Way Back Wednesday – Model Expert Thinking

Want disciplinary thinking in a nutshell?  This post from May 2013 does just that.  It’s one of my all time faves!

How many times have you stood in front of the class with an interesting situation or dilemma and narrated your thoughts aloud for your students so they can hear how you reason through it?

If we just “tell” students what experts have “figured out”, it doesn’t help the students move in the direction of expert thinking. The first step is to model the type of thinking experts do.

Graduate students from Stanford University tell us that:

“Just telling students the expert knowledge seems like an efficient way to teach, but it is efficient because it is a shortcut. The price of the shortcut is that students do not develop integrated knowledge structures. Telling students is much more effective if they have already engaged in investigating the structure of a phenomenon or idea.”

Therefore, once we model expert thinking, we need to give students the opportunity to practice it themselves.

Here are some sentence stems you could use and for both modeling and for pushing students to try it on a new but related situation or dilemma. 

I am noticing…

This makes me think that…

I need to find out…

One possibility is…

Another possibility might be…

This makes me re-think the idea that… (or this makes me realize I need to revise the idea…)

Let us know what sentence stems you find most helpful in developing disciplined thinking!

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