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GURO21

MODULE 1
Developing Higher Order Thinking
Skills (HOTS) in Teachers

Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization


Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology

Philippine Copyright 2011


Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO)
Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (INNOTECH)
ISBN 978-971-0487-36-3
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of SEAMEO
INNOTECH.
http://www.seameo-innotech.org

Contents
What Is This Module About? ............................................................................... 1
What Will You Learn? ........................................................................................... 2
Flow of Instruction ................................................................................................ 4
What Do You Already Know? ............................................................................. 5
Feedback ................................................................................................................. 9
How Do You Rate Yourself? ................................................................................. 10
Lesson 1: A Thinking Culture Begins with Me

12

What Is This Lesson About? ............................................................................ 12


What Will You Learn? .......................................................................................13
Lets Try This (Activity 1.1) .............................................................................13
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 15
Lets Think About This ..................................................................................... 16
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 17
Lets Read............................................................................................................ 17
Lets Study: The Revised Blooms Taxonomy................................................ 19
Lets Try This (Activity 1.2) .............................................................................21
Lets Think About This ..................................................................................... 22
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 22
Lets Try This (Activity 1.3) ............................................................................. 22
Lets Think About This ..................................................................................... 24
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 26
Lets Think About This: A Thinking Culture ................................................ 27
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 28
Lets Study: The Importance of Higher Order Thinking Skills................... 30
Lets Think About This ..................................................................................... 31
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 32
Lets Read............................................................................................................ 32
Lets Try This (Activity 1.4) ............................................................................. 33
Lets Study........................................................................................................... 34
Lets Try This (Activity 1.5) ............................................................................. 35
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 36
Lets Try This (Activity 1.6) ............................................................................. 36
Lets Study........................................................................................................... 37
Lets Think About This ..................................................................................... 38
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 38
Lets Try This (Activity 1.7) ............................................................................. 38

Feedback ............................................................................................................. 40
Lets Think About This ..................................................................................... 40
Lets Study.......................................................................................................... 42
Lets Try This (Activity 1.8) ............................................................................. 44
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 45
Lets Remember ............................................................................................... 46
How Much Have You Learned From This Lesson? ................................... 47
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 50
Lesson 2: Using Higher Order Thinking Skills in my Life as a Teacher

51


What Is This Lesson About? .......................................................................... 51
What Will You Learn? ..................................................................................... 52
Lets Study.......................................................................................................... 52
Lets Think About This ................................................................................... 53
Lets Study: Critical Thinking - Seeking Clarity and Accuracy ................. 54
Lets Try This (Activity 2.1) .......................................................................... 56
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 57
Lets Try This (Activity 2.2) .......................................................................... 57
Lets Think About This ................................................................................... 59
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 61
Lets Study: Aspects of Critical Thinking ..................................................... 61
Lets Think About This ................................................................................... 66
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 66
Lets Study: Other Critical Thinking Skills ................................................... 67
Lets Try This (Activity 2.3) .......................................................................... 70
Lets Read ......................................................................................................... 71
Lets Try This (Activity 2.4) .......................................................................... 73
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 74
Lets Read ......................................................................................................... 74
Lets Think About This ................................................................................... 75
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 76
Lets Read ......................................................................................................... 76
Lets Try This (Activity 2.5) ........................................................................... 77
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 77
Lets Study: Creative Thinking....................................................................... 78
Lets Try This (Activity 2.6) ........................................................................... 79
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 79
Lets Read ......................................................................................................... 80
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 82
Lets Think About This ................................................................................... 82

Feedback ...........................................................................................................

83

Lets Study: The PMI: A Powerful Thinking Tool........................................

84

Lets Try This (Activity 2.7) ...........................................................................

86

Lets Read...........................................................................................................

87

Lets Study: Self-Regulated Thinking............................................................

88

Lets Try This (Activity 2.8) ...........................................................................

90

Feedback ...........................................................................................................

91

Lets Read...........................................................................................................

91

Lets Study: Reflective Thinking and Asking the Right Questions...........

92

Lets Think About This ...................................................................................

94

Lets Read: Asking the Right Questions.......................................................... 94


Lets Think About This ..................................................................................... 96
Lets Try This (Activity 2.9) ............................................................................. 97
Lets Study: A Powerful Visual Tool to Help You Think ............................ 97
Lets Try This (Activity 2.10) .......................................................................... 101
Feedback ............................................................................................................ 101
Lets Think About This .................................................................................... 103
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 104
Lets Try This (Activity 2.11) .......................................................................... 105
Feedback ............................................................................................................. 106
Lets Study: The Role of Information and Communication

Technology (ICT) in the Development of your Thinking Skills ........ 106

Lets Try This (Activity 2.12) .......................................................................... 107


Feedback ............................................................................................................. 109
Lets Read: How to Sort Out Information from the Internet....................... 110
Lets Think About This .................................................................................... 112
Lets Remember ............................................................................................... 113
How Much Have You Learned From This Lesson? ................................... 114
Feedback ........................................................................................................... 117
Lets Sum Up .......................................................................................................... 118
How Much Have You Learned From This Module? ........................................ 119
Feedback ................................................................................................................. 121
How Do You Rate Yourself Now? ....................................................................... 121
Lets Apply What Youve Learned (Module Assignment) ........................... 122
Key to Correction .................................................................................................. 124
Suggested Readings and Websites .................................................................... 146
Glossary .................................................................................................................. 147
References ............................................................................................................... 149
Annex : Excerpts from The Blind Men and the Elephant:

A Hindu Fable......................................................................................... 151

VI

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

What Is This Module About?


Teaching in the 21st century is definitely an exciting and challenging job.
The 21st century has brought with it many new technologies, challenges
and issues, and no doubt we will see more new ways of thinking and
technologies emerging in the coming years. With all the changes happening
around us, its difficult to predict what life would be like twenty or fifty years
from now. As teachers, you have the critical task of forming your students
so they have the skills they need to become successful and productive
members of society. One of the most important skills you can teach your
students is the ability to think critically and creatively. It is this skill that
will allow them to meet the challenges of both the present and the future.
As teachers, you must develop in yourselves the skills needed to address
the challenges of the 21st century before you can pass these on to your
students. Foremost of these skills are thinking skills to allow one to examine
problems creatively and logically, as well as to generate creative ideas that,
when translated into actions or solutions, will make life better for everyone.
As a teacher, you have the enormous task of preparing your students to take
on the challenges and issues of the 21st century. Before you can help your
students develop thinking skills in themselves, you must make sure that
you yourselves possess these skills. This will be the focus of this module.
This module will provide you with a clear direction on how to improve your
thinking skills, specifically higher order thinking skills (HOTS). You have
been introduced to HOTS as one of the most important of the 21st century
learning skills in the GURO21 Course 1, Facilitating the Development of
21st Century Skills for Southeast Asian Teachers. In this module, you will
learn how changes in the world around you demand new ways of thinking.
You will also have the opportunity to try out different thinking tools that
will allow you to adapt to the changes around you. This will be useful not
only in your life as a teacher, but in your everyday life as well. With these
skills, you will be able to better tackle whatever problems you come faceto-face with. You will also have the confidence to face problems that are
completely new and unique. If you can do this in your own life, then you
can easily nurture the development of these skills in your students. In order
to do this, you will be introduced to thinking tools that will allow you to
approach problems and situations in many different ways. This module
will also guide you in creating your personal plan in further developing
and improving your thinking skills.
Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

By integrating higher thinking skills into your life, you can more adequately
meet the challenges of the 21st century. You can find ways to make life better
in your family, school, and community. You will also be contributing to the
development of society by helping your students make better decisions and
develop new and innovative solutions to the challenges they will encounter
in the future. Finally, by integrating these into your life as a teacher, you
achieve a greater sense of fulfilment due to the fact that you can now tackle
the challenges of teaching in the 21st century in a more systematic manner.
After studying this module, you should be able to apply many of the thinking
tools in your own life as a teacher. This will prepare you well to teach these
skills to your students by making your classroom a thinking classroom
that utilizes higher order thinking skills. You will learn more about how
to integrate higher order thinking skills in the classroom in Module 2.
Remember, you cannot give to your students what you do not have.

What Will You Learn?


At the end of this module, you should be able to assess your own thinking
skills as a teacher and identify your strengths and weaknesses in this area.
You should also be able to determine the steps you should take to enhance
the areas of your thinking that you are strong at and develop those weaker
areas. You should be able to apply specific thinking tools in the generation
of ideas and the approach to solving problems that you may encounter in
your teaching life. After completing this module, you should have created
a personal plan for the development of your thinking skills as part of your
overall commitment to acquiring the skills necessary for you to take on the
challenges of being a twenty-first century teacher.
Specifically, you should be able to do the following after completing this
module:
Explain what a thinking culture is and its importance in your life as
a teacher.
Describe what higher order thinking skills are.
Describe how a thinking culture starts with oneself.
Assess ones higher order thinking skills (HOTS) level.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Discuss ways of applying and integrating HOTS in your everyday


life as a teacher.
Prepare and implement a personal plan for applying HOTS in
everyday life and specifically in your role as a teacher.
This module has two lessons that will guide you in the development of
your higher order thinking skills. The lessons provide the rationale for
developing your thinking skills and equip you with specific tools that will
prepare you to confidently think, analyze, and make decisions as a 21st
century teacher. The lessons are:
Lesson 1: A Thinking Culture Begins with Me
This lesson focuses on the reasons why you, as a teacher, need to develop
and improve your thinking skills. It discusses how the challenges of the
21st century will require you to think critically and creatively. These are
important skills that you would want to instill in your students, but before
you can do that effectively, you need to first integrate and practice them in
your everyday life. The lesson will help you acquire these skills and guide
you in preparing to commit yourself to developing and improving your
thinking skills and practicing them in your daily work as a teacher.
Lesson 2: Using Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) in My Life as a
Teacher
In this lesson you will be introduced to different thinking tools that you
can use to become a more effective teacher. With these tools, you can think
of innovative ways to nurture higher thinking skills in your students. The
lesson will also guide you in the continuing enhancement of your skills in
higher thinking through the use of different resources such as information
and communication technology (ICT) as well as other resources. The lesson
will also guide you in developing a plan to promote higher thinking skills
in your home, school, and community.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Flow of Instruction
Lesson
1. A Thinking Culture
Begins with Me

Focus
Provides the context
for developing
ones thinking skills
required in a rapidly
changing world
Focuses on an
evaluation of ones
own thinking skills in

Topics
Critical skills for the
21st century
The role of
the teacher in
developing critical
skills
Opening up to
different ideas

order to identify aims, Thinking about your


own thinking
goals and objectives
to further develop

development of your

thinking skills

own thinking

2. Using Higher Order Provides thinking


Thinking Skills

tools and methods

in My Life as a

that one can imme-

Teacher

diately put to use in


ones daily life
Focuses on applying thinking techniques that can help
one think through
problems and issues,
analyze and create
different alternatives,
and confidently make
decisions as a teacher

Committing to the

and improve ones

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Critical and creative


thinking
Developing ones
critical and creative
thinking
Thinking tools
that can help one
develop higher
order thinking skills
(HOTS)
Information and
Communications
Technology (ICT)
as a tool to enhance
your thinking skills

What Do You Already Know?


To find out how much you already know about the concepts discussed in
this module, try to answer the questions below. Write your answers in the
space provided after each question.
1. a.

What is a thinking culture?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
b. Why is it necessary to promote a thinking culture in your home,

school, and community?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

2. a.

Briefly describe higher order thinking skills (HOTS).

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
b. What is the importance of HOTS in your daily life and life as a

teacher of the 21st century?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

3. Read the case below and answer the questions that follow. You may
write your answers in the space provided after each question.

Aressi is accompanying some of her students to a workshop with other students.


The workshop focuses on providing school children with opportunities to
examine critical problems in society and think of different solutions to these
problems. The workshop also provides the students with opportunities to work
with other students. During the workshop, Aressi observed both the students
from her school and from the other schools. She was concerned that the students
from her school were generally quiet during the group discussions. She also
noticed that the students from one particular school were always very active in
the discussions and were able to think of many creative ideas. When she later
asked her students how they fared, they told Aressi that they were not able to
contribute much because they were not used to this kind of activity. They said
that when it came to stating facts and knowledge about the subject, they were
able to contribute their input. However, once the focus turned to analyzing
problems and generating solutions, they had a very difficult time.

a. What type of thinking skills were manifested by Aressis


students? Explain your answer.

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

b. If you were Aressi, how would you go about developing both your

thinking skills and the thinking skills of your students?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

4. Read the case below and answer the questions that follow. You may
write your answers in the space provided after each question.
Deepa is planning to use higher thinking skills in developing her students
mastery of content in social studies. She has read several textbooks on a
particular topic, but when she starts organizing her lesson plan, she tends
towards organizing the lesson in the traditional lecture format. She is
trying to depart from this linear and passive method of learning and wants
to develop a lesson that integrates higher thinking skills so she can get the
students minds working.

a. What are the things Deepa can do to create a different approach in


teaching the lesson and become more creative with her instructional

strategy?
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

b. Deepas school has just acquired a computer and internet access.


She has been reading about how one can improve ones thinking

and make better decisions in her work as a teacher. List down

specific ways she can effectively use the computer to develop her

thinking skills and teach her subject in new ways.

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

5. Read the situation below and answer the questions that follow based
on your own experience. Your answers should reflect your own selfassessment with regard to your critical and creative thinking skills.
Famy is assigned the task of helping teachers integrate Higher Order
Thinking Skills into the way they teach. She is working with a group
of teachers who are having difficulty accepting the need to change their
teaching styles. They tell Famy that they feel they dont have the required
knowledge and skills to change their instructional strategy. They also
express their frustration about not knowing where to start in developing
these skills.
Famy needs to encourage the teachers to develop their thinking skills. She
wants to tell them of her own experience and explain the benefits they can
gain from integrating higher order thinking skills both in their lives and
in their work as teachers. She also wants to help them take a look at their
strengths and weaknesses in terms of thinking skills, so they can identify
the areas for improvement. By answering the questions below, you can
help Famy prepare a convincing discussion for the teachers by talking about
your own experience regarding your thinking skills. Write your answers in
the space provided after each question.
a. How can developing your higher order thinking skills help you

become a better teacher?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

b. What specific skills do you possess as a teacher that are related to


thinking and a thinking culture?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

c.

What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses in the

development and use of higher thinking skills in your life as a

teacher?
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
6. Identify at least three (3) thinking tools that can help you improve your
thinking and decision making in your daily life as a teacher. How would
you use these three (3) thinking tools in your everyday life?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Feedback
Check if your answers are correct by comparing them with those in the
Key to Correction on pages 124-128. The answers in essay form may not be
exactly the same as those in the Key to Correction. As long as the thoughts
expressed are similar, give yourself a check mark for the appropriate item.
If you got all the answers correct, that means you are already very familiar
with the concepts discussed in this module. However, you may still study
the module to gain new insights, and review what you already know. If
you missed some of the items, study this module carefully to gain the
knowledge and skills you need to develop your own thinking skills.
Before you proceed to Lesson 1, evaluate your current level of competency
in developing higher order thinking skills as a teacher by accomplishing
the self-rating competency checklist on the next page.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

How Do You Rate Yourself?


