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4 Easy Ways to Get Learners to Think

Capable pupils can quickly get bored. Teachers need a repertoire of strategies to engage all learners and to ensure that learners’ ‘higher order’ thinking skills are developed. 

Here’s four easy to implement ways to challenge pupils to think…

1. What’s the question?

Don’t start with a question. Instead start by giving them the answer. This could be a number or key vocabulary relating to a particular topic. Pupils have to then ‘think in reverse’ to suggest what question might relate to the answer. 

2. Consider All Factors

This technique involves posing a scenario and inviting children to reason and speculate about a possible outcomes. For example, you could pose a scenario about environmental change and then ask pupils to suggest how it would impact on themselves, their community and the wider world.

3. Transform and Reduce

Particularly useful as a plenary, ‘Transform and Reduce’ requires pupils to summarise key parts of the lesson. You can set the criteria for this summary in all kinds of creative ways. For example, you could ask pupils to summarise the lesson’s key message by writing a sentence limited to a certain number of words. 

Alternatively, you could ask them to summarise the lesson without using certain vocabulary or you could even invite them to do so pictorially. Transform and Reduce is limited only by your creativity! 

4. Diamond Nine

This activity involves prioritisation. Provide children with nine statements all relating to a topic. An example of a topic could be ‘what was the main reason for the start of WWI’. Statements might include things like ‘The assassination  a of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’ or ‘The system of alliances’. The children then have to sort the statements with the most pertinent or important at the top of the diamond and the least important one at the bottom. The remaining cards will be arranged into a central row of three and an upper and lower row of two. It’s of course up to learners to decide where in the diamond that the statements should go. 

Let us know what you think about these activity ideas. 


By | 14 October, 2017 | Blog, CPD, Whole School

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