Making Thinking Visible with Harvard Thinking Routines

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Making Thinking Visible with Harvard Thinking Routines

by Jay Rasmussen, Dan Swensen, & Alison Brummett

Bethel University, 2014
What is meant by making thinking visible?

Making thinking visible is essentially understood as a paradigm shift in the mind of both teacher and student from simply doing to thinking deeply. Thinking is considered not only the purpose of education and learning but as the means to understanding. Thinking is thus transformed from memorization, work, and activity to understanding (Ritchhart, Church, & Morrison 2011, p. 8). This pathway is facilitated by noticing and naming thinking explicitly, i.e., making thinking visible, seeing what is going on in students’ minds (Ritchhart et al., p. 22; Hattie 2012, p. 37).

Fostering understanding in this rather transparent manner also serves to develop greater engagement and independence in students, especially when an additional instructional focus is placed on metacognition (Ritchhart et al., p. 22). Teachers should share with students the learning objectives of lessons so that they know what success looks like (Hattie p. 53). The transparency of learning must also be extended to facilitate a new culture of learning in the classroom; the learning must be visible to the teacher, and the teaching visible to the student (Hattie, p. 20-1). Explicitly noticing and naming thinking that fosters understanding plays out in the classroom by centering both teachers and students on specific thinking strategies (Ritchhart et al., p. 22).

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