SELF-RATING COMPETENCY CHECKLIST
Directions: The checklist below contains a list of competencies covered in
this module. For each competency, there are four possible levels of mastery
(Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner, Expert). You will use this matrix to rate
your level of mastery of each competency prior to studying the module
(PRE), and after you complete the module (POST). For each competency,
place a check mark (p) under the appropriate PRE column which best
describes your level of mastery prior to studying the lessons of the module.
You will place a check mark (p) under the appropriate POST column
when you have completed the module. Comparing your two self-ratings
on the PRE and POST columns will tell you whether you have improved
your competency level or not.
I cannot I am learning I can do this

I can do

do this

how to do

but I need to

this very

yet

this

learn more

well

COMPETENCY

and improve
(Novice)

(Apprentice)

Pre Post

Pre

1. Explain what a
thinking culture
is and its importance in my
life as a teacher.

2. Describe how,
as a teacher, I
can promote a
thinking culture
by focusing on
first developing
on myself.

3. Describe what
higher order
thinking skills
(HOTS) are.

10

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Post

(Practitioner)
Pre

Post

(Expert)
Pre Post

I cannot I am learning I can do this

I can do

do this

how to do

but I need to

this very

yet

this

learn more

well

COMPETENCY

and improve
(Novice)

(Apprentice)

Pre Post

Pre

Post

(Practitioner)
Pre

Post

(Expert)
Pre Post

4. Assess my
strengths and
weaknesses in
using higher
order thinking
skills in my
teaching.

5. Apply critical,
creative
and logical
reasoning
to problem
solving
situations and
in addressing
the different
challenges in
my life as a
teacher.
6. Prepare and
implement a
personal plan
for applying
HOTS in my
everyday life as
a teacher.
How did you rate yourself for each of the competencies? Which competencies
do you need to develop further? Keep them in mind as you study this module.
Are you ready to begin learning about thinking and developing your own
higher order thinking skills as a teacher? If so, then you can turn to the next
page and start Lesson 1, A Thinking Culture Begins with Me. Lets begin!

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

11

LESSON

A Thinking Culture
Begins With Me
What Is This Lesson About?
As teachers, you have the most important mission of preparing your
students to adapt to and thrive in a world that is constantly changing. The
first challenge you face is to understand what the future has in store for you
and to prepare yourself individually to face present and future challenges
by improving your own thinking skills as a teacher. The next challenge is
to develop these same thinking skills in your students so that, when they
leave school, they can generate creative ideas and solve existing problems
and those that may arise in the future. However, before you can develop
these skills in your students, you need to develop them in yourself first.
This lesson focuses on the importance of developing your own thinking
skills and integrating these thinking skills into your own life as a teacher.
You will learn how changes around the world has brought with it a need to
become more adept at thinking and problem solving, and why developing
these skills is essential for the 21st century teacher. You will also have the
opportunity to assess your own higher order thinking skills to determine
which areas you are weak or strong in and make a commitment to
improving these skills.

12

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

What Will You Learn?


At the end of the lesson, you should be able to:
Explain what a thinking culture is.
Describe what higher order thinking skills (HOTS) are.
Explain the importance of developing your thinking skills as a
teacher.
Describe how HOTS can help you become a better teacher.
Assess your level of thinking and create a plan to develop your
thinking skills.

Lets Try This (Activity 1.1)


For this activity, you will need a pen and paper. Find a quiet spot where you
can think or discuss with a colleague without distractions or interruptions
for about half an hour. Read the critical incident below, discuss this with
your colleague, and gather as many insights as you can.

Critical Incident
A former student who is now studying at a university has come back to the
school for a visit. You take a long walk with her around the school grounds
and you talk about what life is like in the university. Your former student,
who was once one of the top performers in her class, tells you that although
she was consistently in the top of her batch, when she got to the university,
she learned that she was lacking in certain critical skills that were required at
the university level. She explains that she was having a difficult time in some
of her university classes because her teachers demanded solutions to problems
that were new and innovative. She added that many times, her instructors
would challenge her answers, and tell her that she needed to try harder and
think more creatively. She says that she misses her former school, because
life was simpler - all she had to do was study her lessons and make sure she
memorized the important facts, and as long as she took down notes diligently
and followed the explanations of the teacher, she would do well in class.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

13

The situation that your student is facing worries you. This is not the first
time you heard a similar story. Other students who have visited you have also
told you that they are having difficulty with many of their subjects. They,
too, were used to studying their textbooks and their notes, and then doing
well in their exams by remembering the facts in the material. They would
listen to their teachers discuss the subject, and they would take down notes,
which would be the basis of the quizzes and tests. In the university, the style of
teaching was much different. Professors did not like it when students merely
memorized answers. They wanted the students to create their own opinions
and conclusions about the subject matter.
Below are some guide points that you may use when you discuss with your
co-learners.
1. Compare and contrast the way students in the critical incident are
learning in the university and their experiences with learning as a
former student or pupil of the school.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. If you were the teacher in the passage above, how would you address
the situation?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
Discuss the critical incident and your responses to the questions with
your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor. You may also compare your
answers with my ideas on the next page.

14

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Feedback
How did your discussion with your colleagues and Flexible Learning Tutor go? Perhaps some of you also have experiences similar to the situation
presented in Activity 1.1. Below are my ideas in response to the guide
questions. Your answers may not be exactly the same as mine, but if the
thought is similar, consider your answers correct.
You may have noted in the critical incident that students in the university
learn differently compared with how they learn when they were in elementary or secondary school. In the university, the students have moved away
from memorization to the use of critical and creative thinking skills in the
classroom. In their former school, the method leans more towards lecturing and memorization, with very little time devoted to analysis and exploration of the topics. Most likely, the tests given are also based on memorization and may be predominantly objective in nature. In the university,
the learning structure is very different. Students are faced with problems
in which there is no clear solution. They need to be critical of many ideas
they encounter and think creatively to solve problems.
If you were the teacher in the situation, how would you have addressed
the situation? Perhaps you would first ask your student to describe the
instructional strategies they encountered in the university and where they
had difficulty. With this information, you could approach your school
head or colleagues to make them aware of the problem. After you have
gathered your data on the areas for improvement within the school, you
would probably need to do a self-assessment of your own approaches to
instruction. This will help you realize your own strengths and weaknesses
when it comes to higher order thinking skills. With this understanding
of your capabilities, you can look for ways to develop your own thinking
through discussions with peers and through research. You can then translate what you have learned into your instructional strategies.
As you continue your discussions, read the succeeding questions in the
next section. Use your discussion to guide you in answering the questions.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

15

Lets Think About This


Think about the changes that have occurred in the field of education over
the past ten years and then try to answer the questions below:
1. How were you taught when you were young, and how are you expected
to teach your students today?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

2. Have you seen any major changes in teaching methods over the years?
As mentioned in the earlier passage, many traditional teaching methods
rely on students memorizing facts and figures for an objective-type
assessment or repeating what the teacher recites in class. What are the
possible limitations that you see with this method?

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
3. What changes do you think you can make as a teacher and mentor so
that your students can think more critically, be more innovative, and
cope more effectively with any challenges they will face in the future?

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

16

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Feedback
How did you reflect on the questions and come up with your answers? It
is hoped that you came up with a clear idea on how teaching has evolved
and may evolve in the coming years. Most importantly, try to determine
how these changes impact on you as a teacher what new methods do you
need to learn, and what skills and ways of thinking do you need to acquire
to keep up with the changing landscape of education.
Now lets compare your answers with those of Adnan and Hadzrami, two
teachers from Malaysia, who also answered the questions for reflection.

Lets Read
Adnan and Hadzrami, two teachers from Malaysia, answered the questions
above in the following manner:
1. How were you taught when you were young, and how are you expected
to teach your students today?

When we were young we would just need to memorize the lessons, take down
notes from what the teacher says, memorize facts and study our notes from
class. We could expect to get good marks if we memorized the right facts
and could recite our notes verbatim. Usually, the teacher would discuss the
subject matter, and the students would just copy what she or he said or wrote
on the board. Come exam time, the students could be assured of a high grade if
they just review the notes from the teachers discussion. Today, we still teach
many classes in that manner, although recently our school head had a talk
with the faculty about introducing new ways of teaching. She had been to a
workshop on curricular reforms and has spoken to us about the critical skills
that students will need when they leave school. These skills cannot be taught
to the students through the traditional methods that we are familiar with, so
we expect that we will need to develop a different approach to teaching.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

17

2. Have you seen any major changes in teaching methods over the years?
As mentioned in the earlier passage, many traditional teaching methods
rely on students memorizing facts and figures for an objective-type
assessment or repeating what the teacher recites in class. What are the
possible limitations that you see with this method?
While many teachers today still make their students memorize the lessons, we
have noticed that there has been more emphasis in recent years on allowing the
students to do more creative and critical thinking in the classroom. We have
heard of and have experienced many initiatives in curricular reform, and that
means we need to begin opening our minds to new teaching methods.
In the situation, the student was not prepared for life in the bigger world,
which demanded that one think in a creative, logical, and critical manner. This
is a clear indicator that she did not get many opportunities to develop her
critical, logical, and creative thinking before she entered the university. I can
help develop these same skills in my students, but I need to first make sure that
I have those same thinking skills as a teacher.
3. What changes do you think can you make as a teacher and mentor so
that so that your students can think more critically, be more innovative,
and cope more effectively with any challenges they will face in the
future?

As a teacher, I can take charge of my own learning and thinking. In order to


become a good mentor to my students, I need to develop my thinking skills by
starting with a thorough and honest self-assessment. The critical incident
mentioned in the previous section shows how we can turn challenges into
opportunities. I can talk to peers or former students who are now studying
in the university to understand better how learning takes place in higher
institutions, and how we can best prepare our students to succeed when they
move on to higher education. I can invite people I know to give talks to me and
my fellow teachers about the thinking skills needed to succeed in todays world.

With this information, I can then assess my own thinking skills and determine
which areas I need to improve. There are many tools that I can use to develop
my thinking, such as taking a new approach to problem solving by looking
at issues and problems in my community and looking for the root causes of
these problems in an objective manner. I can also try out different instruction
techniques and evaluate which ones are most effective for a particular subject
matter. By taking the initiative to learn more about higher order thinking

18

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

skills, as well as assessing and developing my own thinking skills, I can help
my students improve their own thinking skills and give them the skills they
need to take on more complex challenges in their lives, whether it is schoolrelated or personal.
If your answers are similar to the ideas presented by Adnan and Hadzrami,
thats very good. It means that you understand that, as a teacher, you need
to take an objective look at how your school prepares its students. You
need to take an active role in determining if the training that the students
get is preparing them properly for more challenging learning at higher levels of education, or giving them the skills they need to make critical life
decisions.
In the next section, well take a look at the revised Blooms Taxonomy,
which is one of the fundamental building blocks in the development of
thinking skills in the classroom. As a teacher, you are probably very familiar with Blooms Taxonomy. It is a classic model that was developed by
Benjamin Bloom several decades ago. Recently, the taxonomy was revised
to reflect the changing perceptions of learning. Lets take a closer look at
this new model for learning and thinking.

Lets Study
The Revised Blooms Taxonomy
Life in the 21st century will bring with it new challenges. As an educator, you
will need to respond to these challenges in new and innovative ways. Traditional methods of teaching were often reliant on memorization and repetition. In recent years, there has been a departure from this method of teaching.
These days, many teachers are modifying their teaching methods to introduce what are known as higher order thinking skills. The term is related to
Blooms Taxonomy of Educational Objectives developed by Benjamin Bloom
in 1956. Blooms work was further refined by his colleague, David Krathwohl, and his student, Lorin Anderson. Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) describe the hierarchy of the levels of thinking in the following manner:
1. Remembering: This involves remembering or recalling information or
facts. You can remember or recall information or facts without necessarily comprehending the information that you are recalling. An example of this would be if you are asked to recall the formula for the theory

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

19

of relativity (E= mc2), and you correctly recall the formula even if you
cannot explain the theory of relativity, or understand how the formula
is used. The knowledge level involves the use of the following words
or phrases: how many, when, where, list, define, tell, describe, identify, etc.,
to draw out factual answers, and to test recall and recognition.
2. Understanding: This involves the ability to understand or grasp the
meaning of the information that you are receiving. An example would
be when you understand an article that you are reading, or when you
can follow the speaker in a workshop on emerging educational trends.
The comprehension level uses the following words and phrases: describe, explain, estimate, predict, identify, differentiate, etc., to encourage
translation, interpretation, and extrapolation.
3. Applying: This involves applying previously learned information (or
knowledge) to a given situation, whether it is familiar or unfamiliar.
An example of this would be using a previously learned formula to find
the optimal size of a series of pulleys required to lift a heavy load. The
application level uses the following words and phrases: demonstrate,
apply, illustrate, show, solve, examine, classify, experiment, etc., This is to
encourage the application of the knowledge to a given situation.
4. Analyzing: This involves breaking down information into different
parts, examining or finding out how the information is organized and
how each part relates to the others. An example of this would be when
you review exam scores on a test and relate them to the difficulty of the
test, or to create profiles of the test takers and identify possible drivers
for student performance. The analysis level uses the following words
and phrases: what are the differences, analyze, explain, compare, separate,
classify, arrange, etc., to encourage the breaking down of information into
parts for organization and to find relationships between each part.
5. Evaluating: Evaluation involves coming up with judgments based on
certain criteria and standards through checks and critiques. An example of this would be when you grade a students essay and give it
an overall score based on a set of criteria that must be satisfied by the
student in writing the essay. The evaluation level uses the following
words and phrases: check, hypothesize, critique, experiment, judge to make
a conclusion based on adherence or non-adherence to certain criteria.

20

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

6. Creating: involves applying prior knowledge and skills, evaluation of


knowledge and information, and combining elements into a new pattern. An example for this is using your knowledge of student capabilities, school resources and teaching methodologies to come up with a new
way to teach your class about the solar system. Creating uses the following words/phrases: combine, rearrange, substitute, create, design, invent,
what if, etc., to encourage the combination of elements into a new pattern.

Lets Try This (Activity 1.2)


After studying the Revised Blooms Taxonomy, can you think of other
words or phrases to illustrate each of the different levels of thinking described in the previous section? Write your response by filling in the table
below.
Level of
Thinking

Words/Phrases Used to Illustrate Level of Thinking


Some Given Examples
Other Examples

Remembering

when, where, list, define

Understanding

describe, explain, estimate, predict

Applying

demonstrate, apply, illustrate,


examine, classify

Analyzing

tell the differences, analyze,


explain, compare

Evaluating

check, hypothesize, critique, experiment

Creating

combine, substitute, create,


design, invent

Discuss your output with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.
Are there words or phrases that are in your list but not in theirs? What
words or phrases do you have in common? Write your response in the
space below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

21

You will learn more about the different levels of thinking and the words or
phrases associated with them in Module 2, Developing Higher Order Thinking
Skills (HOTS) in Students, of this GURO 21 Course.

Lets Think About This


Higher order thinking skills (HOTS) refer to the last three levels of thinking
skills in the Revised Blooms Taxonomy. Looking at the six skills presented
on pages 19-21, which three are HOTS? Write your answers in the space
provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________

Feedback
If you answered that analyzing, evaluating and creating are HOTS, you
are correct! These HOTS are critical in the 21st century. As a teacher, you
not only have to know about HOTS, you need to practice them. Most
importantly, you need to nurture them in your students. By integrating
higher thinking skills into your life as a teacher, you can become a better
facilitator of learning. You will be able to discern and evaluate different
kinds of information and teaching methods, and you will be able to create
new ways of teaching that will spark the interest of your students. By
focusing on your higher order thinking skills, you need not fear the changes
the future brings, but face them with confidence and excitement!

Lets Try This (Activity 1.3)


Review your activities as a teacher over the past two weeks. Do your best
to remember the kind of thinking that you did in the course of your duties
as school faculty and other different situations in which you did it. Try to
think of one or two clear instances for each of the levels of thinking suggested by Bloom (1956) and Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) as described
in the previous section, that you were able to apply. Fill in the table on the
next page with your answers.

