Garfield Gini-Newman

What type of teaching are you doing?

  • Transmissive Teaching--giving students information directly and often before the point of inquiry (giving students the answers to questions that they haven't asked)
  • Additive Teaching--starting with a task or a question and then dropping in pieces of information that will help the conversation along. You bring the knowledge in during the process rather than front-loading the process with knowledge

Central Question: Should our classrooms be built around hierarchies or networks?
  • Transmissive technology simply delivers content in new technological form.
  • See example below . Are the kids in this video interacting with the curriculum in a rigorous way? Are they constructing knowledge? Are they collaborating and creating? (Advance to 2:00 for the classroom scene)



Nope...technology alone does not necessarily make teaching and learning less transmissive.

John Seely Brown: The Social View of Learning
  • "We participate--therefore we are."
  • understanding is socially constructed
  • Skill bases are changing rapidly
  • Dispositional stance is important
  • We should be cultivating dispositions--you don't teach it--you nurture it
  • "Technology is a curiosity amplifier"

What should we be highlighting in our classrooms? (This list is an amalgamation of the most popular 21st century skills lists out there)
  • critical thinking
  • thinking creatively
  • collaborative thinkers
  • communicators(via multiple mediums)
  • global thinkers
  • self regulated learners
  • digitally literate

Should be done in a context that is characterized as...
  • Inquiry-based
  • a place where rigorous thinking about the curriculum is not simply reactive but also imaginative and productive--and often not solitary, but in conjunction with others




Critical Thinking
  • critical thinking is criteria-based thinking--thinking in the context of pre-established criteria
  • highlight the difference between preferences vs. judgments (just because you like it doesn't mean that it is good)--challenge students to go beyond preferences!
  • concerned with judging or assessing what is reasonable or sensible in a particular situation
  • can be done in endless contexts when there is a problem to solve

Example-- Observe the picture below.
What time of day is it? What time of year?
Based on your observations, what can you infer? What can you therefore conclude?

Engage students in constant cycle of observe, infer, conclude. The possibilities are endless and do not have to involve reading, so they can be used at a very young age.

Rideau Canal, Ontario.jpg


Bloom's Taxonomy should be questioned. Why?
  • justifies lower expectations
  • encourages transmissive teaching
  • not helpful in improving thinking
  • creates false confidence--"because I remember the problem well, I truly understand the material"

Another way forward--Thinking PAST Blooms
  • Any higher order thinking task can be tweaked to bring it within students zone pf proximal development (see picture example above)
  • Make critical thinking a realistic expectation for all students--support with differentiation and scaffolds
    • we don't have to use text--we can use pictures or other media
  • John Hattie's visible learning
  • Balance giving answers and holding them to increase thinking, collaboration, resilience

Observe-Infer-Conclude
This process can be used with any type of material.

EASY ways to encourage Critical Thinking
  • Include one false statement on a ppoint slide or in your notes--Have students pick out the false statement you've just given them
  • Have students decide which information on a slide or in notes is not as important
  • Using these strategies, note taking can becomes interactive
  • How do we problematize the curriculum? Turn our disciplines into problems and questions....

Present a problem or question to your students...then, students have to ask themselves...
  • What background knowledge will I need to engage with the problem? (content knowledge)
  • What criteria will I use to make a judgment about the problem?
  • What critical thinking vocabulary do I need to understand the question? (Infer, analyze, solve, bias, perspective)
  • What thinking strategies will I use?
  • What habits of mind are necessary for success in this task? (Persistence, resilience)

Designing Critical Challenges
  • Critique something using established criteria
  • Judge better, best, or other
  • Rework the piece (ex. What changes would you make to have this fit a different audience?)
  • Decode the puzzle
  • Design to specifications
  • Perform to specifications

Allow kids to choose among the options when possible


The Creative Classroom

Criteria for Creativity
  • Something is produced--doesn't make sense to say that person is creative if they have never "created" anything
  • the creation is novel
  • creation adds value, has significance or solves the problem it was intended to solve

How do we nurture this thinking?
  • Develop an appreciation of the value of creativity through examples of successful creative thinking in all subjects
  • Develop a community of thinkers
    • requires students to make up their own minds
    • expects evidence/reasons to support their decisions
    • encourages consideration of various views or approaches
    • shape the communicative interactions within the class to encourage thinking
      • turn question back on the students or to others in the class
      • encourage students to use each other as resources for information
      • prompt students with clues and thinking processes (give them possible answers, have them choose the better or best)
    • develop the tools students need to participate in a reflective community (ex. thought journal)

Creating engaged learners

  • Students need to experience success about 20% of the time in order to stick with a task
  • Deep Understanding comes from....
    • Inquiry driving the learning in your class
    • Design-down teaching--why are you teaching this lesson? Tell students up front why you are teaching the lesson
    • Fail forward--angry birds--you learn from your failures; it is where we do our learning

Transcendent Question: What is the issue/concept students will take away from the unit that will connect broadly to life beyond the class?
Curriculum Challenge: What is the critical challenge that will drive the learning for this unit? What will be produced to demonstrate achievement? (understanding, thinking, communicating, actions)

Lines of Inquiry:
  • Physical Space: how can this be used most effectively?
  • Assessment: How can assessment be effectively used to nurture intrinsic motivation?
  • Instructional Practices: What instructional practices have the greatest value added potential for student learning?
  • Technology: What are the best uses of technology to create digitally enhanced learning?

Authentic Performance Tasks are an essential component of assessment
  • Stimulating life outside of school and having an audience beyond the teacher or classmates
  • A task that requires students to demonstrates skills in an authentic setting

Thinking Strategies to encourage creative thinking
  • Brainstorming--generating a lot of ideas
  • Cluster the ideas--group them to see connections (concept formation)
  • Brain steering--which of the clusters have the most value, which have the least?
  • Analogy--generate analogies and have students explain
  • Learning is analogies...(have different pictures to generate ideas
  • Synaesthesia--ask out of the box questions?
    • What is learning shaped like?
    • What color is learning?
    • sound, smell, taste?