Key Stage 4 (KS4) is the legal term for the two years of school education which incorporate GCSEs, and other examinations, in maintained schools in England normally known as Year 10 and Year 11, when pupils are aged between 14 and 16.
Thinking Routines are a set of learning routines that focus on developing creative and critical thinking skills and dispositions. They were developed as a part of the Visible Thinking initiative under Harvard Project Zero. Visible Thinking offers a flexible framework to explicitly teach specific thinking skills in the classroom through a set of routines and processes. These routines are typically a short set of questions or steps that can be followed to think through to a goal or idea. They are called ‘thinking routines’ because they are repeatedly and systematically used like any other classroom routine, and eventually become a part of the classroom culture and they way students instinctively think through problems.
Almost all learning can be assessed, but some of the most valuable kinds of learning are difficult to quantify. Standardized tests are just one method of assessing student learning. When coupled with various types of formative, summative, performance-oriented and authentic context review opportunities, assessment can become a powerful tool ‘for learning’ and not merely as a measure ‘of learning’. Comprehensive, authentic assessment can be a learning experience in itself, and records not just what students have learnt, but how they think and problem-solve.
In a world that is rapidly changing and evolving, collaboration has become a critical 21st century skill for career and life success. Workspaces in the future, as well as many current workspaces, require participants to collaborate seamlessly in the physical and virtual worlds with people spread across the world. Skills and mindsets like working respectfully with diverse teams, listening carefully, self advocating politely, flexibility, willingness to compromise, assume shared responsibility and value individual contributions are vital to working well in teams. This type of sophisticated teamwork takes practice and reinforcement over years. Collaboration Routines practiced in the classroom like frequent opportunities for teamwork, stimulating engagement through a provocative text or interesting task, setting common norms for collaboration [eg: one person speaks at a time, listen to each idea, no put-downs etc], activities to practice active listening, asking good questions, negotiating skills [patience, flexibility, thinking under pressure], conflict resolution tactics etc can offer sufficient practice in these skills from an early age, so that they eventually become easy and intuitive.
The ability to reflect upon an experience and process it can help a learner move from one experience to the other with a deeper understanding of its relationships with other experiences and ideas. Reflection has a significant impact upon student learning and academic achievement. To help students practice reflection as a daily habit, various reflection routines are incorporated into class activities and assessment tasks. Oftentimes, reflection is oral as in a class discussion or peer-interaction. Students are also encouraged to reflect in writing through daily journals, blogs, graphic organizers and term-end and unit-end written reflections. Thinking Routines like See-Think-Wonder, I Used to Think…But Now I Think…,Think-Puzzle-Explore and KWL also help reinforce the habit of reflection. The goal is to help students naturally, easily adopt reflection as a personal habit, asking questions of self like: What did I learn? How did I learned it? What helped me in learning? What hindered me in learning? What can I do differently next time? What have I learned about how I learn?