22

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Level of Thinking

Situation/Example

Remembering

Understanding

Applying

Analyzing

Evaluating

Creating

After filling in this table, you probably realized that at one point or another,
you have used all the levels of thinking in your daily life and in your duties
as a teacher! Thats very good! This means that you already have a good
idea of what higher order thinking skills are and how these thinking skills
are used in your daily lives. Even if you didnt know the exact terminology, you were already practicing these skills.
What do you think is the reason for the emphasis on higher order thinking
skills? Many teachers might say that in the past, students have gotten along
fine through memorization and recitation of lessons. What has changed in
the world that has made educators realize that higher order thinking skills
are a necessary and critical skill for both teachers and students? In the next
section, youll find reasons why higher order thinking skills are important.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

23

Lets Think About This


For this activity, you will need a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil.
Read the quote below from Charles Darwin, English naturalist, and think
about how it relates to your experience as a teacher. Also think about what
this quote means in the context of your efforts to teach your students the
skills that they need to be successful when they leave school.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It
is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
- Charles Darwin
Give yourself a few minutes to think about the quote, and then write your
ideas on a sheet of paper. When you are done writing down your thoughts
you can continue reading.
What insights did you gain from your contemplation of the quote? Were
you able to relate the quote to your experience as a teacher? How does the
quote relate to your students, and the skills they need to adapt and succeed
in rapidly changing times?
The passage below was written by Lita, a teacher from the Philippines.
These are the insights that she gained after thinking about the quote above:
The quote by Charles Darwin certainly made me think. As a teacher, I am used
to thinking that my intelligent students will be the most successful. Those that
can follow my instructions, recite the lessons, and answer right away when
I quiz them are the students who I feel will be successful outside of school.
However, this passage made me think that there are other important qualities
that a student should have besides intelligence.
I have seen what happens when even the most intelligent teachers cannot
adjust and accept new ideas about teaching. Teaching methods have changed
and they can not accept these new methods. As a result, their performance
was affected when they were evaluated. In contrast, the teachers who were able
to find new and creative ways to teach their students eventually moved on to
become master teachers. Teresa, one of my teaching colleagues, was even sent
to a seminar that focused on introducing Higher Order Thinking Skills in the

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

classroom. Teresa was very receptive to new teaching methods, and the school
head saw this in her. Teresa was eventually asked to echo the training in her
school and she became a teacher-mentor to other teachers.
When I think about Darwins quote in relation to my own students, I wonder
whether we are equipping them with the right skills and knowledge to succeed
in a rapidly changing world. The other day, I had a chance to access the internet
on a colleagues computer. I was surprised at the amount of information that is
available by just clicking on the mouse. I was also very overwhelmed with all
that information. How do I sort through it and determine what is useful to me
and my students? How will my students be able to determine the correctness
of the information, analyze it and use it to make good decisions?
The world around us is changing very fast and our students must be able to
keep up in this rapidly changing environment. They need to have skills that
will allow them to think and learn independently. They also need to think
critically, and develop new and innovative solutions to problems. As a teacher,
I should be able to help them acquire those skills.
Did you gain any insights from Litas answer? You may have had similar
insights when you were thinking about the quote in relation to your life as
a teacher. Answer the questions below:
1. What does being adaptable mean?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. How does the quote relate to the idea that we promote a culture where
you use higher thinking skills to adapt to different challenges and
situations and solve problems?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

25

Feedback
You may compare your answers with mine below.
If you take Darwins quote in the context of teaching and learning, the term
adaptability means that one needs to learn how to modify ones thinking
and behavior in response to changing times. To do this, you need to be
able to analyze information, evaluate different courses of action, and create solutions. Often, there are no set rules or steps to follow for adapting
to a new environment. This is where higher order thinking skills can be a
tremendous help. If you can analyze and evaluate information and courses
of action, you can determine how best to approach new experience. If you
can analyze and evaluate, you can create solutions or new ways of doing
things.
If you examine Litas thoughts on Darwins quote, you will see that she feels
the need to instill in students the habit of thinking critically and creatively
to evaluate information and make appropriate decisions. This is referred to
as a thinking culture. In a thinking culture, individuals consciously use
critical and creative thinking to evaluate information, analyze problems,
and develop innovative ways to address challenges in everyday life. A culture of thinking is one wherein individuals can examine their own thinking, explore different ways of thinking, evaluate and examine concepts,
and look for new and innovative ways of doing things. As a teacher, you
are in a fantastic position to promote a thinking culture among your students by providing them with activities that will help develop their higher
order thinking skills, providing them with many opportunities to practice
these skills, and encouraging them to use these skills in their everyday life.
The best way you can do this is by being an example to them and promoting a thinking culture in your own home, school and community.

26

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Lets Think About This


A Thinking Culture
Have you ever encountered the phrase thinking culture? What comes
to your mind when you hear these words? At Harvard University, there
is an initiative called Project Zero which focuses on thinking culture and
the many aspects of thinking and learning. The program promotes a thinking culture and visible thinking, both of which are focused on developing
higher thinking skills in students. Project Zero defines a thinking culture
as the development of different thinking dispositions when it occurs in a
cultural context. Thinking dispositions include striving for understanding, determining the complex issues of fairness, seeking the truth or looking for creative solutions to problems. By integrating these dispositions
into the culture, we create thinking habits that become second-nature to us.
Whenever we encounter an issue or a problem, we immediately look to the
thinking habits that have been ingrained in us. (Harvard Graduate School
of Education Project Zero, 2010).
Think about the definition of a thinking culture given above. Take some
time to really consider how important the role of culture is in the development of thinking habits. The guide questions below can help you focus
your thinking:
How does culture influence how we react to different situations in
our lives? How does it influence our way of thinking and acting?
Could you think of instances where cultural norms influenced the
way you dealt with a particular situation in your life?
How can culture play a role in promoting critical and creative
thinking?
What is the culture like in your school or classroom? Are critical
and creative thinking habits a strong part of this culture?
Take some time to think through these guide questions and reflect on the
definition of a thinking culture presented by Harvards Project Zero program. Based on your own considerations on the guide questions above,
answer the following questions.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

27

1.
How would you describe a thinking culture in the school and
the classroom?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

2. As a teacher, what can you do to help develop and strengthen a


thinking culture in your classroom?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

Feedback
In the previous section, you learned that the development of thinking dispositions or habits happens in a cultural context. If you take the example
of a school, it means that students learn to develop their thinking skills by
actively practicing these habits of mind in an environment that encourages it and allows them to see these habits of mind in action. They also
develop their thinking skills by seeing their teachers and peers practicing
critical and creative thinking in the classroom environment. Specifically,
a thinking culture in schools is defined by the Project Zero program in the
following manner:
Within a culture of thinking, students experience school as a place where
thinking is valued and given time, rich opportunities for thinking abound in
their day-to-day classroom experience, models of thinking are present in the
form of seeing teachers and peers as fellow thinkers, and the environment is
full with the documentation of thinking. Such environments not only provide for the practice of students thinking skills but also help them to foster an
inclination toward thinking and to develop a greater awareness of thinking
occasions.

28

(Harvard Graduate School of Education Project Zero, 2010)

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

From this definition, you can see just how crucial your role is as a teacher.
In order to develop higher order thinking skills, students need guidance
and the opportunity to practice the habit of thinking. They also need someone who will show them how these habits are put into practice. By practicing higher order thinking skills together with your students, you can can
serve as a model for these thinking habits, and your students will also learn
from watching, observing and thinking with you.
The curriculum and content that we follow in class may be relatively constant, but the context in which it is used is constantly changing. Students
may be taught the water cycle year after year, but the basic understanding of the water cycle in the context of todays issues and problems are
much different from what they were ten years ago. A decade ago, if you
discussed the water cycle, you might have related it to the problem of air
pollution and acid rain. Today, you might relate a discussion of the water
cycle to the present environmental issues facing the Earth as a whole climate change due to unchecked pollution and flooding due to rapid deforestation.
As a teacher, you can make sure that what you teach remains relevant to
the learner. You can also make sure that your students can take what they
learned and search for relevant, creative solutions to new problems.
If your thoughts were similar to the ones written above, thats very good! It
means that you can clearly understand what a thinking culture is, and how
important your role is as a teacher in helping to develop a thinking culture
among your students.
In the next section, you will learn about a specific program that has been
implemented in one country in Southeast Asia which focuses on developing a thinking and learning culture in its schools. You will examine a
framework that can serve as a useful guide for developing and implementing programs and plans focused on developing thinking skills in schools.
You will examine more closely why it is important for you to integrate
Higher Order Thinking Skills in your daily life as a teacher, and why you
must teach these skills to your students.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

29

Lets Study
The Importance of Higher Order Thinking Skills
In the first part of this lesson, we discussed the concept of Higher Order
Thinking Skills. You read a passage about a student who was having difficulty coping with life in the university. You could say that this student had
trouble adapting to a new and changing environment. You also learned
about what a thinking culture is. Now lets look more closely at the important role critical, creative and logical thinking skills play in a thinking
culture, and how these skills can help us adapt to a world that is rapidly
changing. In Singapore, there is a determined move to develop a thinking
culture in schools, homes and workplaces. Singapores unique position in
the region brings with it many new and unique challenges, and solving
these challenges requires the ability to learn new things and process what
has been learned creatively and critically. Developing this thinking culture will allow Singapore to address problems and issues in a constantly
changing world. Chang (2001) describes a program in Singapore called the
Thinking Schools, Learning Nation program. The programs goal is to
transform schools into centers of development of creativity and the ability
to think critically and independently in teachers as well as students. The
rationale for this program is rooted in the idea that tomorrows workplace
will demand specific competencies that will help an individual adapt to a
rapidly changing environment. These competencies are centered on ways
of thinking and are listed in the table below.

Critical Thinking Competencies


Critical Thinking
Being accurate and
seeking accuracy
Being clear and
seeking clarity
Being open-minded

Creative Thinking Self-Regulated Thinking


Persevering
Being aware of your
thinking
Pushing the
limits of your
knowledge
Generating
new ways
of viewing a
situation outside
the boundaries
of standard
conventions

Evaluating the
effectiveness of your
actions
Being sensitive to
feedback

Source: Chua and Leong (1998) Direct Thinking of Teaching

30

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

As you can see, many of these skills are related to thinking. These are all
critical skills that form the foundation of a thinking culture. Whats interesting is that these are skills that can be developed. Many authors on the
subject of thinking put forth the argument that you can learn to think more
critically, logically and creatively by applying the right tools, and through
practice. Lesson 2 of this module will discuss them in more depth.

Lets Think About This


As a teacher in the 21st century, you must realize the importance of preparing yourself for the challenges of developing in your students the skills
they need to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Torrance (1979) explains
that the future requires creative minds that can adapt to the situations and
challenges that are to come, and that creative thinking should be considered as one of the most important adaptability skills of an individual. He
states further that such skills must become a fundamental part of the curriculum in schools, and should also be encouraged and practiced in the
home, businesses and other agencies.
Do you feel that the said statements still hold true today? Write your answer in the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Discuss your ideas with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor. You
may also compare your reflections with my answers below.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

31

Feedback
The words of Ellis Paul Torrance may have been written three decades ago,
but they still hold true today. This is an age where the computer can connect us to different kinds of information, people, cultures and ideas. It is
creating situations and environments that have never been seen before in
the history of humankind. This means that the situations, problems and issues will need new and innovative approaches. In other words, you need
to embrace higher thinking skills so you can think creatively and adapt to
these new situations.
In what other ways is higher order thinking important in your everyday
life? How important are HOTS in your life as a teacher? Continue reading
and find out.

Lets Read
Thinking skills are becoming essential for survival in our rapidly changing global information age. We all need to be able to analyze information,
make decisions, come up with creative ideas and solve problems - in essence, to use higher order thinking. All of us need to be able to make sense
of information, adapt and be skilled in identifying and solving problems.
Have you experienced having access to many different sources of information in your teaching work? How did access to that information help you
teach a certain subject matter in a new way? Write your reflections on the
space below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Most likely, if you have had access to new sources of information, you
would have evaluated the new information to determine its usefulness to
you. You might have examined and analyzed the information in order to
develop a new approach to teaching a particular subject matter.

32

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

For example, if you have experienced accessing the internet, you will find
that there are many sites on the internet that provide valuable information
on teaching methods and a range of information on different subject matter. With the use of higher thinking skills, you can filter and evaluate this
information to develop a teaching method that might be innovative in your
school. This is one example of how you can use higher thinking skills to
adapt as a teacher.
In order to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, you must first take on
the challenge of developing your own thinking today so you can integrate
higher thinking skills into your home, classroom, and community with
confidence.

Lets Try This (Activity 1.4)


Identify colleagues who are used to the more traditional ways of teaching. Think about how you would convince them to integrate higher order
thinking skills into their role as a teacher. Pretend that you have a day to
convince them to integrate higher thinking skills in their lives as teachers.
How would you do this? Write down all your ideas on a piece of paper.
What arguments would you present to them that might make them consider doing so? You can begin experimenting with higher order thinking
skills in the formulation of your argument. You can follow the guide below
in formulating your argument if you like.
1. Analyze the changes occurring in your school, community and country
2. Evaluate different points of view regarding the traditional methods and
one that integrates higher order thinking skills identify your criteria
for evaluating each argument
3. Create a way to send your message that is new or novel to the group
that you want to convince
Discuss your ideas with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor on
how to convince your colleagues to use HOTS in their teaching. Get their
feedback if your arguments are sound and if they think these would work.
Then, when youre ready, share your ideas on the importance of HOTS and
how to embrace and apply these in their life as a teacher.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

33

Do not forget to share with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor on
the results of your discussion with your colleagues.
Having learned about the importance of HOTS in your life as a teacher,
how can you further develop your own thinking? Read on and find out.

Lets Study
What do you need to do to develop your own thinking? Below are some
of the ways that you can examine or evaluate your present thinking skills,
and work towards improving them:
Read about thinking skills, critical, creative and logical thinking on
the internet, in books, journals and through discussions with your
peers and mentors.
Read about the different thinking tools that you can use to improve
your thinking, and think about how you can use these tools in your
own life
Once you have read about the different thinking tools, and have
identified which tools you can use in your own life, you must keep
practicing your thinking skills. Through continual practice, you
will be able to make better decisions and approach new situations
and challenges with confidence.
So far you have learned about the concept of higher order thinking skills,
and why they are important to your work as a teacher. It may be easy to
explain why it is important to develop these skills, but it can be challenging to integrate these skills in your life. However, if you want to develop
your skills as a teacher, and adapt to a changing environment, you need to
be open to learning new ways of thinking. Sometimes, the biggest obstacle
you may face as an educator is your hesitation to consider new ideas and
methods, especially when you do not see any limitations with your old
methods. If you want to analyze, evaluate and create, you will need to
open yourself up to new ideas.
In the next section, you will have the opportunity to assess your own openness to new ideas. It is sure to be an interesting activity with full of surprises.

34

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Lets Try This (Activity 1.5)


Previously, you learned about the specific thinking skills that you will need
as a teacher in the 21st century. In this section, you will be given the opportunity to approach a situation in a new way. For the following activity, you
will need a pen and paper. Give yourself about 5 or 10 minutes to complete
the activity.
Take a look at the drawing below. Think about what the drawing might be.
Take some time to list down all the alternatives that you think the drawing
might represent.

(Adapted from De Bono, 1982: The De Bono Thinking Course)


Here are the instructions for this activity:
1. List down all the alternatives you can think of on a sheet of paper. Make
sure you are able to think of as many alternatives as you can. Take note
of any unconventional ideas that might pop into your mind.
2. When you are done, show this drawing to some of your students and
colleagues and ask them to think about the different things the picture
can represent, and to generate as many alternatives as they can. Do not
show them your list, but allow them to create their own list without any
influence from others. When you are done, ask them to discuss their
answers and take note of how you react to their answers.
3. After the discussion, collect the lists from the students and colleagues to
whom you have shown the drawing. In a private place, go through the
lists and place a check mark beside the ideas that you think fit the image,
and place a circle beside the ideas you feel do not fit the image.
4. Take note of which ideas you were most receptive to, and which ones
you had the most resistance accepting. Think about why you were
receptive to those particular ideas and resistant to others.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

35

Feedback
How did you find the activity? Did you have a lot of fun thinking of possible alternatives as to what the figure might represent? Did your colleagues
also enjoy the activity?
This activity has no right or wrong answer, but it can reveal a lot about how
you think, and how you perceive different ideas. It can help you assess
your own thinking and openness to new ideas. In the following sections,
you will refer to this activity to help you assess your own thinking, and
what steps you should take to begin developing it.

