A number of conclusions and recommendations can be drawn from the above report which, it is hoped, may prove to be useful in future research.
John Dewey reminded educators that one of the most important goals of schooling is to improve T.S. Since learning is a consequence of thinking,
.... all which the school can or need do for pupils, so far as their minds are concerned � is to develop their ability to think.
Recent research has indicated that T.S. can be improved (Feuerstein, 1980; Sternberg, 1984; Perkins, 1989). However, the best means for improving thinking skills has been much debated. Some educators have suggested T.S. would best be improved by stand-alone programs, such as Feuerstein's (1980) Instrumental Enrichment and deBono's (1983) CoRT Thinking Programme. Other educators have suggested that T.S. would best be improved by teaching T.S. as part of the regular curriculum. Perkins, Jay and Tishman (1993) maintained that individual teachers could create a �culture of thinking' in their classrooms by modeling and directly discussing inquisitiveness, a respect for higher order thinking, the expectation that students practise higher order thought, and the language of T.S.
Of course the ideal situation would entail the direct teaching of thinking initially, through T.S. sessions, whereby pupils could learn the skill of thinking, or that which de Bono calls �operacy'. This would be followed with a scenario similar to that outlined in the previous paragraph, together with the infusion of the T.S. into the whole curriculum. This would, however, entail large-scale training of teachers over a period of time, together with regular feedback and support in order to maintain and sustain such a holistic programme. Should such a system be implemented, the possibilities for transfer of T.S. to other contexts including the wider school and home community would be enhanced.
The current T.S. project involves the direct teaching of thinking by specially trained teachers to small groups of pupils outside of the regular classroom. The T.S. project works towards motivating class teachers into using T.S. in their classes by inviting teachers to attend the T.S. sessions and demonstrating the use and effects of T.S. in a practical manner. This method minimises teacher training and, when correctly implemented, is bound to have a great deal of impact on class teachers � certainly more than if class teachers were to have been simply lectured on the subject. Moreover, the aforementioned culture of thinking is being created and developed by having whole schools participating through classroom activities and by organising activities such as school exhibitions of thinking projects and school outings, making use of the T.S. and with a special emphasis on operacy.
This study has convincingly shown that stand alone programs such as deBono's CoRT Programme, even though used for a relatively short period of time in the scholastic year, left a marked difference on the thinking processes of the children who took part in this project.
Children in the experimental groups have consistently shown an improved ability in interacting with each other and with the teacher, better verbal and listening skills, a broader and deeper perspective when confronted with problems, a higher level of autonomy in their thought and actions and an increased awareness of their thinking processes.
Of course, if the time allotted to the teaching of thinking were to be increased, the consequent effect may be even greater. One should keep in mind the fact that the total amount of time dedicated to the direct teaching of thinking up to now has been around 12 lessons of 45 minutes, which totals around 9 hours of exposure. Even so, if things were to remain as they are and pupils were to be taught thinking every scholastic year for the same period of time, it is likely that the quality of thinking and the thinking habits of pupils would improve drastically.
Another point of contention within the T.S. team was whether the younger pupils were ready for the learning of T.S. This study dispels any doubt in this regard. Not only can the quantity and quality of thinking of infants be improved but some of the desired effects of the T.S. sessions such as increasing creativity are more difficult to attain with older pupils who have been trained in convergent thinking.
The lesson to be learnt is that once the imagination is quelled, it is difficult to ignite it again and if we want children to be better thinkers we have to start them off young.