Learn to Think curriculum

In researching programmes that are consistent with Let’s Think pedagogy and have a good evidence base, I was lucky enough to come across this gem.
Philip Adey and Weiping Hu (2011) worked together with other Chinese researchers to test the efficacy of a Learn to think programme.

Since then I have been in touch with Weiping Hu who organised how I could buy their grade 1 (UK Year 2) to grade 8 (UK Year 9) “Learn to think” curriculum materials.
I will get them translated from Chinese and trial some lessons with primary teachers in our school. I cannot wait to use them.

The curriculum uses the 5 pillars of Let’s Think pedagogy plus  an element called the Thinking ability structure model (TASM) based on Chongde Lin’s (2003) theory of intelligence

This  is based upon the development of awareness of various factors e.g  self-regulation, purpose, materials, process, non-cognitive factors, and qualities and outcomes of thinking.

The model has three basic characteristics expressed as a 3 dimensional grid.

The X axis is thinking content, Y axis is thinking method, and Z axis is thinking quality. All of these factors depend on each other, facilitate each other, develop together, and form an integrated system.

Their research with Grade 1, 2 and 3 students in an ordinary provincial primary school showed significant gains for all students. These were especially  huge for, long and far transfer in grade 3  children’s assessments of Mathematics and Chinese.  The d numbers in Table 10. ( Cohen’s d is defined as the difference between means of treatment group and control group divided by a standard deviation for the data). Effect sizes of 0.4 upwards are considered educationally interesting according to John Hattie (2008). So the staggering 1.32 and 1.31 for Chinese and 1.29 for Mathematics 3 years later are effect  sizes so much larger than the original far and long transfer reported by Shayer and Adey (1994) in the early CASE trials.

Could it be that grade 3  (in particular)  and grade 5 to 7 are the ideal windows for Let’s Think style interventions to be really effective? Adey , Hu et. al.(2011 p.550) discuss this possibility.

“It took longer for LTT to improve Grade 1 and Grade 2 students’ academic achievement than it did for Grade 3 students (see Tables 8–10, Figure 4–6). The probable reason is that, on the one hand, the 3rd or 4th grade is the critical period of the development of students’ thinking ability, and the development of thinking ability can improve the academic achievement effectively, but there is a delayed effect; on the other hand, the LTT curriculum of Grade 1 and Grade 2 is more related to students’ daily life, whereas the Grade 3 curriculum is more related to subject knowledge. This result also indicates that the training of thinking method must be combined with subject knowledge in order to improve academic achievement more effectively.”

Adey, P., & Shayer, M. (1994). Really raising standards – cognitive intervention and academic achievement. London: Routledge.

Lin, CD, Hu, WP, Adey, P & Shen, JL 2003, ‘The influence of CASE on scientific creativity‘ RESEARCH IN SCIENCE EDUCATION, vol 33, no. 2, pp. 143 – 162., 10.1023/A:1025078600616

Hattie, John A. (2008). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement.

Hu, W., Adey, P., Jia, X., Liu, J., Zhang, L., Li, J., Dong, X., (2011)  Effects of a “Learn to Think” intervention programme on primary school students: Effects of “Learn to Think” intervention programme. British Journal of Educational Psychology 81, 531–557. doi:10.1348/2044-8279.002007

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