Tag Archives: HOTS

Once kids realized that they were full partners in their learning…

I adopted Leonardo da Vinci’s 7 Principles as a guide and was especially attracted to Sfumato, usually translated as “Up in Smoke,” meaning to embrace ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty. Great things are produced and discovered when you open the door to possibilities and leave some things undefined. When I did that, there was difficulty adjusting as kids had been trained to give the right answers. My response was there may be none and that I was more interested in originality, creativity, and being able to explain and defend one’s thinking. En Garde!

However, once kids realized that they were full partners in their learning and that most anything was possible, they brought me to tears with their work.

Anonymous teacher via http://dianeravitch.net/2013/01/02/when-students-love-learning

Higher-order thinking is the exception rather than the norm for most classrooms

McREL has collected data from more than 27,000 classroom observations that offer a dismaying glimpse into the level of instruction that appears to be occurring in the nation’s classrooms. In well over half of these observations, student learning reflected the two lowest levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: remembering (25 percent) and understanding (32 percent). Meanwhile, students were developing the higher-order thinking skills of analysis (9 percent), evaluation (3 percent), and creation (4 percent) in less than one-sixth of the classrooms observed.

Certainly, not all learning can focus on higher-order thinking; teachers must develop students’ ability to recall and understand basic concepts before they can move on to more critical thinking. Nonetheless, the fact that so much of what goes on in classrooms appears to be focused on low-level thinking suggests that high expectations and challenging instruction may be the exception, rather than the norm, for most students.

Bryan Goodwin via http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/111038/chapters/Guaranteeing-Challenging,-Engaging,-and-Intentional-Instruction.aspx

[See also the data at Are 21st century skills a solution to a problem that may not exist?]

Teach students higher order or critical thinking skills? Not if the Texas Republicans have their way.

Republican Party of Texas Logo

The Republican Party of Texas states in its official 2012 political platform:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based  Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

This is astounding since most everyone else in America seems to understand that our educational graduates and our employees need greater, not less, development of critical and higher-order thinking skills in order to be effective citizens, learners, and workers in our hyperconnected, hypercompetitive global information society. This political platform item is an absolutely stunning example of educational and economic cluelessness and is a surefire recipe for complete irrelevance in the 21st century.

In recent years, I don’t believe I’ve heard of any other groups officially opposed to teaching students critical thinking or higher-order thinking. Have you? Other thoughts?

Hat tip: Slate