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INTRODUCTION Business entities and industrialists are complaining about their employees who are not able to contribute ideas to the betterment of their businesses. Recent reports indicated that high percentage of universities students never have the skills to think critically. The wake-up call had probably persuaded Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussin, Malaysia Education Minister to impose some reform and enhancement to the national curriculum early this year. Therefore it is understood that the current National education curriculum contains goals and objectives that include the element of thinking skills. Does this mean that the previous curriculum does not promote thinking? What is thinking curriculum? The following discussion describes thinking curriculum, roles of teachers, rationale for incorporating thinking skills, thinking skills emphasised, and possible teaching-learning approaches based on the article “THE THINKING CURRICULUM” by T.F Fennimore and M.B. Tinzmann related to English Language subject. 2. DEFINITION According to Lauren Resnick (1989), thinking curriculum fulfils a dual agenda by integrating content and process. T.F Fennimore and M.B. Tinzmann (1990) agreed by stating that a thinking curriculum weds process and content, a union that typifies real-world situation; that is, students are taught content through processes, apply across all content and all areas of life and thus are generic; for example: decision making, problem solving, evaluating, and comparing. Students attain knowledge in carrying out tasks involving higher-order thinking. Simultaneously the contents in turns enhance the higher-level processes. This is contrast with traditional curriculum which only expects students to master knowledge that is seen as list of facts. T.F Fennimore and M.B. Tinzman (1990) added that the essence of thinking curriculum: dual agenda embraces four characteristics. There are (1) the scope of thinking curriculum promotes in-depth learning; (2) content and process objectives are situated in real world-tasks; (3) task are sequenced to situate holistic performances in increasingly challenging environments and (4) a thinking curriculum actively connects content and processes to learners’ background. 3. RATIONALE FOR INCORPORATING THINKING SKILLS

“He who learns but does not think is lost”.

Chinese Proverb

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The ability to think is essential if individuals are to live, work and function effectively in the current changing society. Students must make choices, evaluations and judgments every day regarding: (1) information to obtain, use and believe; (2) plans to make, and; (3) actions to take. As adults, they will be living in a complex world where both individual and collective actions will require effective selection, processing, and use of information. The proverb above simply reminds us that we must be a thinker to further discover new knowledge and skills and hence constructs meaning. Not just memorizing facts and figures. Thus thinking curriculum is vital in promoting in-depth learning with holistic performance in facing real-world challenges and tasks in the globalized world. Teaching students thinking processes or skills for them to thin about content means we increase their processing intelligence. The human brain is a computer. For a computer to be effective it needs to be loaded with processing programs in order to make sense of content we put into it. Hence thinking skills are vital so that the students can reach their true intellectual potential. Students will also be more prepared to answer the more than 60%f questions that require critical thinking in public examinations as stated by Tan Sri Dato Wan Zahid bin Mohd Noordin, Ex Chief Director of Education Malaysia in his speech entitled Perjuangan Yang Harus Diteruskan. In addition, incorporating thinking skills also makes classes better. Classes that involve elements of critical thought tend to be generally more interesting and engaging. Consider for example, two possible discussion topics related to a unit on the environment for English language lesson for Form Three.

Topic one asks students to summarize the main issues covered in the class in preparation for a final writing activity. Topic two asks students to outline the draft of a letter to be sent to the city's mayor addressing their concerns about environmental issues in and around the city.

