Saturday, January 26, 2008

Think Before You Act - Teaching Thinking Skills In Schools Could Improve Behaviour In the Classroom

The question so often asked by teachers of schoolchildren caught misbehaving - "what were you thinking?" - could become a thing of the past if thinking skills were more widely taught in schools. Psychologists who have studied Edward De Bono's thinking programmes for schools believe they may hold the key to improving behaviour in the classroom in 9 - 16 year olds.Dr Michael Hymans, an Educational Psychologist with the London Borough of Brent presented his research into Edward De Bono's (1986) CoRT Thinking materials and how they can be used to encourage children to think before they act on Thursday 10 January 2008, at the British Psychological Society's Division of Child and Educational Psychology Annual Conference in Bournemouth.CoRT stands for the Cognitive Research Trust, and the programme developed by the famous thinker Edward DeBono, is now widely in use throughout the world. It encourages children to think for themselves by providing a series of exercises which give them freedom to use their creative and lateral thinking, however its application in the context of improving behaviour is less well explored. The research suggests that the high premium placed on children's own ideas helps children to enlarge their view of situations and enables teachers to gain a better understanding of the range and development of creative and lateral thinking within their classes. As children begin to value each other's ideas they gain confidence and are more willing participate.Previous work by Dr Hymans suggests these thinking skills can significantly reduce attention-seeking behaviour amongst children in primary mainstream and special schools. Dr Hymans said; " Helping children to learn how to think and to think before they act promotes a positive pattern of motivation in that there is belief amongst children and young people that effort leads to success and, that they gain satisfaction from personal success at difficult tasks as well as from their own ability to improve and learn."


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