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«  April 2015  »
Home » 2015 » April » 10 » International Week at NIS Shymkent Physics and Mathematics (by Christine Lytras)
International Week at NIS Shymkent Physics and Mathematics (by Christine Lytras)

     The week entitled, “Unity through Diversity” at our school was filled with activities and events for both students and teachers alike. One of the contributions was the delivery of a professional development presentation on critical thinking skills. More specifically, a PD on Thinking Routines was delivered on their use both in and out of the classroom to develop good reasoning habits which boost lifelong learning.

     Though teachers who attended the “Critical Thinking” PD had backgrounds in diverse subject areas, they each profited as the techniques discussed are useful in many areas of student life. Critical thinking skills are essential on an everyday basis in the approaches we adopt towards decision-making, problem- solving, making mathematical calculations and in the interpretation of historical events. They are essential to the teaching of subject areas such as: Science, Physics, Language Learning and Literature as they teach students to use simple three or four step routines that utilize higher order thinking skills in order to achieve a specific goal.

     “Thinking Routines” are the result of a body of research conducted by the Harvard School of Education based on the precept that an Intellectual Character is defined by the triptych: patterns of thinking, patterns of behavior and patterns of interaction, which can be developed through responsible schooling.  This character type is distinguished by a “kinetic intelligence” that enjoys seeking out knowledge in order to satisfy a deep-seated curiosity.  Educators, therefore, are obligated to provide impetus and opportunities that enable students’ intellectual characters to flourish.

     The teachers who attended the event provided feedback to state that they learned about critical thinking techniques new to them. Further, based on the success of this and other PDs offered during “Unity through Diversity” week, they were repeated for the benefit of teachers at Local School # 89. The school warmly welcomed a representative contingent from NIS Shymkent and received us for an enthusiastic exchange of ideas, proving that teachers are always keen learners.

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