Though the teacher may find both approaches equal in terms of how well they facilitate language use in class, it is clear that the later topic will encourage a greater degree of participation and interest from the students. These promote self-regulation as students gradually build sense of efficacy and confidence in learning. Moreover, using issues that encourage critical thinking helps to give the classroom a more meaningful and cohesive environment. Students acquire knowledge that relate to their experience and communicate with others. They will develop interpersonal skill by involving in discussion with others from different background and therefore build multicultural understanding. Students too will feel that they are working together. Therefore, they will be more likely to attend classes and more involved. These are in line with our National Philosophy of Education that outlines the building of holistic and harmonious individuals in physical, mental, emotional and intellectual.
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4. ROLES OF TEACHERS IN NURTURING THINKING SKILLS Teachers must design teaching and learning activities that will engage, create, provide, promote, assist and encourage thinking. These are essential elements in developing a wholeschool thinking culture. This could be done by using various approaches and teaching aids in teaching and learning activities. Teacher ought to shift approach from a teacher- centred classroom to a student-centred classroom in which students can be involved in activities that promotes higher order thinking skills. In addition by providing experiences in real-life situations or situations that simulate real-life situations increases the probability that thinking skills will be used. Teachers too must provide modelling of the skills, ample opportunities for practice, and feedback on the effectiveness of the student's thinking. Selection of experiences should be based on the developmental levels of the students. There are four significant strategies to cultivate thinking skills: 4.1 Use Multiple Intelligence approach Teaching students how to learn, how to think, and how to be intelligent in many ways as possible is vital as they are more likely to elicit student’s full repertoire of skills. 4.2 Right Questions Teachers need to wording questions in such a way that stimulate students’ thought processes as different types of questions require different levels of thinking. 4.3 Cooperative Learning In cooperative learning, students have more opportunities to talk and share ideas, enjoy more opportunity to see how their peers think and create ideas in a supportive environment. 4.4 Graphic Organizers Graphic organizers or thinking maps such as bubble map helps in promoting thinking skills. Refer to Appendix 1- Graphic Organizers that Support Thinking Skills). However in implementing these strategies it is vital to know the interest of students and learning to really "discuss" the discussion questions. Lesson could be highly successful if it is appropriate to the students' age level, background knowledge, and language proficiency. It is also fundamental that teachers understand and communicate to their students regularly the role of the questions they are being asked to answer.

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5. THINKING SKILLS TO BE EMPHASISED 5.1 Types of Thinking Skills The higher-order thinking involves critical thinking, creative thinking and analytical thinking (refer to Appendix 2- Thinking Skills Model). Teachers should emphasise all the three thinking skills. Critical thinking is often called independent thinking, judgemental thinking or evaluative thinking (Dr John Langhrehr, 2003). Critical skills are skills to analyse and evaluate ideas, data or information for clear understanding. (Pancaminda, Unit Kurikulum, Jabatan Pendidikan Perak). They involve making informed judgements about information- about its accuracy, bias, relevance, reliability, consequence and so on. Critical thinking includes interpreting, evaluating and many others. Creative thinking is defined as skills to digest, imagine and generate own and various ideas (Pancaminda, Unit Kurikulum, Jabatan Pendidikan Perak). They involve escaping usual or dominant patterns that the brain stores for us. Creative thinking comprises hypothesizing, generating, etcetera. Analytical thinking embraces experimenting, deducing and the like. Analytical skills involve skills to analyze, synthesise, evaluate, solve problem, and make decision and conclusion. The focus however may differ according to the student level. In primary school, teachers might accentuate more on creative thinking and moving further to critical thinking. In higher level students, the highlight is more towards analytical apart from critical and creative thinking. The thinking skills however should be introduced gradually from simple to complex. For example, students must be able to know how to compare and contrast before they are taught how to sequence. These thinking skills could be integrated in and throughout all the subjects taught in school. However I choose English Language to demonstrate how teachers could redesign lessons to incorporate them. 5.2 Examples of Thinking Skills to be emphasised Lesson chosen is about transportation for Year Four to be implemented in 1 ! hours. This lesson is for mixed ability students. It could be used as either an introduction or culminating activity for a unit on transportation. Students will find it interesting in exploring new methods of transportation. Critical thinking skills such as generating ideas, comparing and contrasting, evaluating and making conclusion are encouraged. While creative thinking skills like designing and giving reasons are inculcated. For induction set pictures of present and ancient transportation are shown. This is done using MS PowerPoint with sound of the vehicles. Pictures include sampan, submarine, bullock-cart, car, balloon, rocket, and other pictures that capture students will be used. In order to motivate student, they will be asked to discuss transportation and its convenience and
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necessity in history and our lives today. Students will answer: What causes methods of transportation to change with time? Students in a group of three to five of different ability will also generate idea on the problem given: list the many, different, and unusual ways of transporting someone or something from here to there. applied in this activity). They will design a new or futuristic means of transporting someone or something and make a three-dimensional representation of their design. Further homework is given as in writing short paragraph of the design transportation for higher level students. Students from lower level could fill in the blanks in paragraph related to the design. In this lesson, students have to activate prior knowledge of transportation and analyse new and ancient transportation. They have to compare and contrast them. They also involve in free discussion and come out with list of transportations and generate futuristic transportation. In presenting their design, they have to explain and support the choice of design. Teacher facilitates by encouraging students with probing question and creating positive environment to allow students to think independently. Teacher would accept all the possible answers from the students and encourage students to judge others’ opinion. Any design for futuristic transportation should be cherished and rewarded with either praise and encouragement or material if possible. Students would be very happy and feel appreciated. They will enjoy the class and remember better. 6. TEACHING – LEARNING APPROACHES The most apt teaching-learning approaches for incorporating the skills discussed above are: 6.1 Cognitivism Cognitivism emphasizes on the learners and how they organize knowledge. According to Nesamalar, Saratha and Teh. (2002) cognitivists propose teaching learners how to analyse problems and how to think for themselves. They view language learning as an active, mental process in which learners constantly think and make sense of the new information they received. Error is seen as an integral part of learning. Classroom is learner-centred and focuses on discovery learning via deductive and also inductive approach. Students are encouraged to bring mind to relevant prior learning and providing elaboration on information in the class activities. Handouts are also given as the writing exercise to further develop thinking skills. Teacher’s role is to arrange and present new information so that learners can relate it to their own existing mental structure and (The cooperative learning is