Lets Try This (Activity 1.6)


In the previous activity, you were given an illustration and you were supposed to think of many possible alternatives that the drawing might represent. You were then asked to show this drawing to your students and
peers and get their ideas as well. In this section you will be given the opportunity to think and reflect on the previous activity. Answer the questions on the next page as a guide to your reflection. You may write your
response in the space provided after each question.
1. As you were thinking of the alternatives, did you encounter any
resistance towards some ideas that you had? Did you hesitate to list
down any strange ideas, or even stop yourself completely? Why do you
think that was the case?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. As you were discussing the answers of your students and colleagues, did
you experience any resistance to any of their ideas? Did you think that
some of the alternatives they generated were strange or unconventional?
Briefly explain your answer.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

36

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

3. What insights did you gain from this activity?

Were you able to

understand more about your own thinking and how you approach
thinking about situations, problems or challenges?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
How did you find the activity? Were you able to find out more about your
own thinking and how open you are to different ideas? In the next section,
well discuss more about how you can use this activity to assess your own
thinking skills. With this assessment, you will be able to plan a course of
action that will allow you to develop your thinking skills.

Lets Study
As you were doing the activity in the previous section, you might have
noticed that you were hesitant or resistant to some ideas about the drawing that were given by your students or colleagues or that you yourself
thought of. This is quite common, as many would have impressions that
there are good and bad ideas. Oftentimes, value judgments are assigned
to ideas based on ones own value systems, or what one had been taught
or had felt to be right. While value judgments can help you organize and
initially deal with certain ideas, they can also keep you from exploring new
ones.
In the previous activity, you encountered a situation where you were presented with a wide range of ideas. Many of these ideas you might have accepted, but others you might have felt were a little too crazy or strange
or weird to accept. An example of this might be when a student presents
a solution or answer that is new or strange. As a teacher, you might have
the tendency to dismiss this answer or solution because it does not fit in
with the solutions that you are familiar with. However, by being open, and
using higher thinking skills, you might be able to use that students answer
as a learning opportunity for the class. Who knows, it may even be a new
way of answering an old question.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

37

Lets Think About This


Was there an instance in your class when a crazy or strange idea or
answer provided by a student in your class proved to be an effective springboard to introduce a lesson or to further discuss ideas that you wanted to
teach your class? Describe how you were able to use this idea effectively and
how you felt about it. Write your answers in the spaces provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Discuss your answer with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.
You may also compare your ideas with mine below.

Feedback
In the previous sections, it was discussed that the most critical skill that
students and teachers should have is the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world. This means accepting new ideas even if they may seem strange.
Your ability as a teacher to develop your own thinking skills and to guide
your students, family members and community members in developing
their own skills depends on your ability to accept new ideas no matter
where they come from or how different these ideas are.

Lets Try This (Activity 1.7)


The self-competency rating checklist on the next page is based on the table
of critical thinking competencies. For each of the items in the table, there
are five possible levels of mastery on a scale from Weak (1) to Strong
(5). For each competency, place a check mark (p) under the appropriate column which best describes your level of mastery. Take time to think
about each item and be as honest as you can when you answer each item.

38

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Weak
1

Competency

Strong
5

I make an effort to be accurate in my


thinking and work, and I seek accuracy
when I analyze data and make decisions
in my personal and professional life.
I do my best to be clear in both how
I communicate my ideas or express
myself and in my output, and I seek
clarity when I do not understand
something very well.
I am open minded and can accept many
different ideas without judging them.
When I do not know something, or
I need improvement in one area of
my life, I persevere and strive hard to
achieve my goals.
I frequently push the limits of my
knowledge,

and

evaluate

the

limitations of my understanding and


find ways to expand my knowledge.
When viewing a situation, I can think
of new ways that are unconventional
or outside the boundaries of standard
conventions.
I am aware of my thinking and how I
think and learn.
I can evaluate the effectiveness of my
actions, determine what mistakes were
made, and commit to improving my
decision-making.
I welcome feedback, I am sensitive to
it, and I use it to evaluate my thinking
and actions to find ways of improving
myself.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

39

Feedback
Were you able to rate your competencies in each area accurately? For each
competency in the checklist, consider a score of 3 or below as indicating an
area with opportunities for improvement.
If you had the courage to accept the areas in which you feel you are weak
or strong, thats very good! Dont be ashamed of these weak areas. On the
contrary, this should be an exciting time for you as you have now identified very concrete areas of opportunity. By focusing on improving these
areas, you will grow significantly as a teacher and an instructional leader.
By being honest with yourself, you can now make an accurate assessment
of your own higher order thinking skills, begin the process of developing
those areas you feel you are weak in, and enhance those areas that you feel
you excel in. In the next section, you will have the opportunity to reflect
more on the areas of higher thinking that you might need to improve.

Lets Think About This


In the previous section, you were asked to rate your level of competency
for a number of critical thinking competencies. List down the competencies in which you rated yourself between 1 and 3 on the proficiency scale.
Once you have done that, answer the following questions:
1. How do the weak areas you have identified affect your performance as
a teacher?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. What do you think are some starting points for developing these weak
areas?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

40

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

3. What aspects of your thinking do you feel you are strong at?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
4. How would you enhance your strengths?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

When you are done, you may write down your insights in your journal.
You may also discuss your insights with your flexible learning tutor, your
peers and close colleagues who have known you for a long time.
So far we have examined the concept of the 21st century teacher, and you
have identified the critical skills that you should possess in order for you
to promote a thinking culture and guide your students, family members,
and community members in adapting to a rapidly changing world. You
have also examined the importance of being aware of your own thinking
skills and being open-minded with regard to new ideas. In order for you
to become effective 21st century teachers, you need to be open to the idea
that you can improve your thinking. It is important to evaluate your own
thinking skills and identify weaknesses and strengths you can both improve and enhance.
Before you move on to the next lesson, you will be given the opportunity to
think about and plan the development of your thinking skills. In the next
section, you will be given the opportunity to create a plan to develop your
strengths and weaknesses in terms of the higher thinking skills we have
discussed in this lesson. Once you have done this, you can take significant
steps towards achieving mastery in the critical competencies of a 21st century teacher.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

41

Lets Study
How do you begin developing your higher order thinking skills? For every
big step that you take in life, it is important to think through and plan the
path you want to take. It is no different in developing your thinking skills.
You must first determine where you are, and what you want to achieve.
You have already done an assessment of your present thinking skills. The
next step is to determine what you want to achieve, and then identify what
you need to do in order to achieve that goal. Like many situations you encounter in your life, you decide on the courses of action to address each situation based on what you would like to achieve. If you want your students
to develop their critical thinking skills, you would probably choose to give
them a specific activity that will encourage them to use higher thinking
skills. One example would be to let the students visualize certain times in
your nations history, and, if you would like to stress the importance of a
particular date in your countrys history, you could lead your students in
comparing events in the past with the events of today.
You yourself can stimulate your own creative and critical thinking by asking what if? questions about the subject matter as you prepare for your
class. You can ask students these types of questions and have them brainstorm on how history might have been changed as a result. For science,
you can have them relate the concepts in class to everyday phenomena.
You can also use critical and creative thinking to design interesting activities that will illustrate these concepts. In both cases, you would begin with
what you would like them to learn or internalize this can be considered
your challenge or problem. Next, you can do your best to develop fun and
innovative ways to solve the problem and make learning meaningful to
your students. Developing your thinking employs very similar courses
of action as the previous examples. First, you must determine what your
aims, goals and objectives are, and then you can determine what you need
to do to attain those aims, goals and objectives.
How do we differentiate aims, goals and objectives? On the next page is a
set of guidelines that will help you plan out the development of your thinking skills (Wilson, 2005).

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Aims are the general statements you make to give the general
direction and intent to your planning, and to help you organize
your efforts
Goals represent your ultimate destination. You can recognize when
you have achieved the goal because you can often observe your
achievement of the goal.
Objectives are the milestones or the things that you need to
achieve so you can achieve the goal and overall aim of your efforts.
Objectives are recognizable achievements along the way that you
can use to track your progress towards achieving the goal.
Edward de Bono (1982) introduced the thinking technique called Aims,
Goals and Objectives, or abbreviated as AGO as a means for focusing ones
thinking and action. With AGO, you can focus your thinking on a specific
objective that will direct your actions rather than reacting to each situation.
For example, if you want to use AGO to help plan a course of action around
the improvement of your knowledge of a particular language, you might
write down the aim in this manner:
Aim: To develop new and innovative ways to make learning more engaging
to students
This aim gives you a general direction to focus your efforts. You can create
more focus by identifying goals that will serve as your measure of success
for achieving the aims. For the aim above, you might identify the following goals:
Goal 1: To explore at least two new or radical ideas a week related to

instructional strategies

Goal 2: To determine ways to improve your present teaching style in order


to promote a thinking culture among your students
By identifying your goals, you can more clearly focus on a measurable end
goal. When you have achieved that end goal, it will serve as a clear indication of success in your efforts.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

43

While goals can help you assess your achievement of your overall aims,
you can break down your goals further into objectives. Objectives are milestones that you can use to break up the goals into smaller, more achievable
parts. You can say that objectives are the things that you need to achieve
in order to successfully achieve your goal. For the Goal 1 above, you might
write the objectives in the following manner:
Objective 1: Collect ideas on instructional strategies from a wide variety of
sources
Objective 2: Brainstorm on different ideas until you have the two ideas you

feel are effective

Objective 3: Discuss the ideas with your colleagues in order to expand


and refine them

Objective 4: Develop and document the new activities or instructional


strategies so they can easily be integrated into the lesson plan

You can look at objectives as the steps of a ladder that you can use to measure your progress against achieving your goal. As you successfully take
each step up the ladder, you move closer and closer to the goal. You can
think of the top of the ladder as the goal, and each individual step or rung
as an objective that you need to achieve to get to the top of the ladder. You
can also look at objectives as the posts of a house. If you successfully erect
each post, you will be able to build the roof and walls of the house and have
shelter, which would be the goal.

Lets Try This (Activity 1.8)


In the previous section you were introduced to the concept of Aims, Goals
and Objectives. You were given an example of an aim and the goals and
objectives that might support that aim. Why dont you give identifying
objectives a try? Identify the objectives for Goal 2 in the section above. It is
written below for your reference.
To determine ways to improve your present teaching style in order to promote
a thinking culture among your students

44

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

You can write your answers in the space provided below.


_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Discuss your response with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor
and compare them with mine below.

Feedback
Here are some sample objectives. Your answers may be similar to these.
You may discuss your answers with your flexible learning tutor for more
feedback.
Objective 1: Develop a method to get feedback from your class on which teaching
methods they find engaging and which they find challenging
Objective 2: Collate feedback from colleagues on your teaching style, compare
and contrast this with the feedback from your class, and determine
your reasons for following one style or another
Objective 3: Look at various sources of information and make use of ICT when
you can, to find ways in which you can enhance your present teaching style
Objective 4: Invite some of your colleagues to a discussion on teaching styles,
present your style, and ask for ideas on how it can be modified
Now that you have been introduced to one thinking tool, its now time
to put it to use in your own life. Read on and take the exciting first steps
towards enhancing your own higher order thinking skills. You are now
ready to take your first step towards developing your thinking skills. Have
fun and take this opportunity to learn more about yourself and determine
how you can develop further and fulfill your potential as a 21st century
teacher!

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

45

Lets Remember
In this lesson, you learned that:
The 21st century is full of new challenges. The world is changing rapidly, and
we are seeing more collaboration, competition and communication between
and among nations and cultures. In order to survive and even contribute
to society in the face of all these rapid changes, you have to help promote a
thinking culture in your home, school and community. You can do this by
developing your own higher thinking skills as a teacher and nurturing these
skills in your students. Your goal is to develop these skills both in yourself and
in your students, so you can can think creatively, critically and logically to
solve problems and make good decisions. This way, you and your students will
be able to address the challenges of the future with confidence.
The good news is that these higher thinking skills can be developed. As a
teacher, you play a critical role in making sure that these skills are developed in
each of your students. By developing these skills, you are doing your part in
promoting a thinking culture in our schools, families and communities.
In order to develop your thinking skills, it is important that you expand your
understanding of your own thinking. While it may be a common belief that you
cannot change how intelligent you are, it is a misconception to believe that you
cannot improve our own ways of thinking. You have the ability to improve the
way you think and make decisions by developing your creative, critical, and
logical thinking skills through the use of thinking tools and strategies. You
can also develop your thinking skills through continuous, lifelong learning.
In order to develop your own thinking, it is important for you to first assess
your own thinking and determine your strengths and weaknesses in terms of
the different aspects of thinking. Once you know what aspects of your thinking
you need to improve, you can then create aims, goals and objectives to guide
you every step of the way.

46

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

How Much Have You Learned From This


Lesson?
To see how much you learned from this lesson, try to answer the questions
in this lesson review test. Follow the instructions below.
1. Explain what higher order thinking skills (HOTS) are. What are their
importance in your daily life and life as a teacher?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. The situation below describes the efforts of two teachers in developing
the thinking skills of their students. They teach in different districts and
approach the challenge in different ways. The passage below describes
how each one approaches the development of their students thinking
skills. As you read the passage, think about the role of culture in
the development of thinking skills in school. Consider the definition
of a thinking culture discussed in this lesson and use that as a guide in
analyzing the situation.
Budi and Pramana are both high school teachers from different districts in
Indonesia. They are both interested in developing the thinking skills of their
students, because they feel that this is a critical part of learning. Budi and
Pramana are looking for ways to get their students thinking both inside and
outside the classroom.
Budi has chosen to focus on his instruction right away and decides to give
his students workbooks using questions that are reflective of the different
levels of Blooms Revised Taxonomy. He makes his students complete the
questions in the workbook after the end of every lesson. They sit quietly and
answer the questions individually, while Budi sits at his desk preparing for
the next lesson. He also makes use of different forms of media in teaching.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

47

He provides video or audio materials for the students to watch, after which
they will write down their insights from the material. He is hoping that
these methods will develop the thinking skills of the students and promote a
thinking culture in his classroom.
Pramana decides to begin with an assessment of his own thinking skills
before he develops his instructional strategy so he knows which areas of his
thinking need improvement. He then creates instructional strategies that
allow the students to think about the subject matter in new and creative
ways. He groups them together and gives them questions and scenarios
to discuss among themselves. He makes it a point to join in the groups
discussions in order to help guide the students thought processes.
After the discussion, he uses tools like concept maps or window panes to
help summarize what has been learned. Like Budi, Pramana also makes
use of different kinds of media. He shows videos in his classes, which are
then followed by a discussion or some other activity where the students
can process the information. At the end of the lesson, he evaluates the
effectiveness of the activity, thinks over problems that were encountered,
and finds solutions to these problems to increase the effectiveness of learning.

2.a. Compare and contrast the approaches of the two teachers in the
situation above. How did each one try to develop a thinking culture
among their students? Which approach do you think was more effective
and why?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

48

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

2.b. If you were in either Budis or Pramanas shoes, how would you
approach the challenge of developing your students thinking skills?
How would you prepare yourself and your students to create a culture
of thinking in your classroom?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
3. Create a plan for developing your own thinking. To do this you will
review your strengths and weaknesses, identify different ways in
which you can develop specific aspects of your thinking, and prepare a
statement of commitment for self-improvement of your thinking skills.

Develop a statement of commitment of self-improvement for developing your thinking skills. Follow the instructions below as a guide to
drafting your statement of commitment.

3.a. Write down your aims, goals and objectives for developing your thinking skills. You may write this down on a separate sheet of paper. Think
of what you would like to generally achieve in terms of your thinking
skills (your aims). Next, determine what your goals should be. Think
of final outcomes that will tell you that you have more or less achieved
your aims. Finally, think of the objectives that you need to achieve for
each goal that will serve as milestones for you as you progress towards
the goal, just like the steps on a ladder.
3.b. Write down your statement of commitment to developing your own
thinking. The statement of commitment should be about one or two
paragraphs long and should express clearly the following:

a. What you want to achieve (your aims)

b. Why you want to achieve these aims

c. The steps that you must take, and how you will commit yourself to

persevering in taking each step.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

49

Feedback
When you are done, you can compare your output to the sample output in
the Key to Correction on pages 129-133.
Were you able to think through your aims, goals, and objectives? Are there
things you can start doing now to help you start on your journey?
You have now successfully completed the first step in developing your
thinking skills. In the next lesson, you will be introduced to some thinking
tools that you can immediately apply to your own life. These thinking tools
are very useful, and you should be able to practice these thinking skills in
your daily life, so you can achieve the aims, goals and objectives that you
identified in this lesson.
As soon as you are ready, you may continue on to the next lesson.

