chapter  7
15 Pages

Thinking skills

The teaching of thinking skills, when done well, helps children to engage in a greater range of thought than they otherwise would. This range reflects divergent thinking, something that has been linked with creativity. An emphasis on thinking skills is often a reaction against transmission teaching, which focuses on the learning of information, often in an uncritical way. We are not arguing that the accumulation of information, some of which requires memorisation, is completely without value. In fact, in order to be creative it is necessary to acquire knowledge and understanding in relation to the field of enquiry. But we are arguing that teaching children to think more clearly, and to have an open mind, is a necessary part of effective teaching and is something that is likely to enhance creativity. Formal recognition of the importance of thinking skills comes from the Five Key Thinking Skills that are included as a guiding principle in the National Curriculum, and should be part of the planning and teaching process.