The Thinking Classroom Part III: Thinking Dispositions

Tishman, Perkins, and Jay (1995) outline 5 dispositions that foster good thinking.

  1. Like our Mount Vernon Norm, “Start with Questions,” they include the disposition to be curious and question. This encourages a spirit of inquiry and wonder, challenging students to pose problems, probe further, and look beyond what is given.
  2. Like our Mount Vernon Norm, “Fail Up!” the second disposition is to think broadly and adventurously. Students should be in environments that encourage exploration, open-mindedness, flexibility, and play.
  3. The third disposition is to reason clearly and carefully. Learners should seek clarity, gain understanding, and be precise.
  4. The fourth disposition is to organize one’s thinking to be orderly and logical, and to think ahead.
  5. The final disposition is to give thinking time. Thinking does not always happen quickly. It takes time and effort to pull thoughts together and to generate original ideas.

If we value thinking, we must provide the time and space for students to engage in all five thinking dispositions. We must teach thinking routines, allow students to try it, to wrestle with it, and to reflect upon it.



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