50

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Using Higher Order Thinking


Skills in my Life as a Teacher

LESSON

What Is This Lesson About?


In the previous lesson, you learned about your critical role as a 21st century
teacher, and how you are tasked with guiding your students in integrating
higher thinking skills into their lives. Before you do this, however, you
need to make sure that you have also developed these skills in yourself,
and apply them regularly to your own life. In the previous lesson, you
were asked to develop a personal statement of commitment for developing
your thinking skills. This personal statement is the foundation that will
allow you to maximize what is taught in this lesson.
Many people might be of the opinion that thinking is an innate skill and
cannot be changed. While it is true that thinking is innate and spontaneous,
it has also been argued that skillful thinking must be cultivated and
developed (Costa, 2008). This means that adopting productive habits of
mind is a skill that you can develop, just like learning how to multiply or
correctly set up a scientific experiment. If you are always conscious of how
you approach and think about situations and problems, you will begin to
see more and more opportunities to think critically and creatively when
you solve problems or make decisions in your own life as a teacher.
In this lesson, you will learn about productive habits of mind, and how
they can help you become a more effective teacher. You can use what you
learn here when you make the commitment to address certain aspects of
your thinking that need development and enhance those where you are
already strong.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

51

What Will You Learn?


At the end of this lesson, you should be able to do the following:
Describe the characteristics of a teacher who practices productive
habits of mind.
Identify ways in which you can apply and integrate higher order
thinking skills in your everyday life as a teacher.
Develop a plan to continually develop your thinking skills.

Lets Study
Study the short passage in the box below about Santoso, a teacher in
Indonesia. As you read the passage, think about the qualities of Santoso
as described and how you and your colleagues manifest these qualities as
well.
Santoso makes sure that, in every discussion, he asks questions when he does
not understand what is being said. He asks the speaker to elaborate, or he
repeats what he has heard based on his own comprehension just to make sure
that he and the speaker have a common understanding about what is being
discussed. Here are some of the questions that Santoso uses to make sure what
is being discussed is clear:
Can you clarify what you just said?
If I understand it correctly, do you mean?
Can you clarify some of the terms you mentioned?
Santoso also makes sure that people clearly understand what he is saying.
When he is talking to others, he checks for any misunderstanding and tries to
clarify things. Here are some of the questions that he asks:
Was my discussion clear enough?
May I ask how you understand what I just explained?
Is there anything that is not clear?
Santoso also likes hearing different viewpoints. During a discussion, he will
encourage others to share their viewpoints and ideas. If he hears a new idea, he
likes thinking and talking about it. He has often been able to find new ways of
teaching certain subjects by listening to the ideas of others.

52

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Were you able to get a good idea of what characteristics Santoso manifests
as a teacher? Were you able to see these same characteristics in yourself or
in other colleagues? In the next section, you can share the insights that you
gained from reading the passage.

Lets Think About This


Answer the questions below and share the insights that you gained from
reading the passage about Santoso.
1. How would you describe Santosos approach to discussions as manifested in the passage?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. What do you think is the purpose of Santosos questions?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
3. How do these techniques help Santoso become a better teacher?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

How well did you answer the questions? Were you able to provide your
insights into the characteristics manifested by Santoso in the passage? Read
on to find out more about how Santoso tries to practice critical thinking as
a productive habit of mind.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

53

Lets Study
Critical Thinking - Seeking Clarity and Accuracy
You encounter issues, problems and ideas in your daily life, and you often
react to them based on your limited understanding. One of the ways you
can develop your thinking skills is to seek clarity and understanding when
encountering an issue, problem or idea. In the previous section, you were
given the opportunity to think about how one teacher manifests critical
thinking as a productive habit of mind. You read how Santoso practices
critical thinking by seeking clarity, by making sure that what he is saying
is clear to others, and by keeping an open mind about new and different
points of view. Practicing critical thinking by seeking clarity and being
open to new ideas is one way of integrating higher order thinking skills in
your life as a teacher.
What specific instances in your life as a teacher have you encountered that
you needed to seek clarity and accuracy, particularly in resolving issues or
problems, or in generating ideas, or even in considering different arguments
when making decisions? Write your answers in the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
In answering the question above, its likely that many instances came to
mind where you needed to seek clarity and accuracy. Its quite common
that many mistakes or misunderstandings are the result of people not seeking clarity. Say, for example, a teacher discovers that her students did not
produce the output she was expecting for a particular assignment. This
may be an indication that there was not enough clarity in the instructions.
The teacher may have also failed to make sure that the students understood
the subject matter correctly and the instructions for the assignment.

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Here are some ways that you can develop your critical thinking by seeking
clarity and accuracy in your thoughts and discussions (Epstein, 1999):
Ask for more explanation when statements are too vague.
If you are not sure of what the speaker intended or meant, then
the statement or argument is vague. You should ask questions and
clarify a certain statement in order to better understand what the
person means. For example, if a colleague is describing the use of
a new teaching aid in science and you are having trouble following
the explanation, you can politely ask a question to clarify the parts
you did not understand.
Seek clarity when the statement is ambiguous.
If there are at least two ways of understanding what is said, then
it is possible that miscommunication and misinterpretation will
occur.

When this happens, it is also important to seek clarity by

asking questions. For example, if a teacher asks parents for more


support during a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meeting, the
parents may interpret support as financial support, but the teacher
may mean that the parents should be more visible and participative
during school activities.
Ask for definitions of certain concepts or terms. You can reduce
the possibility of miscommunication or misunderstanding by
making sure that you agree with others as to what is meant by
certain concepts or terms. For example, if your colleague says that
students who exhibit undesirable behavior will be made to stay after
class, you might want to clarify what s/he means by undesirable
behavior. By doing so, you can be sure that you are both discussing
the issue of undesirable behavior from the same perspective.
Consider the viewpoints of others.
An important aspect of critical thinking is the ability to expand
your own views and perceptions by considering the viewpoints of
others. If you hold on to your own opinions and ideas too tightly,
you may miss learning new things and finding alternative solutions
to existing problems.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

55

Can you think of situations in your life as a teacher where you can benefit
from seeking clarity and accuracy and by having an open mind? How
might this help you become a better teacher? You may write your answer
in the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
The guidelines above are very useful if you want to develop your critical
thinking skills. By seeking clarity and accuracy, you can focus your thinking
more effectively, because you have a better understanding of concepts and
statements expressed by others. Similarly, you can practice critical thinking
by making sure that you yourself are being clear and accurate in what you
say. By keeping an open mind, you can consider different viewpoints that
become the building blocks for creating new approaches and solutions.

Lets Try This (Activity 2.1)


Read the following scenario below and think about what the teacher can do
to practice critical thinking by seeking clarity and accuracy and by having
an open mind. You can write your answers in the space provided after the
scenario.
Ellen, a teacher from Malaysia, is encountering problems in implementing
a new method of teaching in her history class. Her school head mentored
her in new teaching methods for history that introduced more analysis and
visualization, but she could not understand some of the concepts. She is
tempted to just implement those that she understood, but she is aware that
she might not get the expected outcomes. As a result, she is not getting the
expected outcomes from the class activities.
How can Ellen use the critical thinking skills discussed earlier to improve
her understanding of the methods and become a more effective teacher?
Write your answer on the space below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
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Feedback
Ellen can increase her understanding of the new teaching methods by clarifying concepts with her school head during the mentoring process. She
can make sure that she understands what the school head meant by asking questions and summarizing in her own words what the school head
has explained. These techniques will allow the principal to gauge if Ellen
understood the concepts correctly. It also provides Ellen with critical feedback, so she knows that she does indeed understand what the school head
is telling her.
During implementation of the new teaching methods, Ellen can check if
she is clearly explaining the instructions to the lesson or activity. She can
do this by asking questions or by asking a student to explain back to her the
instructions. This allows Ellen to make sure that the students understanding of the lesson or instructions is accurate.
Ellen can also improve her implementation of the new teaching methods
by asking for ideas and advice from her colleagues. By keeping an open
mind and considering different ideas, she may be able to improve the effectiveness of the teaching method when she implements it in class.
You have just learned how you can develop critical thinking as a productive habit of the mind. This is one of the essential habits you need to develop as part of your efforts to integrate higher order thinking skills in
your life as a teacher. In the next sections youll examine other important
productive habits of the mind.

Lets Try This (Activity 2.2)


For this activity, you will need two pieces of paper and a pen or pencil.
Divide the first sheet of paper into six pieces by cutting the sheet into six
smaller pieces. Leave the second sheet blank. You will be given a parable to
read, and you will use the divided sheets of paper to draw pictures based
on what you read in the parable below. After you have drawn on each of
the 6 smaller sheets, you will then try to piece together the pictures to find
out the solution of the parable.

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57

The story below is an old Indian parable about perception and open-mindedness. In the story, six blind men happen upon an animal they have never
encountered before. Each one touches one part of the animal, and describes
the whole animal based on the part of the animal he is touching. Below are
the descriptions of each of the blind men (adapted from the poem by John
Godfrey Saxe). After reading each description, draw what they describe
on one of the 6 smaller sheets of paper. When you are done with all the
descriptions, look at the pictures and try to figure out what kind of animal
they encountered based on the descriptions they give:
The first blind man, standing at the side of the animal, exclaimed:
This animal is very broad and sturdy - like a wall!
The second blind man, standing in front of the animal, exclaimed:
This animal is very round, smooth and sharp like a spear!
The third blind man, also standing in front of the animal, exclaimed:
This animal is long and wiggly like a snake
The fourth blind man, sitting on the ground beside the animal,
exclaimed: This animal is round and sturdy like the trunk of an
old tree!
The fifth blind man, standing near the front and at the side of the
animal, exclaimed: This animal is very broad and flat, like a big
fan!
The sixth blind man, standing at the rear of the animal, exclaimed:
This animal is long and thin like a rope!
From the descriptions, can you determine what kind of animal the blind
men encountered? Identify the animal the blind men are describing and
explain what made you come to that conclusion. You may write your answers in the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
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If you thought about each of the descriptions, you might have come to
the conclusion that the animal they were describing was an elephant. Each
of the blind men described one part of the elephant the part they were
holding that very moment. So one might be holding the elephants trunk,
or ear, or leg, and they based their descriptions on that particular part of
the elephant. If you considered only one of their descriptions, you would
probably have a difficult time determining what kind of animal they were
describing. However, since you listened to all of their descriptions, you
were able to gain a clearer understanding of what kind of animal they encountered in accordance with the recreated parable in the form of a poem
written by the 19th Century poet, John Godfrey Saxe. You can find a copy
of the poem in Annex A at the end of this module.
This parable illustrates one of the key aspects of critical thinking, which is
considering the viewpoints of others when making a decision or conclusion. From this one parable, we can gain many insights into how we might
go about developing our own critical thinking skills.
In the next section, you will be given an opportunity to consider the lesson
of the parable.

Lets Think About This


As you worked on the activity about the parable of the six blind men, you
probably realized a few things about critical thinking that are central to
our present discussion. The questions below will help you process your
insights from the activity. Write your answers in the space provided after
each question.
1. If you were to listen only to one of the blind men, would you be able to
determine what animal they had encountered? Why or why not?
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_______________________________________________________________
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59

2. What do you think would have happened if the blind men stayed in one
place the whole time ? What if they exchanged places with each other?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
3. You might say that each of the blind men was, indeed, describing an
elephant. What made each of their descriptions different from the
rest? How important was it for you to read all the descriptions before
determining what the animal was?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
4. Can you see parallelisms between this parable and your life as a teacher,
colleague and mentor? Cite one concrete example that illustrates this
parable in action.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
5. What did you learn from this parable that can help you develop your
own critical thinking skills?
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Feedback
How did you answer the reflection questions? Did you gain more insights
as you thought about and answered each question? Compare your answers
to the ones in the answer key on pages 134-135.
The parable discussed in the last section shows us some of the more important aspects of critical thinking. The parable touches on habits of the mind
such as seeking multiple viewpoints to an issue, curiosity and a desire to
deepen understanding, and intuitive and non-intuitive thinking. We must
engage these aspects of critical thinking in order to learn more and evaluate different data about an issue or problem. For example, if each of the
men in the parable refused to move from his spot and made a conclusion
about the animal based on what he was holding, chances are he will not
come up with a very accurate description of the animal. However, if one
were to engage his curiosity and walk around the animal, touching the
different parts, he would have a more accurate understanding about what
the animal might be. In this case, one person seeking to learn more about
something can find the truth faster than six people who do not go beyond
what they think they know and consider other perspectives.
The next section will discuss different aspects of critical thinking in more
depth.

Lets Study
Aspects of Critical Thinking
In the previous section, you read about an old Indian parable that illustrates the danger of not engaging in critical thinking. Based on the discussion, the following important aspects of critical thinking became evident:
Looking at multiple viewpoints when thinking of a problem
Developing your innate sense of curiosity and desire to gather
information
Developing your intuitive and non-intuitive thinking

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61

These are only a few important aspects of critical thinking. There are also
other aspects of critical thinking such as being able to analyze arguments
according to their assumptions, inferences or implications, and being able
to develop and test hypotheses. While these might look like skills that are
very challenging and difficult to develop, trust in the fact that, with some
research, guidance and a lot of practice, they can be developed and become
second nature.
Lets take a closer look at some of the different aspects of critical thinking.
Developing and encouraging your innate curiosity one of the
fundamental aspects of critical thinking is the desire and discipline
to seek more knowledge about something. For example, as a social
studies teacher, you might want to tackle the issue of public health in
your community to illustrate one of the services that the government
provides for its citizens. By developing your curiosity, you can do more
research into public health. In your preparations, you might wonder
about certain things regarding public health, such as:

- How does the government plan public health programs?

- Who decides what programs are implemented in your country or your


community?

- How do public health workers feel about the work that they do?

If, during the course of your preparations for your lessons, you tend to ask
more questions about a topic, that is your innate curiosity working. Do
not disregard these questions. You should, in fact, do your best to answer
them, because in doing so, you train your mind to be curious and to seek
out more information regarding a topic, issue or problem.
Can you think of situations you have experienced as a teacher where, in
the course of examining a topic or issue, many questions popped into your
head? Were you able to answer these questions satisfactorily? How did this
help your understanding of the topic or issue? Write your answer in the
space provided below.
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Remember that critical thinking is only possible when you nurture your
innate curiosity. This will point you in the right direction when you are
learning about a topic and issue, or trying to analyze a problem. Curiosity,
together with intuitive thinking, will help you explore different perspectives. By doing so, you will be better informed as you look for solutions or
make decisions.
Cultivating your intuitive thinking you might have experienced
a situation in your life as a teacher where you had a feeling about
something that turned out to be correct. This is called intuition or
the knowledge of something that comes to you quickly, without
you spending time to reflect on it. For example, you might decide to
experiment with a new instructional strategy, but you may have an
intuition as to how your students might react to the strategy. This is one
example of intuitive thinking. Many times, you can combine intuitive
thinking with experimentation when you are looking for a solution to
a problem. Your intuition will tell you that some aspect of the problem
should be explored, and you can use experimentation to test this.
To do this, you can create a hypothesis, which is a statement that provides an explanation for something, then test the hypothesis through
trials and experimentation. For example, if many of your students have
been struggling in their mathematics classes, you might get the idea
that it may be because they have no opportunity to talk about the math
problems with their classmates. Given this intuition, you might decide
to test your idea by changing the student groupings so that one of the
advanced students is in each of the groups. You might also give them
more time to process each problem, working on three problems instead
of four for every math period. If your experimentation bears fruit, then
your intuition would have been correct.
Can you remember situations in your life as a teacher when you
had an intuition about something? Describe the situation, and what
your intuition told you. Was your intuition correct? How did you
find this out? Write your answers in the space provided below.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
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63

Intuitive thinking is something that develops in you over time. The more
knowledge or experience you gain in a particular area, the more likely
you will feel your intuition working. Intuition can be very helpful in
critical thinking because it can provide many moments of inspiration
during problem-solving or decision-making. If we cultivate this
intuition by listening to it and testing it, we can further develop our
critical thinking.

