CoRT THINKING LESSONS PROJECT:
7th, 8th and grade (Aged 12, 13,14)
YES-NO-PO, STEPPING STONE, RANDOM INPUT.
EXAMINE BOTH SIDES.
Teacher A says:
When the project was presented the students looked very enthusiastic. They all agreed about the need of training thinking. Some of the students found it hard to establish a relationship between the objective and the practice. The students seriously considered the moment of reflection, but I had to choose carefully the subject of the practice, because some of the practices were not effective from the point of view of motivation. I was frequently asked when they would have the "thinking workshop " again.
During a conversation with the students about the meaning of developing the thinking, I summarised what students thought in the following conclusions:
- To have a wider point of view or opinion about something.
- To consider other people's point of view in a given situation or when solving a problem.
- To try to see all the consequences of any fact.
- To check, before making a decision, if we have considered all the requirements, elements, conditions, etc.
- To keep the mind open to new and unexpected situations.
I have done a PMI about my experience with the"thinking workshop":
- The students found out the need of training to develop the thinking.
- They found out that thinking is deliberately chosen.
- They found that thinking is important.
- They found out that thinking is also funny.
- They could figure out that there is no need to be sitting, or just listening o reading to be able to think.
- I myself found pleasure while teaching the lessons, while searching examples for the practices and while planning the workshop.
- I found out that in occasions, while planning the lessons or developing a class, my own thinking track was not wide enough.
- Students, who usually do not give their opinions, could give creative answers.
- Students, who usually remain silent felt themselves capable to participate of the workshop and enjoyed it greatly.
- This attitude (to participate) showed a different attitude during the ordinary classes of my subject. They encouraged themselves.
- I met "new " students. (I could see how they have changed)
- The students showed how they have changed in my subject specially.
- They established a link between the CoRT lessons and Social Studies, which is my subject.
- Some of the students found the examples not very attractive.
- Some of them stated that "it was obvious the CoRt lessons could not be used in other subjects, as Maths since they should not miss those classes..."
- We need more time and continuity to see the spontaneous use of the tools, according to the needs or interests of who is thinking.
- The students might have the lessons in a folder to be consulted when they need to, as the range of lessons grows.
- A new department might be created at school which exclusive business would be the CoRT programme.
- This department might include teachers from different levels and disciplines.
- It might be created a "thinking club" at school, in the way of a chess workshop, with the only goal of getting together just to think.
- This "thinking club" might be for teachers too.
- It could be proposed meetings with children, parents, and teenagers who do not attend our school, so they can interact.
- Some students (having been trained) could have workshops with parents.
- We, teachers and Heads, might use the tools before making decisions or solving usual situations at school.
Teacher B says:
I started using the CoRT 4, since creativity offers a wide range of possibilities, then I continued with lesson from CoRT 1.While using the Creativity lessons, I realised that the older the students are, the less creative they are. Most of the 9th grade students needed a solid, real situation to be able to use the YES-NO PO tool; they could "loosen themselves" while using the STEPPING STONE tool. This showed me the need to reconsider the teacher's responsibility that goes further than the teacher's role, so I clearly saw the need of working creativity.
Other group could use the tools we learnt in daily situations spontaneously.
In the case of a group composed by sub-groups, being they very much different in characteristics and interests, it seemed hard for them to follow the directions about the method ad distribution of the time.
It was not easy not to make corrections upon the student's answers since they are used to get the approval, or disapproval, from the teacher. The time discipline is something that gradually improves.
Nevertheless, it is the first time we apply these lessons, and taking into consideration the enthusiasm that students show, I am sure they and I will improve the dynamic of these lessons.
Teacher C says:
I started the class telling my students what the CoRT method was about. They asked different types of questions, as who the author was, his prestige, his proposal, the objective of the work, its usefulness and the results of the method, among many other questions.
They were sceptical about the benefits at that moment. The subject of the practice (CoRT 3, EXAMINE BOTH SIDES) was the death penalty. They could use the tool in good mood, respecting the directions, listening to each other and without discussions
I think this lesson was successful with this group, which is always in good mood and very calm.
(Another teacher decided to start the lesson without telling the students about the lessons.
Now two teachers share the class, one of them as an observer)
Teacher D says:
The students showed themselves in a good mood when they had the "thinking workshop".
Groups worked better when they were formed at random.
We could work in a very dynamic way.
The students showed themselves more interested when the subject of the practice was in accordance with the teenager culture.
They asked to work with more complex subjects, where the need to use the tool was evident.