Thinking Schools International

Thinking Schools International (TSI) was established in 2010 and was a partnership between Designs for Thinking in the US and Kestrel Education in the UK.

The aim – to facilitate a whole school approach to the development of students’ thinking processes, dispositions, and problem solving for organizations across the globe who are committed to develop “student centered” 21st Century Thinking and Learning.

Background

As of April 2018, TSI is under the leadership of Dr. David Hyerle and the team at Designs for Thinking in the US. Our team has a 30 year history as a group of educational consultants, curriculum writers, authors and researchers that have been implementing Thinking Maps™ and software in learning communities, from pre-kindergarten through high school, including a focus on leadership for developing 21st Century Learning across whole schools.

Today

TSI facilitates and manages training in various countries for different educational organizations from single schools to whole districts, and countries. For example, TSI has worked closely with the Malaysian government to implement the iTHINK program, which includes TSI resources and design across all 10,000 schools.  This includes an online support program for all 10,000 schools, in coordination with 10 model sites for in-depth training and Training of Trainers.

 

The evolution of education over the past 100 years from a static view of intelligence and brain development, rote learning and the focus on the “banking” system of imparting knowledge toward the dynamic facilitation and mediation of thinking across whole schools has been slow.  In the mid-1950s and even earlier, pioneers in the fields of psychology and education offered a vision of schools based on principles of collaborative classrooms and a vision of explicitly developing the minds of every learner.  With the rapid shift in global travel, communication, and new technologies in this new century—and the new brain research showing the dynamic plasticity of human development—the vision of Thinking Schools International matches the needs of our time, and of the future of the children around the world.

Over the past 30 years of accumulated evidence across whole schools, it is clear that there is a range of important elements for framing an effective Thinking School. There is an intentional, explicit, and long-term commitment to a process of teaching FOR, OF, and ABOUT thinking as described by Dr. Art Costa through his vision of “A Schools as a Home for the Mind.”

Thinking Schools International grew out of the lifetime of work by Dr David Hyerle in the field of cognitive education and  by a small group of educational consultants beginning in 2004 and led by Kestrel Consulting in the UK.  Dr. Bob Burden, a long time educator and researcher in the field of thinking development, and Director of the Cognitive Centre at Exeter University, soon became interested in the work.  Kestrel offered schools a range of professional development approaches to the teaching of thinking, while the Cognitive Centre became an institution for assessing and certifying schools as Thinking Schools.  During the same span of time, Dr. David Hyerle from the United States, an international leader in the field of thinking process development through Thinking Maps® and other approaches, formed a non-profit organization Thinking Foundation with a primary focus on how to transform whole school communities toward a focus on cognitive, creative, and critical thinking along with dispositions/Habits of Mind and collaborative/social emotional learning.  In 2010, as the number of schools in the UK in the Thinking Schools network grew into the hundreds and the number of schools accredited by the Cognitive Centre grew to over 40, it became clear to all that the idea of formalizing the facilitation of Thinking Schools internationally was a worthy and viable venture.  Thinking Schools International, LLC was formed in 2011 with support of colleagues in the UK and US.

Network & International Community

The TSI network consists of schools and educational organizations around the world, all of whom are taking a whole-school approach to the teaching of thinking. The network exists as a focus for anyone committed to the development of thinking skills, to share expertise, ideas and experiences and provides the opportunity to come together for conferences and workshops. Committed to 21st Century learning, the TSI approach is global education – suited to any education system in any country anywhere in the world.

TSI facilitates this worldwide network of schools and educational organizations and sends information bulletins and updates periodically. There is no charge to join the network and any educational organization or school, committing to taking a whole-school approach to teaching thinking, is eligible.

Countries with projects using the TSI model

  • Ethiopia
  • Egypt
  • Malaysia
  • Norway and Northern Ireland
  • South Africa
  • Thailand & Asia
  • USA
  • UK

Success Stories

  1. The best way to transform life chances is to actively shape the minds, attitudes and habits of young people through a framework of cognitive education that enables them to become the master of their own destiny. This framework of cognitive education is constructed through the use of the Thinking School approach. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that when children understand how their brains work they achieve better academic and personal outcomes than those who do not.

Cedar Children’s Academyhttps://www.cedarchildrensacademy.org.uk/

 

  1. ‘I was able to ask the members of the pupil drive team to show me some examples of their work.  All I had conversations with were confident with thinking skills and could speak in great depth about their knowledge in different year groups.

All Faiths Children’s Academy 2018  –https://www.allfaithschildrensacademy.org.uk/

  1. ‘All of the children are highly motivated to learn and their behavior is exemplary. They are inquisitive and engage enthusiastically in investigations and problem-solving activities. They assess their own learning maturely and take responsibility for improving the quality of their work.’

Cumran Primary 2017   http://www.cumranprimary.co.uk/welcome/

 

  1. ‘Our distinctive features include a strong inclusive ethos where children are kept at the heart of all we do. Our ‘Thinking School’ status and child centred approach to teaching and learning encourages and supports children to become enthusiastic, positive and resilient learners. We have a clear focus on raising standards in all aspects of the curriculum by inspiring children in their learning whilst also ensuring children develop the personal and social skills they need to be successful in life.’

Hillcross Primary School Level 1 January 2020   https://www.hillcross.merton.sch.uk/

  1. ‘Our distinctive features include a strong inclusive ethos where children are kept at the heart of all we do. Our ‘Thinking School’ status and child centred approach to teaching and learning encourages and supports children to become enthusiastic, positive and resilient learners. We have a clear focus on raising standards in all aspects of the curriculum by inspiring children in their learning whilst also ensuring children develop the personal and social skills they need to be successful in life.’

Hillcross Primary School Level 1 January 2020 https://www.hillcross.merton.sch.uk/