Welcoming and exploring counter-intuitive thinking while intuitive


thinking can provide pathways for exploration based on our experience
or knowledge, they can impose certain limitations on our thinking as
well. Thats why we need to always be open to other perspectives.
Often, you get or encounter an idea that is radically different from
what is commonly thought and accepted. These can be examples of
counter-intuitive thinking, usually triggered by us asking ourselves
why we accept what is commonly accepted. Counter-intuitive thinking
can be challenging to explore, simply because many people may not
accept a radical idea, especially when they are not open to change or
other viewpoints. However, counter-intuitive thinking often has the
power to bring deep and meaningful changes and can result in new and
innovative solutions to problems.

One example of how counter-intuitive thinking can bring significant


change concerns an object you probably use everyday: a watch. There
is a good chance that you own a watch that requires a battery to
work a quartz watch. The Japanese have long been known for their
development and dominance of the quartz watch market. Many people
might even intuitively think that the quartz watch was invented in
Japan. These people would be surprised to find out that it is not the case
at all. The technology used in quartz watches was actually developed
in Switzerland. However, because the thinking of Swiss watchmakers
was focused on mechanical timepieces, they rejected the technology.
One day, some enterprising Japanese businessmen saw the technology,
and because their minds were open to such a radical idea, they bought
the technology and adopted it in their own Japanese-manufactured
watches. In time, quartz watches dominated the global watch market
(The American Management Association, 2007).

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Describe a situation in your life as a teacher where you had a counterintuitive idea. How did that idea help you solve a problem or understand an issue better?

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
Often, counter-intuitive thinking can be developed so that it becomes
part of your problem-solving or decision-making process. It can take the
form of questioning what has been established as common sense or
common knowledge. It can take the form of a what if.. question, such
as the following:
What if we stopped using multiple choice in our assessments?
What if we allowed the students to create the lesson plans with us?
What if we changed the sequence of topics in mathematics?
Have you allowed yourself to explore these types of questions? If
not, maybe its about time you do. They may help you uncover new
insights into issues and problems that you face in your life as a teacher
and provide you with critical information you can use to find better
solutions and make better decisions.
Seeking multiple viewpoints many times, when we encounter a
situation, we often act or make decisions based on a dominant way
of thinking. For example, one teacher may teach history based on the
viewpoint of the history book that is used as reference for the subject. It
would be easy to take the perspective of the historian in that situation,
since it is an approved textbook. However, you can turn this into an
opportunity to think critically by seeking multiple viewpoints. So the
history teacher can design an activity where she asks the class specific
questions that will encourage the student to put themselves in the shoes
of another. Outside of the classroom, this will also help you in your life
as a teacher, because there are probably many opportunities for you
to practice this. Misunderstandings and problems are a natural part of
life and the school is not immune from this. An example of this would

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

65

be during the evaluation of a particular school program. Someone in


the school might see the program as a failure, but by seeking multiple
viewpoints, you can make a more accurate analysis as to where the
program might have succeeded or failed.

Lets Think About This


Describe a situation in your life as a teacher where seeking multiple viewpoints was crucial in evaluating a solution or in analyzing and finding a
solution to a problem. Write your answers in the space below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Discuss your reflections with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.

Feedback
How did your discussion go? Did you learn new insights from your colearners and Tutor about seeking multiple viewpoints in finding solutions
to problems in your daily life and in your life as a teacher? Seeking multiple
viewpoints can greatly increase our capacity to think critically. Remember
the parable of the blind men and the elephant in the previous section? It
was clear from the parable that in order to come to a deeper and more accurate understanding of what they had encountered, the blind men needed
to feel the animal from different perspectives. By doing so, they could come
to a more accurate conclusion.
In addition to seeking multiple viewpoints, developing your innate sense
of curiosity, and developing your intuitive and non-intuitive thinking,
there are other aspects of critical thinking that you need to know. Learn
more about them in the pages that follow.

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Lets Study
Other Critical Thinking Skills
By now, you might have realized that its possible for one to develop his
or her own critical thinking skills. In fact, as long as you are conscious
of your own mental processes and make an effort to practice the different
aspects of critical thinking, it will eventually become a good habit that
you can integrate in your role as a teacher. You have learned three aspects
of critical thinking earlier. In the following section, you will learn about
other mental activities that demonstrate critical thinking skills that you
can apply to your daily life and to your life as a teacher. These are:

Exploring/Probing/Investigating;
Problem solving;
Assessing thinking, checking for accuracy, precision, depth,
breadth, logic, fairness, and significance; and

Evaluation of observations, commentary, or information.


Let us study each of these in detail.
Exploring/Probing/Investigating
When you look at or hear something, do you find yourself asking if what
youve heard or seen is really true? If you do, then you are exercising
the critical thinking skill of exploring, probing, or investigating. You
do this by closely examining or inquiring into a situation or problem
in order to discover the truth. Exploring allows you to ask questions,
gather more information, develop options, and make your own
discoveries that would help you arrive at a solution.
For example, somebody shares an information with you about a new
health product. You were given a brochure which contains testimonies
regarding the effectiveness of the health product. The information
quotes scientists and medical doctors attesting to the effectiveness and
efficacy of the health product to cure various ailments.

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67

As a critical thinking person, what should you do to investigate or


probe if indeed the information shared with you is true? Write your
ideas in the space below.
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
Discuss your answers with your co-learners and Flexible Learning
Tutor. You may also compare them with mine below.
One of the marks of a person who exercises critical thinking skills is the
ability to probe deeper or investigate further any information that he/
she receives. Thus, if you are a critical thinker, you would not readily
believe and take at face value the information that you have received
about the new health product that guarantees to cure diseases. Perhaps
you will do an exhaustive research on the claims of the product, using
various references - books, journals, or reliable articles in the Internet,
such as government (e.g., Department of Health) and education (e.g.,
medical schools) websites. You may also verify the claims with a
medical practitioner.
Aside from exploring, probing, or investigating, problem solving is also
a critical thinking skill needed in the 21st century. Continue reading to
find out more about problem solving.
Problem solving
Have you ever faced a problem so difficult that you cannot seem to
find a solution? It is important to remember that every problem has a
solution, but the solution may not be that easy to arrive at. You deal
with problems everyday - some are quite easy to solve; some are not.
In your personal life and in your work, you encounter a variety of
problems which will require you to apply critical thinking to arrive at
solutions using conventional and innovative ways. On the next page,
Arnold (2011) presents tips on solving problems using critical thinking:

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1. Identify and narrow the problem. You may write your problem on
a piece of paper, jotting down all its aspects. These may include
information on why it is a problem, whom it affects, and what type
of problem it is. This will help you clarify what the problem is and
will help you identify a corresponding solution.
2. Research and develop alternatives. Once you have identified
your problem, the next thing to do is to think of different ways
to address the problem. You may do this by talking about the
problem with other people and asking for their suggested solutions
or by brainstorming (i.e., gathering a group of people and asking
them to let ideas flow). You may also try to take yourself out of the
context of the problem to get a better and wider perspective of the
problem. Then, list down all possible alternative courses of action
to solve your problem. The next step (#3) involves evaluating the
appropriateness and the soundness of each of the alternatives that
you thought of.
3. Evaluate the alternatives. Given the list of alternatives in Step #2,
how then would you identify which alternatives are appropriate
solutions to your problem? To evaluate the different courses of
action that you can take, it is best to examine the possible positive
and the negative consequences or effects of each alternative. You
may take a piece of paper and write three columns: A (positive),
column B (negative), and C, your decision whether the suggested
solution is workable or not.
4. Solve the problem. After you have researched each suitable idea,
you will be able to make a decision based on solid information and
facts, your values and beliefs. Most of the time, you decide based on
and what you consider important.

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69

Lets Try This (Activity 2.3)


Read the following critical incident and answer the questions that follow.
Critical Incident
Nina teaches fifth grade science. The days lesson was on body systems and
she was happy that her students were actively participating in the discussion.
However, she noticed Ramon staring out the window again, as he often did
in her class. She had tried a variety of techniques to get his attention and
encourage him to participate in class activities. She tried to have him sit in
front, away from the window, so that he would have less distractions. However,
the problem remained and he continued being inattentive in class. She brought
this concern to her department head and her colleagues. Her department head
suggested that perhaps Ramon may have difficulties focusing and may have
an attention deficit disorder. One of her colleagues, who teaches Ramon in
mathematics, mentioned that he scored high in quizzes and tests in her class,
but he could not focus and was easily distracted.
1. What is the primary problem encountered by Nina about Ramon? What
could be the possible cause/s of this problem?
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_______________________________________________________________
2. What information would she need to understand Ramons problem
better?
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3. What are the possible courses of action that Nina can take to solve this
problem?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
4. If you were Nina, what would you finally decide to do?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
Discuss your responses with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.
How did your discussion with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor go? Were you able to identify the primary problem and suggest alternative ways to solve it? Hopefully, the questions allowed you to apply
what you have learned from the tips of Arnold (2011) on how critical thinking helps you solve problems.
Continue learning about critical thinking skills in the following pages.

Lets Read
Assessing thinking, checking for accuracy, precision, depth, breadth,
logic, fairness, and significance
As a critical thinker, you need to assess your thinking and the thinking
of others based on the following:
-

Is it clear? Are there areas that are ambiguous or confusing? Have


you defined well the issues or concerns at hand? In the classroom,
you may help develop clear thinking in your students by asking
them to elaborate further on their response, express their point in
some other way, give an illustration or provide an example.

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71

Is it accurate? Accuracy refers to the condition or quality of being


true, correct, or exact. It also implies being free from error or defect.
Critical thinking involves asking yourself if an information or a
statement is true and finding out ways to check its truthfulness.

Is it precise? Precision refers to being exact, or strictly conforming


to a pattern, standard, or convention. Providing more details and
being more specific in your statements is part of being precise in
your thinking. Asking precise questions and providing precise
answers are a good mark of a critical thinker.

Is it relevant? To check for relevance, you may ask yourself if the


information you have is connected to the issue or question.

Is it significant? As a critical thinker, you may ask yourself if


what you have is the most important problem to consider. Which
of the facts that you have are the most important and what is the
central idea to focus on? These questions will help you determine
significance of the problem or issue at hand.

What is its breadth? To exercise critical thinking, you also need


to know the breadth of an issue or problem in question. Examine
if you are considering all of the key factors of an issue or problem,
rather than just focusing on only one or two. Also check if you are
considering another point of view or is there another way to look
at the problem or question. Think about how the issue would look
like from a variety of viewpoints.

What is its depth? How does your answer address the levels of
complexity of a problem or an issue? Are you dealing with the most
complex factors affecting the problem and not just focusing on
superficial ones? Answering these questions helps you determine
the depth of the issue or problem that you are addressing.

Is it logical? Being logical involves assessing whether the conclusion


that you are about to make is based on evidence and supported by
facts. Check if your statements or conclusion make sense.

Is it fair? Critical thinking demands that our thinking is fair.


Being fair means being open-minded, impartial, and free of biases,
prejudices, and preconceptions.

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Lets Try This (Activity 2.4)


Do you think you display the parameters of critical thinking described earlier?
Do you consciously assess your thinking and check for clarity, accuracy,
precision, relevance, significance, breadth, depth, logic, and fairness?
The table below presents the critical thinking parameters you learned. Try
to assess your critical thinking skills by placing a check mark in the appropriate column.
I do
not
have
this
yet
(1 )

Critical thinking parameters

I have this I already


but I need
have
to further this and
improve practice it
on it
regularly
(2)
(3)

1. Clarity - I make sure that issues at


hand are well-defined and free of
any ambiguity.
2. Accuracy - I ask if the information is
true, correct, and exact.
3. Precision - I try to be exact and specific in my statements by providing
more details.
4. Relevance - I always check if the information I have is connected with
the problem at hand.
5. Significance - I always consider the
most important aspect of an issue
and focus on its central idea.
6. Breadth - I try to address all key aspects of an issue and consider others viewpoints.
7. Depth - I take into consideration the
levels of complexity of a problem
and the complex factors affecting it.
8. Logic - I base my conclusions on
facts and evidence.
9. Fairness - I am open-minded, impartial, free of biases, prejudices, and
preconceptions.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

73

Feedback
Your responses will help you know your current state in terms of the
critical thinking parameters. As this is a self-evaluation exercise, there is
no right or wrong answer. It is possible that you are quite strong in some
critical thinking parameters but you are still weak in some areas. For the
items where you checked the column, I do not have this yet, work harder
on acquiring those skills. For those items where you checked the column
I have this but still need improvement, it will be best for you to continue
developing these skills. Do not be discouraged if you found out there are
critical thinking skills that you have not fully developed. Remember that
this module is meant to help you develop critical thinking skills so that
you can, in turn, help your students to do the same. If you checked the last
column for some of the parameters, congratulations! It means that you are
already strong in these areas.

Lets Read
Now, were going to learn about one final critical thinking skill. Read on.
Evaluation of observations, commentary, or information
Critical thinking also involves evaluation of observations, commentary, or
information. With so much information available in the 21st century, from
a variety of formats and sources, each piece of information must be carefully reviewed to ensure the quality, authority, and perspective that best
support your needs. Not all information is equally valuable. You must
examine each piece of information to check its usefulness and quality.
When evaluating information, always check the source of the
information. Is he/she an expert or authority on the topic? If you are
getting the information from a website, examine the credentials of the
author. Also check the objectivity of the information. Do the statements
provide a balanced viewpoint? Is the information free of biases and
prejudices? Finally, verify what the information claims. It would be
good to check if you can find two or more reliable sources that provide
the same information. This validates the veracity of the information
being presented.

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How do you evaluate the information that you find about a certain
topic? For example, you are writing a report on the advantages and
disadvantages of integrating technology in the classroom. You have
found a number of information sources from the Internet, from published
literature, and from your discussion with your colleagues, department
head, and school head. In the space below, write your reflections on how
you can determine if the information you have gathered is appropriate
for your report.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
Discuss your response with your co-learners and Flexible Learning
Tutor.

Lets Think About This


Reflect on what you have just learned on the critical thinking skills exploring/probing/investigating, problem solving, asessing thinking, checking for accuracy, precision, depth, breadth, logic, fairness, and significance,
and evaluation of observations, commentary, or information. Hopefully,
you have recognized that these skills are essential for effective learning and
productive living in the 21st century.
As a teacher, how can you further enhance your own critical thinking skills
in order to become a more effective facilitator of learning in 21st century
society? Write your thoughts on the space below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________

Discuss your response with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.

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Feedback
How did your discussion with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor go? Did you gain new insights from them on how to further enhance
your critical thinking skills? Perhaps you may have mentioned that doing
research from various information sources helps you exercise and develop
your critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is something that you definitely need in your daily life and at work. The more you think critically
about issues and problems, the better are your chances of learning something new and getting the correct information that you need.
After having learned about critical thinking skills, you are now ready to
study another important learning skill in the 21st century. Do you want to
know what this is? Read on and find out!

Lets Read
Read the short passage below about Alona, a mathematics teacher in Lao
PDR. As you read the passage, think about the thinking qualities described
and how you and your colleagues manifest these qualities as well.
When faced with a problem or challenge, Alona keeps trying to address or solve
the problem until she finds a workable solution. Sometimes it takes many days
or weeks before she gets the inspiration for a certain solution. Even if a
challenge is very difficult, she does not give up she looks at the challenge from
many different angles, and tries to think of as many ideas as she can. She often
tries to search for additional information about the problem or issue in order to
understand more about it.
Many times, Alona has asked for help from colleagues for solving a problem,
or in finding new ways to make learning Math more exciting. She uses a
technique to generate as many ideas as she can from herself and her colleagues,
and she considers all the ideas as possible solutions. She encourages herself
and others to think of ideas that may seem strange or weird at first she likes
finding out-of-the-box ideas.
Did you get a good idea of the type of thinking skills that Alona manifests
as a teacher? Were you able to see these same skills in yourself or in other
colleagues? In the next section, you can share the insights that you gained
from reading the passage.

