Summary of Making Thinking Visible

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Making Thinking Visible book summary
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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Innovative teachers and researchers Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison present vibrant teaching examples from real classroom applications. They offer 21 strategies for engaging students and encouraging them to think more creatively and to share their thoughts. These techniques also promote a better understanding of exactly how students think. Teachers will find practical exercises and routines they can use in many situations to elicit discussion, debate, reflection and creative thought. The authors’ approach also has relevance for educational administrators and for adult educators, who can apply variations of many of the exercises for older learners in the workplace. getAbstract recommends these worthwhile methods to teachers needing proven thought-provoking, class-participation tools.

About the Authors

Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison are teachers and researchers. Their book includes an instructional DVD.



“Making Thinking Visible”

Students can pass tests without understanding the material, but that’s not the objective of education. They can listen carefully without learning, but true learning springs from a deeper level of thinking. The pressures of standardized testing, however, emphasize “teaching for the test” more than “teaching for understanding.”

Teachers should devote class time to considering topics carefully and to discussing ideas. Ask questions that don’t have easy answers. Demonstrate curiosity and interest in your students’ responses and listen carefully to them. Look for and encourage creative, critical, nonlinear thinking. Adjust your use of these tools and techniques to delve into concepts and questions that draw your students’ thoughts into the open and make thinking visible in your classroom.

Use these techniques for “introducing and exploring ideas”:

  • “See-Think-Wonder” – Show your students a piece of art, a video, an image – anything thought provoking – and give them time to consider it. Ask what they see or what they think is happening, for example, in the painting and what else might be going on that they didn’...

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