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previous knowledge. In language teaching teacher encourages learners to consciously think and talk about the language to increase their competence and performance. 6.2 Constructivism Constructivism believes that learning is the active construction of knowledge and a social activity David Lazear (2004). Knowledge is seen as dynamic. Students are the main focus where their initiative and ideas are appreciated. Students acquire and develop knowledge actively based on prior knowledge and experience. In the process they will adapt and integrate new information that they gained with existing knowledge that they had to develop or construct new knowledge. They are encouraged to take responsibility of their own learning and challenged to make connections, analyse, synthesize, construct, predict, justify and defend their ideas. Moreover they are engaged in dialogue and experience that challenge hypothesis. Teacher’s role is to encourage higher-level thinking and act as facilitator. As the activities involve real life situation and cooperative learning, students are confident to express ideas and present their work which allow for more meaningful learning. With the approach, learning brings advantages that students enjoy, think, understand, and remember more. They are more confident and have more social ability with improvement in interpersonal skill. 6.3 Humanism Humanism stresses on affective and emotional factors and believes that success in learning occurs if learning environment is right, and the learners are interested in, and have a positive attitude towards the new information Nesamalar, Saratha and Teh. (2002). In language learning, students must have favourable attitude towards the language, speakers and also the teachers. Teacher’s role are to develop students’ self concept and self esteem and create a conducive, non-threatening environment where students feel comfortable to experiment the new language Teachers actually act as facilitator who encourages students to participate, generate ideas and discuss with peers in a warm, democratic, positive and non-threatening learning. Teachers also share experience and ideas with students for instance telling the students his/her experiences. By telling students experience in flight for the above example makes the class more interesting for students who never board a flight. Learning also is based on life experiences: Experiential learning, discovery, exploring and experimenting with new ideas. Thus personal involvement, stimulation of feelings and thinking, self-initiation and self-evaluation of students are increased.

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7. CONCLUSION The trend of curriculum in Malaysia was moving towards thinking curriculum for years. Thinking skills have been incorporated in all subjects. It is impossible to teach thinking skills as individual subjects effectively. Nevertheless, there are indeed thinking skills courses offered in universities. Accomplishment of the curriculum depends on the implementation at all levels. Teachers and educators play crucial roles in ensuring that it is fruitful. The usage of teaching aids as Information, Communication and Technology devices helps to promote thinking skills. It is important to instil thinking as culture in students. This will produce more effective thinking than unplanned on skill development or shortterm emphasis. Emphasise should be given to critical, creative and analytical activities in all curriculum areas. Integrating thinking skills in English Language improves students’ literacy and communication skills in the language. The appropriate teaching and learning approaches could be applied as single approach or in combination in integrating thinking skills. Thinking curriculum is essential in realising what is outlined in National Philosophy of Education. It is vital in educating and building new generations who are the future leaders of the country. Malaysia would not be able to do so if the curriculum only focuses on content. Thus, no curriculum can be regarded as acceptable unless it can be shown to make a contribution to the teaching of thinking.

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