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Lets Try This (Activity 2.5)


In the previous section, you read about Alona and the thinking qualities
that she manifests in her daily life as a teacher. Answer the questions below
and share the insights that you gained from reading the passage. You may
write your answers in the space provided after each question.
1. How does Alona approach problems and challenges?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. What do you think are the benefits of generating a lot of different ideas?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
3. How do you think these characteristics will help you become a more
effective teacher?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
Discuss your responses with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.
Read on and try to compare your answers with mine as well.

Feedback
Were you able to share all your insights on the passage that you read in
the previous section? Alonas approach to problems and challenges is to
use creative thinking, another productive habit of the mind. By thinking
creatively, Alona can find new and innovative ways of approaching
problems and challenges. Furthermore, she does not give up when
thinking about how to address a challenge. She keeps persevering until
she discovers a good solution. Well look more closely at creative thinking
in the next section.
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Lets Study
Creative Thinking
Another productive habit of the mind that will help you integrate HOTS
into your own life as a teacher is to cultivate creativity in your thinking.
Here are some ways by which you can improve your creative thinking:
Always persevere. In the passage above, you read how Alona does
not give up when faced with a challenge. She takes her time finding a
solution, even if it may take days or weeks. Sometimes the answer may
not be readily apparent, but if you keep the problem in mind, and you
are open to new ideas, you may get hit with the inspiration for a solution.
Do not be content with what you already know. Part of developing
your creativity is to learn more about different topics and subject areas.
Even if you teach history, you can still read on other subjects like math
or science. Expanding your knowledge in these areas may provide you
with an interesting and creative way to present a topic in history. A
teacher may choose to relate a particular invention with a moment in
history in order to examine its effects on society.
Think of new and unconventional ways to look at the problem. There
is a popular story that Isaac Newton, observing an apple falling from
a tree, came up with a solution to a problem that he had been trying
to solve. The simple observation of an apple falling gave rise to the
gravitational theory! By looking at problems outside of the usual set of
solutions, we can discover many solutions that we never thought were
possible.
To develop your creative thinking, you need to open yourself up to exploring a subject or issue so you can generate many alternatives to address the
situation. Once you are open to exploring a subject, you can use powerful
thinking tools to help you think critically and creatively about a situation,
generate appropriate alternatives, and make decisions.

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Lets Try This (Activity 2.6)


For this activity, you will need a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. In this
activity, you will have the opportunity to flex your creative thinking muscles through the use of an object you see in your daily life.
Go into your kitchen at home or your schools cafeteria, and look for a deep
pot. Set the pot on the table and take a good look at it. Think about how it
is used on a day-to-day basis. Now think about the other possible uses for
a pot. Think of as many different uses as you can and write them down, no
matter how strange or crazy they might sound. As you think of the ideas,
forget for a moment all the conventional rules about using pots, and try to
think of some unique and interesting ways to use pots. Give yourself about
5 minutes to think of as many alternative uses for the pot as you can. The
more ideas you have, the better. As you write your ideas down, you can
also draw them so that the ideas become much clearer. Below are some
examples of alternative uses of a pot to get you started.
1. A plantbox for growing seedlings
2. A hard hat to protect you from falling branches
3. A fishbowl
4. A leg for a broken sofa
Think of other ways you can use a pot. Make sure you have fun generating
the ideas, and dont judge any idea write everything down. When you are
done, you can ask a colleague to do the same, and then compare your answers. Remind your colleague to consider all ideas no matter how strange
or crazy they may seem.

Feedback
While you were thinking about the different uses for a pot, you may have
thought of very strange and novel uses. You also may have experienced
some hesitation or discomfort at having to write down some of those
strange ideas. When comparing your ideas to those of your colleagues, you
may have been embarrassed to show them some of your ideas, for fear that
they might think these are silly. They may also have had ideas that they
were hesitant to share with you because of what you would think. This is

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79

a normal part of the process. In fact, this activity should give you better
insight into how open you are to receiving and generating new ideas. Your
enthusiasm in telling other people your ideas, or trying them out, depends
on the amount of risk you are willing to take. Being creative means taking
risks, because it usually involves the creation of new ideas that have not
been tried yet. Sometimes, individuals can create very radical ideas that
may go against common beliefs. Many teachers may unknowingly prevent
their students from expressing their ideas by presenting an accepted
view of the subject matter and by being hesitant to accept ideas that depart
from this view. As a result, the students do not get the opportunity to practice creative thinking. Instead, they learn that there is only one solution
or point of view.
The next section explores how you can adapt creative thinking methods,
and integrate these into your life as a teacher.

Lets Read
The critical incident below is about Lena, a school teacher from the Philippines. She has just learned about a teaching strategy that involves using
objects to shape discussions about a variety of subjects, and she is anxious
to try it out in her classroom.
Critical Incident
Lena, a school teacher from the Philippines, had an idea that she thought might
stimulate the creative thinking of her students. She wanted to use objects for
students to look at and hold so they could think and wonder about the objects.
After that, they would explore their questions and thoughts regarding the
object. Lena would then use the discussion to talk about some of the topics and
lessons that they had. When she told some of her colleagues about her idea, they
discouraged her from trying it because it was too different from the traditional
ways of teaching. In spite of such discouraging feedback Lena decided to try it
out anyway.
One day, Lena brought a hammer and some nails to school for a lesson in
mathematics. She then asked the students to hold the hammer and think about
how they would be able to create a window frame from one long piece of wood.
The students were divided into groups and then given the hammer to hold

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for a while. The teacher then asked them to write down their questions about
the hammer and about how things like homes and schools are built. Some of
the students wondered how the roof of a house or school can be supported
with just a few beams, while others asked how big buildings are built to exact
specifications. There were many questions, and Lena used these discussions to
have the students explore the concept of building further. She used questions
about measurements and the use of plumb-bobs to reinforce lessons on addition,
subtraction, fractions, and angles.
Another day, Lena brought a small basket full of vegetables to school. She
showed the class the vegetables and asked them which ones were presently
growing in their village. Again, she allowed the class to ask questions and to
make comments regarding what they had seen. Some of the students asked
where the vegetables came from before they were sold in the market. Others
asked why some of the other vegetables they were familiar with were not in the
basket, and still a few more asked how farmers make sure that all the plants
are properly watered. Lena used these questions to discuss how vegetables are
usually grown in one place and then sent to markets in other places. She also
used the discussion to talk about the seasons, the water cycle, and how farmers
use irrigation to water their fields. One student then commented that if climate
and soil dictated the type of plants that could be grown in an area, it might
be possible to create a way to control the environment so that some seasonal
plants could grow all year round. Soon the other students were sharing their
ideas as well.
When Lena heard the students exchanging ideas, she knew that her strategy
was paying off. The method was also helping to change her own way of thinking
as a teacher.
How did you find the critical incident? Did you get any ideas from the
experiences that Lena had with her instructional strategy? Write your
thoughts in the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
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81

Feedback
Lenas story illustrates how you can stimulate your creative thinking in
many different ways. There is usually more than one solution to a problem,
and it is important for one to be open to other possible solutions if one is to
think creatively. If Lena had just used a traditional lecture to teach the water cycle, the students would probably just have memorized the different
phases of the water cycle, with little understanding of its importance and
implications on weather, climate, agriculture and even natural disasters.
By taking a risk with the instructional strategy, Lena was able to introduce
a method that would stimulate the creative thinking of her students.

Lets Think About This


In the previous passage, you read about Lenas experiment with a method
that she hoped would encourage her students to think creatively. Based on
her experience, answer the questions below. You may write your responses
in the space provided after each question.
1. Compare Lenas risk-taking attitude to that of her colleagues. How are
creativity and risk-taking related?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. Have you experienced a situation in your life as a teacher where you had
a new idea that you wanted to try out? How willing were you to take the
risk and implement your idea? What encouraged you to implement the
idea? What stopped you?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

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3. Can you think of other methods that Lena could use to enhance her
students creative thinking?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Feedback
Lenas story is an illustration of how you can think creatively as a teacher
and make a difference in both your life and in the lives of your students.
While it is easy to think of new ideas, expressing them and putting them
into practice are often difficult. Most of the time, the fear of taking the risk
with an idea that has not been proven can stop someone from trying it out.
The fear of failure can also be one factor in hesitating to act on an idea. In
Lenas case, she may have felt hesitant to try her idea out because of the
discouraging remarks of her colleagues, but she overcame this hesitation in
the end. When she tried her idea, she found out that it did actually help the
students think more creatively. Can you imagine if Lena had decided not
to try out her idea? Her students would have been deprived of a new and
creative way of thinking about their subjects.
Creativity and risk-taking go together. Many of the innovations and ideas
that are important part of our lives could not have become a reality if the
person who thought of them did not take risks. Think about how education
has changed over the years. The changes we see in education are the result
of people thinking creatively to solve problems and coming up with new
ideas. Many times, these ideas do not take root immediately, but those who
are willing to take risks persevere and learn from the setbacks and failures
and will keep trying till their idea has been proven to work. You may have
experienced a situation in your own life as a teacher where you decided to
experiment with an idea. You may have gone through some moments of
trial and error, but with each attempt, you were able to refine and improve
your idea, and you discovered that it was, indeed, a good idea.
Lenas decision to bring an object to school was just one idea. By trying
it, she was able to demonstrate that it was a good one. She could have
considered many different ideas to get her students thinking creatively,
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83

such as having them do role-plays, giving them time to express what they
learned in a visual form, or even teaching outside of the classroom. All that
was needed was for Lena to take a risk on the ideas, and learn from any
failures that may come along the way. By doing what Lena has done, you
open yourself up to even more ideas. Together with the aspects of critical
thinking discussed earlier, this allows you to harness the power of creative
thinking, and potentially change both your life and the lives of your students for the better.
In the next section, we will examine tools to help you hone your critical and
creative thinking.

Lets Study
The PMI: A Powerful Thinking Tool
Edward De Bono (1982) provided a powerful thinking tool that you can
use to explore a subject. The thinking tool is called Plus, Minus, Interesting, or simply, PMI. Although this technique was developed in the 1980s,
it is still a powerful tool for generating many creative ideas to address challenges. You can do the PMI for a few minutes by yourself or with others
to explore a subject further before making any conclusions or forming an
opinion, or you can assist others in doing it. The steps in doing a PMI are
actually quite simple:
Step 1: Think about all the Plus or good points of the subject.

Think of as many good points as you can. Let the ideas flow even
if they may seem contrary or unconventional. Be open to each
idea and resist the temptation to judge any idea as you think of it.
Put it down on paper right away.

Step 2: Think about all the Minus or bad points of the subject.

Again, think of as many minus points as you can. Keep the ideas
flowing and do not immediately judge any of the ideas that you
come up with.

Step 3: Think of all the Interesting points.


You may put down all the points that are neither positive nor
negative under the interesting category. You can use a simple
phrase in scanning the interesting points by saying: It would be
interesting to see if

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The PMI is a very effective tool that you can use to scan and explore a topic.
It counteracts any tendency to immediately react and use your thinking to
support your prior judgments. The PMI can open up new possibilities for
you in terms of how you look at a subject and it can encourage others to
explore and scan a topic rather than dismissing the arguments of others in
defense of her or his opinion regarding the matter.
As a facilitator of learning and leader of instruction, you may consider
the PMI very useful in exploring new methods or different viewpoints.
For example, you or one of your colleagues proposes that, for certain
assessments, students be given the opportunity to construct the test
themselves. Some of your colleagues might consider this a radical idea
and dismiss it as crazy or strange, but you dont have to dismiss the
idea right away. You can use the PMI method to explore it further. You
may even discover that the idea has a lot of potential.
Lets take a look at how you might work out the idea above using PMI:
Idea: Allow students to construct their own tests
Plus: Less work for the teacher, students will know exactly what
to focus on for study, students will likely perform well on
the tests, teachers will get a better gauge of what the students
already know and understand, students will provide feedback
on the topics that interest them the most and the topics they find
difficult
Minus: Students may likely make the test too easy, teacher cant control
coverage of the subject matter on the test, standardization of
assessment is difficult across different classes
Interesting to see: level of difficulty the students will set for the test, the
coverage of the test, student motivation to study and perform
well, level of achievement of learning objectives
From this exercise, you might decide that the idea may indeed be worth
pursuing, given some refinement. You might decide that a prerequisite
for students creating the test would be that they should also be involved in
setting learning objectives and discussing the focus of the subject matter.
This will allow them to participate more in their own learning and may
make the subject matter more relevant to them, which should help motivate
them more.
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You may have realized that the PMI is a powerful tool for examining ideas
even those ideas that we might consider radical or crazy. By using
the PMI, we give every idea an opportunity to present itself and show its
potential. This is a critical skill for a 21st century teacher, and it is a skill that
we should encourage among our colleagues, friends and students.

Lets Try This (Activity 2.7)


In the previous section, you were shown how the PMI can help you evaluate
a seemingly strange idea and determine its potential for adoption. For
this activity, you will be given the opportunity to use the PMI to evaluate
a seemingly strange idea. You will need a pen and paper. Find a quiet
spot where you can think and give yourself five minutes to complete this
activity.
Use the PMI to scan and explore the following proposal:
To aid in learning, each house in the community should have a painted mural
depicting one key concept for a specific subject matter (like a mural of the solar
system or the water cycle).
Follow the guide for conducting the PMI given in the previous section.
First, look for the Plus or good points, then look for the Minus or bad points,
then look for the Interesting points.
When you are done with your own PMI, describe how it helped you
explore the topic further, and if it helped you change your feelings about
the subject. You may write your answers in the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
When you are done writing your insights, try gathering a group of
colleagues or family members together and try the same exercise with
them. Guide them through the steps in doing the PMI and ask them for
their insights when they are done.

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You may compare the results of your own PMI to those in the Key to
Correction on page 136.
Using this tool, were you able to explore the subject more? Chances are,
you were surprised at the number of ideas that you came up with, and
those ideas might have changed your feelings on the subject, or they may
have introduced perspective that you have never considered. Either way,
the use of the PMI will help you develop your thinking through scanning
and exploration of a topic, which can generate many more ideas. It will also
help you prepare for challenges that are completely new those which you
have not encountered in the past, which is a critical skill of a 21st century
teacher.
The following section will focus on a third productive habit of the mind
that is important in your effort to integrate higher order thinking skills into
your life as a teacher.

Lets Read
Previously, you read about two teachers who manifested critical and
creative thinking as productive habits of the mind. In the following passage,
you will be given a chance to read about another characteristic manifested
by Jo, a teacher from Vietnam. As you read the passage, take note of the
insights you gain, and try to describe the habit of the mind that Jo practices.
When Jo faces a new learning challenge, she figures out the best way for her to
learn that new subject matter. Jo is very aware of how she learns best, as she
has been conscious of observing her learning style in the past. She knows that
for her to learn a new topic in social studies, she needs to first read as much as
she can about the topic, and then come back to the topic and write her notes a
few days later. She does this because she knows that even if she is doing other
things, she will still be thinking about the topic and tying all the information
together.
Jo also takes feedback very seriously. She usually asks her school head about
her progress during her mentoring sessions, and she looks for and tests new
ways of learning in order to find out which is the most effective for her. Jo is
aware of how she learns, and she knows when she understands a topic or issue,
and when she needs more information.

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Were you able to describe the habit of mind that Jo practices? Jo manifests
a habit of mind called self-regulated thinking. She understands how her
mind works, and how she learns new things. She is also very aware of
her thinking process and can identify areas for improvement based on
feedback from others and her own observations. The ability to understand
ones own thinking is critical to integrating higher order thinking skills in
your life as a teacher. It is critical because it focuses on the very processes
that allow you to think critically and creatively. Read more about selfregulated thinking in the next section.

