Thinking Schools

What is a Thinking School?

A Thinking School is unique in their focus to share with your child the tools to become a life-long learner, and to develop the best possible habits for success in life. It is an educational community which involves both students and staff learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively. A Thinking School is more than just a title, to become one the school has to earn the Thinking accreditation from Exeter University.

Maindee Primary School’s Approach to Meta-Cognition

Here at Maindee Primary School, we have a shared approach giving regular and careful thought to everything that takes place. This involves learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively to employ these skills and techniques. Successful outcomes are reflected in pupils across a wide range of abilities demonstrating independent and co-operative learning skills, high levels of achievement, and both enjoyment and satisfaction in learning. 

Staff have been given specialist training and new methods have been introduced into the curriculum for teaching the skills of thinking and associated cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies. These skills and strategies underpin aspects of our curriculum and guide policies and expectations.

Growth Mindset & Learning Habits

Instilling all of our pupils with ‘Growth Mindsets’ became a key priority for the school. Introducing the theories of Dr Carol Dweck to staff and pupils allowed us to embed ideas within our school ethos. Extensive time has been spent on the power of Habit and the strong implications this has on developing pupil behaviours and developing successful dispositions as they journey through the school.

Our Learning Habits are a set of 6 dispositions and behaviours, that help students successfully approach problems and challenges they encounter in the classroom and in everyday life. The aim is to ensure that these dispositions are developed so that when pupils are faced with an answer that they do not immediately know, they display these characteristics in order to manage the situation ‘intelligently’.

Learning Meters

There is a consistent approach to discuss and reinforce our Learning Habits across every classroom in our school. The Learning Meter is used as a tool to motivate pupils and an opportunity for them to self-reflect against our Learning Habits.

Thinking Frames

Thinking Frames are a set of graphic organisers that offer learners a way to improve knowledge recall and explicitly see, develop and reflect on their own cognitive processes. A separate frame exists for eight key thinking processes that are the fundamental scaffolds behind a pupil’s ability to answer questions, solve problems and develop ‘higher order’ thinking. Thinking Frames can be used by all age groups across all areas of learning. 

Thinking Routines

Thinking Routines are a set of questions or a brief sequence of steps used to scaffold and support pupils’ thinking. Researchers designed Thinking Routines to deepen pupils’ thinking and to help make that thinking visible. Thinking Routines help to reveal pupils’ thinking to the teacher and also help pupils themselves to notice and name particular thinking moves, making those moves more available and useful to them in other contexts.