The knowledge economy, scientific and technological advances, democratic society, and other factors all exert pressure on education systems to develop students’ ability to think well—to think effectively, critically, and creatively. The movement for teaching thinking, which emerged in the West in the last third of the 20th century and thereafter expanded throughout the world, responded to this challenge with theories that address the question: What is the factor that generates good thinking and how does one teach it? There are multiple and occasionally contradictory answers to this question.
The course presents a conceptual map to elucidate the theories of and approaches to teaching thinking:
- The skills approach aims to impart thinking skills through demonstration and practice.
- The dispositions approach aims to instill good thinking dispositions through modeling and organizational culture.
- The understanding approach aims to help students develop understandings through undermining and inquiry.
Each approach defines the key concepts of the subject—“thinking,” “good thinking,” and “educating for thinking”—in its own distinctive way. With an understanding of the approaches to teaching thinking, we can teach students, workers, and citizens to think better.