Approaches to Teaching Thinking

Toward a Conceptual Mapping of the Field


The objective of this article is to suggest a conceptual map of the field of teaching thinking in order to help those who want to understand and implement it to know their way around. According to this map, the field of teaching thinking is divided into three approaches—the skills approach, the dispositions approach, and the understanding approach. Each one defines the key terms of the field—thinking, good thinking, and teaching thinking—differently.

After presenting this typology and analyzing its various dimensions, the article tries to cope with two essential questions: Why three approaches, and which approach is most effective? The article concludes that the understanding approach is most effective in the school context and can incorporate the other two approaches.

Published in Educational Leadership, Vol. 58, No. 3, November 2000, pp. 54-57