Leading the development of thinking for understanding within inquiry

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Brewerton, Kyle
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Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Piggot-Irvine, Eileen
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
thinking curriculum
classroom practice
qualitative research
Brewerton, K. (2010). Leading the development of thinking for understanding within inquiry. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1607
The notion of teaching thinking is one that has been discussed extensively in modern education yet it appears teachers, school leaders and policy makers have a limited understanding of what exactly this thinking consists of. The aim of this research was to define a thinking curriculum, check participant understanding of this definition and identify the educational leadership required to develop the alignment of this theory with classroom practice. This research was conducted as a qualitative study utilising questionnaires and group interviews to gain insight into the current beliefs and practices of those involved in the research. This research took place in five primary schools that have a working relationship as a professional development cluster. This cluster of schools had a common goal to develop a thinking curriculum and in turn support teachers to put it into practice. The findings of this research revealed that whilst there was an overwhelming belief by teachers and leaders that thinking should be taught in schools, descriptions of these types of thinking were broad and varied with very little cohesiveness within or across the cluster schools. Although a great deal of professional development had been undertaken in the area of teaching thinking a large number of participants remained unsure how all the pieces fit together or what the overall goals were. Participants in all schools felt however that school leaders had developed a culture of collaboration in a safe and supportive environment, which will be essential in overcoming these findings. These findings suggest that the successful implementation of a thinking curriculum must consider how clarity of understanding can be achieved and how successful practice can be shared amongst teachers. School leaders must also consider how to develop greater input to and ownership of the goals present in the cluster.
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