Monday, 14 October 2013

THINKING SKILLS IN CLIL CONTEXTS

We are starting our CLIL seminar in Getxo 2013-2014 with an essential  feature of   education: the development of skills that will enable our students to apply the knowledge they have learnt to solve problems, investigate the world and make judgements. This is just one of the many definitions of "cognitive" or "thinking" skills.  

Unfortunately, I must admit I  agree with John Clegg  that " the truth  is that schools don't often teach these skills explicitly. Instead, teachers hope that their learners will pick them up".  In my view, this is specially true regarding HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills).

Therefore,  my aim is to  help  pave the way for  developing  thinking skills in different subjects by  providing teachers with activities that focus on the thinking skills that should be worked on with students and the language support that is undoubtedly a must when we are implementing a subject through  English or another language which is not the students' mother tongue. For instance, students cannot synthesize a text on deforestation if they lack the  strategies that should be used to summarize a text  as well as the linking devices that connect different ideas and the vocabulary related to the topic ( not the words that appear in the text they have been given but synonyms and expressions that enable them to paraphrase without copying from the original text). 

The session on October 15th will focus on describing what thinking skills are, considering a possible classification of thinking skills and  starting to discuss  some simple activities that teachers often use to develop thinking skills in the classroom. 

Next session will take place on November 19th and we will analyze  some activities that  can be used in different content areas  to facilitate  the acquisition of cognitive skills by students. I will place special emphasis  on the language support that students will need to carry out the proposed tasks. Above all, I will provide teachers attending the session with examples on classifying and synthesizing.


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