College Papers

We can agree that thinking is an integral part of learning

We can agree that thinking is an integral part of learning. However, we
must not forget that thinking is invisible. So, what is really meant by the term,
visible thinking? To start with, visible thinking refers to any kind of observable
representation that documents and supports the development of an individual’s
or group’s thoughts, questions, reasons, and reflections: mind maps, charts and
lists, diagrams, worksheets are considered visible thinking if and only if they
Athens Journal of Education May 2018
reveal the students’ unfolding ideas as they think and reflect about a certain
issue or topic (Tishman ; Palmer, 2005). Hattie (2012) differentiated between
two visible aspects of thinking: one aspect refers to making student learning
visible to teachers, and hence, ensuring clear identification of the attributes that
made a visible difference to student learning, while a second aspect refers to
making teaching visible to the student, so that they learn to become their own
teachers, which is the core attribute of life-long learning or self-regulation.
Now, that we are more familiar with the term, “visual thinking” let us
consider another vital question: What tools are used to make thinking visible?
Tishman (2002) provided an example by stating that questions, such as, “What
is going on here?” “What do you see that makes you say so?” do call for visible
thinking. Ritchhard et al. (2011) described, “Open ended questions – as
opposed to closed- ended, single-answer questions – are generally advocated as
means of pushing beyond knowledge and skill and toward understanding” (p.
30). Listening is another tool that is used to make thinking visible. Listening
conveys a sense of respect for and an interest in the learner’s contributions, and
when this is present, students are more willing to share their thinking and put
forth their ideas (Ritchhard et al., 2011). Other tools that can be used to make
student thinking visible are visual thinking routines, which are often used as
documentation (Ritchhard et al., 2011). Such tools are referred to as routines
because they represent a sequence of actions designed to achieve a specific
outcome in an efficient manner (Ritchhart, 2015). Visual thinking routines
were first designed by the Faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: