Cognitive Education at Roedean
At Roedean (SA), we believe that the explicit teaching of thinking skills and the infusion of thinking strategies in the classroom is critical in order to equip girls for the 21st century. The Cognitive Education Programme has been implemented as part of the curriculum since April 2011. This programme is based on the premise that intelligence is not fixed and can be improved. The Habits of Mind, as identified by Art Costa and Bena Kallick, form the overarching thinking skills strategy at the school. Other strategies, such as Hyerle’s Thinking Maps and Tony Ryan’s Thinker’s Keys will be introduced in 2013. Thinker’s Keys promote creative thinking while Thinking Maps are graphic organizers that correspond with fundamental thinking processes.
There is a ‘drive team’ of nine teachers from across the school who meet on a monthly basis. The intention of these meetings is to reflect on current practice and to plan a way forward. Whole staff workshops are held in which teachers, in their various subject groupings, develop a unit of work to infuse the Habits of Mind with the subject content to be taught.
In 2012, explicit lessons on Habits of Mind were conducted from Grade 0 to Middle V. In 2013, these lessons will include Thinking Maps and Thinker’s Keys. The Middle Vs, Upper IVs and Lower IVs will also focus on critical thinking skills such as comparing and contrasting, identifying cause and effect, differentiating between fact and opinion, evaluating claims and problem solving strategies.
One of the goals of the Cognitive Education Programme is to gain accreditation as a Thinking School through Thinking Schools South Africa in association with the University of Exeter, UK. Roedean School (SA) is well on its way to fulfilling the necessary criteria.
Roedean School (SA) strives to provide a relevant curriculum to 21st century learners who live in a constantly changing world. With the implementation of thinking skills, both as explicit lessons and infused into subject lessons, Roedean girls should be well equipped to ‘Lead a Life of Significance’.