build upon
  • creating new innovative patterns – the brain seeks patterns and to change how we teach children to be lifelong thinkers starts with the leadership and educators
  • Methods/tools that are lifelong learning tools; across all disciplines; involve and used by all levels of the community within the school and outside the school from students to adults. Reflective Questioning; Visual Tools; Collaborative Networking/Learning; Structuring Environment; Developing Dispositions; Thinking Skills
  • Collaborative training model for developing highly qualified Ethiopian facilitators/trainers
  • Ongoing Action Research
  • Criteria for achieving ‘Thinking Schools’ accreditation
  • Sustainable design

Initiative Africa:  www.initiativeafrica.net

 Posted by at 3:15 pm
Jun 102013
 

As posted online on Capital News paper,March 2012

Despite the impact education has on the values of the young and the role it plays in economic growth, Ethiopia has faced historical and cultural complications that have limited its progress.
According to UNESCO’s reviews, most people in Ethiopia feel that work is more important than education, so at a very early age labor replaces learning. Social awareness about how vital education is, is improving but still not at the required pace.
Like in many parts of the world, quality education is also an issue.
“If you go around the world you will see that education is in the same place, everybody has the same concerns, Dr. David Hyerle, told Capital.
Dr. Hyerle developed the thinking map model in 1980s, a system that nurtures and advances reading comprehension, writing skills and problem solving.
Most students do not know how to turn the information they get into knowledge because most classroom education is content based, and students simply memorize and regurgitate information to pass an exam; which does not help them become creative or think critically.  He says that is where thinking maps come in. Thinking maps are visual representations or diagrams of eight cognitive processes that include cause-and-effect, categorization, sequencing, comparing and contrasting and seeing analogies.
Now Dr. David Hyerle’s ideas are being applied at a new school which will attempt to instill creativity and critical thinking skills in students and parents as well. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:12 am
Jun 012013
 

Fatuma Ahmed • School Owner and Managing Director

By Bereket Aweke

Read the Bikolos PDF file of students, teachers, school director reflections
As the school owner and managing director of Bikolos Nur Academy in Addis Ababa, I am always interested in giving quality education for the children and youth, so I was always looking for a way to guide us to quality education. Our school motto is”we teach how to learn”, so, for us the Thinking Schools approach, especially the thinking maps and the other starting points are our guides to meet our vision. I heard about thinking school from a friend about one year back. When I heard the name “Thinking Schools” I was excited because that is the important aspect of learning, Thinking! Then I met Mr.Bereket from Thinking Schools Ethiopia and we discussed about it back and forth several times. I also checked the website and read some articles about it. The more I read about thinking schools, the more I got interested. The first time I took the training was through our school network with around 15 other schools. By then, I was convinced and believed this is the way to quality education.

After the training, immediately, I introduced Thinking schools to my school. Now, it is a month since its introduction and within this time I have seen a big change. The students are starting to think clearly and improved creativity as well as creating their own way of thinking and simplifying things.

For the teachers, the maps helped in simplifying lessons and able them to teach the students how to learn, as our motto promotes.

When I start the school seven years back we wanted to teach kids how to learn and make them lifelong learners, but we didn’t have or know the way. We know that the lessons should be student centered and active but we didn’t know the tools to do that. But after introducing Thinking Maps as part of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia approach, I can say we are teaching how to learn.

I also use the maps on my weekly meetings for example, we are using the maps to organize a students’ carnival the coming Sunday. On top of that I found the maps useful and practical in my daily activities. I am certain Thinking Maps and other Thinking Schools methods can be applied in many areas.

I have also observed after the training teachers were reflective and discussing about the maps, how they used them and the challenges they faced. This has improved interdepartmental relations and collaboration among teachers and student. We are also planning to train parents to create even a better collaboration.

Our journey has started and I am sure after go through the way, Thinking Schools Ethiopia will help us meet our mission and vision. I think this approach is the best thing for us and I believe that other schools can benefit from it but it needs dedication from leaders and school directors.

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Apr 272013
 

click on the picture to enlarge

By Bereket Aweke

Read the Bikolos PDF file of students, teachers, school director reflections
Students and Teachers at Bikolos Nur Academy recently shared their reflections on the beginning pathways of implementing Thinking Maps as part of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) whole school initiative. Thinking Schools Ethiopia (Eminence Social Entrepreneurs) Facilitators Bereket Aweke and Atsede Tsehayou conducted these interviews during the regular on-site professional development with the Bikolos Nur Academy staff. The on-site professional development supports the implementation including collegial coaching, demonstration lessons with students and building the capacity of the whole school staff.

The reflections below include students, teachers and administrators. These interviews are a regular part of the TSE process to document and assess the implementation of the Thinking Schools approach.

Bikolos Nur Academy Students

I really think that Thinking maps make a big difference in my life because before I really didn’t read my books much because it takes too much time to understand, but now I am interested to open my exercise books make Thinking Maps to actually study and know what I am reading. We can be independent and learn by ourselves, because Thinking Maps are our teachers. They make everything easy so that we can read and remember — it makes you visualize things. Thinking Maps capture our thinking in our mind.
Hannan Abdulfetah, Grade 9 Student

Thinking Maps have helped me a lot in studying. Next year I am taking national exam. I am preparing my summaries using Thinking Maps because it is taking a shorter time with Thinking Maps. It is more effective because by looking at the circles and the other maps, I can remember what is inside and that makes it easier for me to study.
Abdurahemen Kassim, Grade 9 Student

We are using the maps very effectively and the class is now more student centered with everybody participating. The eight Thinking Maps are so helpful because we can do our work easily — for example our book is a huge book so it is tiresome and consumes much time. But you can use a piece of paper and draw maps and easily analyze the things about the subject in few minutes. When we do Thinking Maps in group work everybody is participating on it, so it is going to be fun and interesting.
Hussien Abdulnessir, Grade 9 Student

Thinking Maps are very easy to use and to remember. Before when we work in groups there was not much argument but now we can easily visualize things and remember what you see in pictures in the mind. These maps are like pictures and have different designs and very easy to remember.
Sabontu Ali, Grade 9 Student

 

Bikolos Nur Academy Faculty

I really want to thank the thinkers who give us Thinking Maps and make us think to ourselves and for our students. Thinking maps are very helpful. I have spent many years teaching chemistry and I have been trying many methods to visualize chemistry to students. The thinking maps made everything clear in these 2-3 weeks after the training.
Adefres Zerihun, Vice Director and Chemistry Teacher

Thinking Maps makes our life easier and help us impart lessons which were difficult to comprehend. The students have accepted Thinking Maps in a very special way and related to the maps. I hope the Thinking Maps will go on so that we can give them what they deserve and we can get from you what we deserve.
Huda Seid, Vice Director and English Teacher

Starting with the Thinking Schools training, I understood that the training and the Thinking Maps is participatory. We were at the training on a Friday and started implementing Thinking Maps on Monday. The training has helped me a lot because before I had hard time delivering my subject to my students. But after learning the Thinking Maps and introducing the eight Thinking Maps to my students, my subject is understood more easily. We are always told about student centered teaching but it is with Thinking Maps I could involve all types of learners in my class. This is also the policy of our country and if we regularly implement them and get reference materials, we can even do better. Both the staff and the students have loved it and we thank you.
Mohammed Awol, Social Sciences Teacher

I have used all the Thinking Maps except the Bridge Map in my grade 3 lessons. I am very excited. My students love the Thinking Maps and are internalizing the maps. The Thinking Maps are helping us to identify the level of the students. For example, some students remain in the circle map and others apply the other maps achieving higher order thinking in Blooms Taxonomy. So generally I am very happy as the Thinking Maps assists us in effective teaching methodology and students. Recent results have shown slight increment of growth from last quarter over a period of three weeks.
Usman Mohammed, Grade 3 Science Teacher

Thinking Schools Ethiopia is very interesting starting from the training. The Thinking Maps makes our minds visualize information. In this short time students are referring to and using the Thinking Maps more than the previous methods. All students are more active than the previously because they can easily understand the topics and remember what they are learning.
Zewdu Hailu, Vice Director and Physics Teacher

 Posted by at 11:22 am
Apr 102013
 

By Bereket Aweke

Read the Bikolos PDF file of students, teachers, school director reflections
Bikolos Nur Academy became the first private school in Ethiopia to start the journey of becoming a Thinking School. The academy, with around 700 students and 54 teachers, took four days of visioning Growing Thinking Schools training in march has decided to implement Thinking School’s approach school wide after wards.

As part of the implementation plan, a full day whole school training on Thinking Maps was conducted on Friday, April 5.The training was part of TSE’s ‘on-site School transformative support” where once schools took part a visioning session, their successive activities/trainings are supported by  regular visitation of TSE Trainers/consultants in person and via technology.

 Posted by at 3:16 pm
Mar 112013
 

 By Bereket Aweke

Eminence Social Entrepreneurs, Thinking Schools Ethiopia program, conducted a four day long Growing Thinking Schools Training from February 28-March 2, 2013.The training in collaboration with Crescent School Network, a network consisting of 16 private and public schools all over Ethiopia, covered two day’s Introduction to Growing Thinking Schools and another two days of  visual tools & Thinking Skills trainings.
The trainees mainly consisting of school leaders and owners came as far as Afar and Dessie in the north, Dire Dawa in the east and Bale in the south west parts of Ethiopia. In between sessions the trainees reflected that the training was one of a kind, organized both in terms of trainers and training materials and timely available to solve the many problems of quality education in Ethiopia.
At the end, it was highlighted that Eminence Social Entrepreneurs should continue its effort to further support these schools on their journey of becoming Thinking Schools.
visit www.eminence-se.com for more

 Posted by at 2:16 pm