Lets Study
Self-Regulated Thinking
Many times you can be faced with situations in which you will be required
to learn about a topic, a problem, or even a certain issue. This can come in
the form of dealing with a new subject matter in your class, or with dealing
with a particular health problem in your community, or understanding a
critical issue in school or in class. In each case, one of the first things that
you need to do is learn more about the particular problem of situation.
In the previous section, one of the questions you were asked to consider
was how you might know that you understand or know something well
enough. You can do that through the concept of metacognition.
Metacognition is, simply put, thinking about your thinking (Livingston,
1997). You can also consider metacognition as the process of thinking
about how you learn, what you know, and what you dont know (Huitt,
1997). The term metacognition was first introduced by John H. Flavell
(1976) when he described how one can know about ones own cognitive
processes. Flavell described metacognition as the knowledge of ones own
mental processes or anything related to these mental processes. If, for
example, you notice that you have more difficulty learning science rather
than math or even two different topics within the same subject, then you
are engaging in metacognition (Flavell, 1976). Another example is, as you
read about a particular topic, you realize that you are accepting the facts
presented by the material without verifying their accuracy. When you are
conscious of how you think and how you learn, this is metacognition. In
Module 2 of this GURO21 Course, you can read more about metacognition
and how you can develop this in your students.

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Metacognition is a powerful tool for you to understand your own mind, your
learning processes, and how you think. The principles of metacognition
provide you with a guide on how to approach your own thinking and
learning. These processes are different in each individual; it is important to
understand that the processes used by one person to understand something
may not be the same processes that you use to understand the same thing.
You can get to know your own mental processes by asking yourself
questions related to your thinking and learning. Some of the questions you
can ask to help yourself know your own mental processes are listed below
(Adapted from Huitt, 1997).
1. Can I determine how well I know something? How do I determine
if I already understand something very well, or if I need to learn
more about the topic or issue?
2. Do I know what do I need to know?
3. Do I know where I can go to get the information or knowledge I
need to understand the topic, issue or problem better?
4. How much time will I need to learn this?
5. What are some strategies and tactics that I can use to learn this?
What activities or methods can I use to learn the subject matter
more effectively?
6. Did I understand what I just heard, read or saw?
7. How will I know if I am learning at an appropriate rate?
8. How can I spot an error if I make one?
9. How should I revise my plan if it is not working to my expectations/
satisfaction?
10. Where do I learn best? At what time? What are the things that
distract my mind often?
These are just some questions that you can ask yourself in order to
understand your mental processes better. When you have a good idea of
how you think and learn, you will be able to find effective ways to improve
your mental processes. You will be able to learn better, approach new
situations with more confidence, and determine what you need to do to
improve your understanding of a situation, topic, problem or issue.

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Lets Try This (Activity 2.8)


Using the principles of metacognition, think about a present topic or issue
that you need to learn more about. Then, using the questions below, determine how you learn best (adapted from Landsberger, 2010). You may
write your answer in the spaces provided after each question.
1. How interested am I in my topic?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

2. What competes for my attention or affects my dedication to learning


this?

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

3. What activities will help me enjoy learning this topic? (encircle the letter
of all that apply)
a. Reading

b. Solving Problems

c. Memorizing

d. Performing or reciting

e. Asking questions

f.

g. Studying alone or with a group

Using information from many sources

4. What do I already know about this topic?


_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

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5. What resources will I need to learn more?


_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Feedback
Were you able to answer all the questions? Do you now have a better idea
of how you think and learn? If you do, thats excellent! Understanding how
you think and learn about a topic, problem or situation is a critical part of
developing your thinking skills. For example, if the topic you need to learn
more about is reflective thinking as found on page 93 of this module,
then you need to know the place and time of day where and when you can
study best. If you can concentrate best at 5AM in your living room, then set
your study time and place accordingly. If you will understand the material
better using printed materials, make use of your print module. If you will
understand better using an interactive CD, get the interactive CD.
If you have no knowledge at all about the topic reflective thinking, look
forward to learning about it. If you already know something about this
topic, be ready to tap on what you already know and how you can apply
what new things you will know.
Discuss your responses with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.
You may also gain insights on how well you answered by reading the following section.

Lets Read
You can approach your learning in a number of ways:
Using a wide range of reference materials
You may want to begin reading a textbook on the subject matter,
and refer to more elementary textbooks when you encounter a
concept that you have difficulty understanding. If you have access
to the internet, you can make use of that to look for material that
will explain the concepts more clearly.

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91

Asking questions

You may find it effective to ask other peers or colleagues about the

concepts that you do not understand very well. Your colleagues

might be able to explain the concepts you are learning about using

examples and unique analogies.


Experimenting and demonstrating the concept
You may be the type of person who appreciates seeing the concept
in action. You can set up simple activities or experiments which
you can use to understand the idea better.

If you notice, there are many different ways to learn. By being conscious
of how you learn, you can find the method that works best for you. There
is no specific set of ways that is applicable to everyone. Different people
learn and understand in different ways, and metacognition can help one
find out how one can better understand a topic, subject, or issue facing
ones school, family or community.
You have seen how a tool like metacognition can help you learn more about
yourself. It can help you understand how you learn, what you know, and
how you come to know. Using metacognition, you can improve your understanding of the situations, problems and issues that you encounter in
your daily life. Once you have a better understanding of those situations,
problems and issues, you can then begin analyzing them and formulating
ideas and courses of action using critical and creative thinking, which will
be the focus of the following sections.

Lets Study
Reflective Thinking and Asking the Right Questions
You can continue learning and improve your thinking skills in many ways.
In the previous activity, you probably thought of a number of ways by which
you could continue learning and practicing critical and creative thinking.
The concepts and tools introduced to you in the previous sections are only
a few of the many thinking tools that you can use to develop your thinking.
Two other methods that you can use to develop your own thinking skills
are reflective thinking and asking the right questions.

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Reflective Thinking
Reflective thinking involves stepping back and looking at how you solved a
particular problem or how you approached a particular situation. You can
use reflective thinking to determine what you did right and what you did
wrong in a particular situation. By assessing your actions and thoughts,
you will be able to see other alternatives that you did not consider at the
time. This wisdom will aid you the next time a similar situation or problem
comes up.
When you exercise reflective thinking, you are aware of and actively participate in your thought processes. Being aware of your own thought processes is an important part of developing higher order thinking skills and
in solving problems. Reflective thinking is most helpful in problem-solving
situations because it provides you with an opportunity to step back and
think about how you actually solve problems as well as how your strategies in problem-solving helps achieve your goal. It is important for you to
exercise reflective thinking and develop strategies to apply new knowledge to the complex situations in your daily activities.
One of the most effective ways by which you can develop reflective thinking
is by keeping a journal. When you keep a journal, you can preserve your
thoughts, feelings and actions at a particular point in time and reflect on
them later. Keeping a journal allows you to revisit your thought process,
and determine how you could have approached the situation better. You
can also use the journal as a tool to solve present problems you can use it
to take notes of the situation and jot down your thoughts and ideas so you
dont forget them. Many times, it is a seemingly unrelated idea that will
help you find a good solution to a problem.
In your life as a teacher, keeping a journal is helpful, too. Your reflections and
ideas that you have jotted down in your journal about your observations in
class how your students behave, how they learn, and what lessons they like
best, for example may provide you with insights on addressing behavioral
problems that may arise in your classroom. For example, there may be some
students who are not paying attention in class and are being disruptive at
times. You may write all your observations of the students behavior, how
you addressed it, and the impact of your action on the student. Later on,
you can go back to what you have written, reflect on it, and think about
ways to better address similar behavioral problems in your class. Thus,
keeping a journal is also a very powerful tool in problem solving.
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Lets Think About This


Can you think of other ways a journal can help improve your thinking,
decision-making, or problem-solving skills? Write down your thoughts in
the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Discuss your ideas with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor. How
do your answers compare with theirs? How might you have improved
your answers or the way you approached the question? In short, how
might you have improved the quality of your thinking? Write down any
insights you may have from this example of reflective thinking.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
You have just learned about reflective thinking as a powerful thinking
tool. In the next section, you will study another tool that will help you in
developing your higher level thinking skills. Read on and find out what
this is.

Lets Read
Asking the Right Questions
A journal provides you with a means to perform effective reflective thinking at your own convenience. When you use a journal, you can reflect on a
specific situation or problem at a time in the future when you can relax and
give yourself time to reflect.

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Do you know that using a journal to record your thinking process can be
made much more effective by the act of asking important questions to guide
your thinking? Asking the right questions is another powerful thinking
tool that can help you solve problems or make wise decisions. Elder and
Paul (2002) present a number of ways you can reflect on a problem or situation and develop your thinking:
When you dont understand something, ask questions to clarify
until you are confident that you understand the problem or situation
very well and you can see it from different sides. For example, if
you are discussing a problem in your school about implementing
a particular program, you can ask questions that will help you
understand what the main problem is, and how the students,
parents and your co-teachers see the problem.
When you are going to discuss a problem or situation, try thinking
of the questions that you need to answer during the discussion.
This will help you start the discussion with a number of alternatives
that people build on. For example, if you want to propose a new set
of instructional strategies to your colleagues, you can think of the
following questions that might need to be answered:
o Is the instructional strategy applicable to the subject matter?
o Are the teachers prepared to implement this new strategy?
o What is required of both the teachers and students in implementing this strategy?
o How will we measure the effectiveness of the strategy?
Assess the questions that you ask for relevance. You can also use
the criteria below to check the questions that you are asking to see
if they are relevant, or if they need to be modified in order to be
more effective in helping people discuss the problem and explore
different alternatives:
o What precise question are we trying to answer?
o Is that the best question to ask in this situation?
o Is there a more important question we should be addressing?
o Does this question capture the real issue we are facing?

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o Is there a question we should answer before we attempt to


answer this question?
o What information do we need to answer the question?
o What conclusions seem justified in light of the facts?
o What is our point of view? Do we need to consider another?
o Is there another way to look at the question?
o What are some related questions we need to consider?

Lets Think About This


Can you think of a situation you encountered as a teacher where you needed
to rephrase or modify a question that you asked in order to get a more
relevant and meaningful answer? Did the rephrasing of the question result
in more clarity regarding the problem or situation? Write your answers in
the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Discuss your answer with your co-learners and Flexible Learning Tutor.
Have you gained new insights about reflective thinking and asking the right
questions as powerful thinking tools that you can use in your daily life and
in your life as a teacher? You may have realized that these two thinking tools
go hand-in-hand. Reflection necessarily involves the asking of questions to
evaluate the quality of ones thinking. By asking the right questions, you
can be more critical about your decisions and your thinking process. This
will help you pinpoint areas for improvement in your thinking, so you can
focus your efforts on addressing those weak areas. By using a journal to
record your thoughts, you can reflect on your own thinking at a convenient
time, and when you can step back and take a look at the situation as a
whole with the consequences of different courses of action. This will help
you identify better strategies for dealing with a similar situation later on, or
it can help you identify patterns and common elements of problems so you
can deal with future problems with confidence.

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Lets Try This (Activity 2.9)


Practice doing reflective thought with the aid of a journal. You may use
a sheet of paper for this activity. Go to a quiet place and think about a
present situation you are facing as a teacher that requires you to make a
decision. The situation should be one that requires a lot of thinking on your
part. It should be the type of decision that has no easy answer and which
requires you to think of several alternative courses of action.
Describe the situation in your journal and, as a first question, think about
what the desired outcome is for the situation. Then, think about the different
questions you need to ask in order to see the situation more clearly, or to
see it from different perspectives. On another sheet of paper, list down the
important questions you need to ask.
Once you have identified all the questions that you feel are essential to
understanding and solving the situation, do an analysis of the situation
and write down your thoughts regarding the problem, the alternatives,
and what you feel the best solution might be.
When you are done jotting down your notes, you can discuss your answers
with a trusted colleague or mentor. Discuss the problem and take note
of any ideas or feedback your colleague may have. Use that feedback to
generate additional alternatives for addressing the situation.
You may also discuss your insights on this activity with your co-learners
and Flexible Learning Tutor.

Lets Study
A Powerful Visual Tool to Help You Think
In the previous section, you learned about reflective thinking and the
importance of asking the right questions. Through the use of a diary, you
can take notes regarding your own thinking and find areas of improvement.
You can also use a diary to help you think through problems or situations
as you formulate decisions or look for new approaches for dealing with
the situation. While keeping a thinking journal may be helpful to you in
your quest for improving your thinking skills, sometimes you may need
to see the problem visually. In this section, we will discuss a tool called

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97

idea or concept mapping, which can be a tremendous help in visualizing a


problem or situation and seeing the relationships between the different
aspects of the problem. Creating an idea map allows you to take advantage
of your creativity when examining and solving problems.
Idea mapping is a powerful tool you can use to explore ideas and problems
in a visual way. Many times, individuals will not think about an issue,
situation or problem in a linear way; that is, people usually do not think of
the problem step-by-step in their minds. Maybe you have noticed sometimes
that your mind often races when you are thinking about a problem or how
to structure your lesson plan. If you are conscious of your thought process,
you will notice that your mind will usually jump from topic to topic, or
explore completely different alternatives one after the other. This is our
mind working in a non-linear way. Idea mapping harnesses that natural
tendency of our minds to jump from thought to thought through a process
where you can take note of all the ideas that come to your mind and relate
them towards a central topic.
The advantage of using idea mapping is that it allows you to think freely
and write down ideas as they come, without having to follow a linear
structure. You can further refine the relationships between ideas by
connecting them with other ideas. That way, you can create a big picture
of a problem in a relatively short time. You will also find that when you use
idea mapping, you will discover relationships between ideas that may not
become apparent if you follow a linear method of thinking.
Lets look at the steps in building an idea map. The example on the next
page is an idea map created by Azura, a teacher from Malaysia. She uses
concept maps to help prepare her lesson plan. This particular concept map
is for her lesson on the Solar System.
How do you create an idea map? First, write down the central topic and
encircle it. Next, identify your main thoughts about the topic. Draw one
branch from the main topic for each of these thoughts these are your
primary thoughts or key concepts about the subject. By doing this you are
creating a relationship between these key words and the central concept.
Dont worry about listing them all down now as you develop your idea
map, you might think of more key concepts you can connect to your main
thought. In the example on the next page, the main thoughts or key concepts
are: exploration of the solar system, life in the solar system, the planets, the
sun, and the universe.

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Sample Mind Map: Solar System


Mercury

Jupiter

Venus

Saturn

Earth

Uranus

Mars

Neptune
What are all the
planets like?
What about Pluto? Why is it no
longer considered
a proper planet?

Manned
exploration
Space probes

Is Earth the only


planet with life?

Finding
another planet
to live on

Exploration

What are the conditions for life on


a planet?

Planets

Solar System

Sun
Life as we know it :
impossible without
the sun
Stages of the
suns life cycle

Universe
Vast: distance
in light years
Many solar
systems
Theories of
creation

Millions of years

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As you are identifying your main thoughts, you may suddenly think of
some secondary thoughts or concepts related to one main thought. Go
ahead and create a branch from the main thought to the secondary thoughts.
In the example above, the secondary thoughts of the main thought life
are: what sustains life and a question as to whether life on other planets is
possible. As you do this, you will see that you are building a web of ideas
quickly. You dont need to build one main idea through to the end before
you work on the others.
The beauty of idea mapping is that you can jump from one main idea to
another as you think of things. Below are some other ways you can build
your idea map:
You can connect the different ideas with arrows in order to illustrate
the relationship between ideas better. You can choose to label or
describe the relationship if you like.
You can put drawings or use different colors for each strand
of thought to help refine the visual nature of the map. Using
drawings and other colors may trigger more ideas and help you see
relationships much better
Work until you are satisfied that you have covered a lot of ideas. You can
use the mind-mapping tool in any number of ways: to summarize lessons
for your students, as a tool in reflective thinking, or as a way to take notes
or summarize something that you have just read or studied.
Idea maps are not only useful in helping you develop your lesson plans.
They can also be great tools in analyzing problems and possible alternatives.
An idea map can help you see relationships between elements of a problem
or issue that may not be readily apparent. Idea maps are good ways to
explore topics or issues in a visual way, where you are free to let your
mind wander and jump from topic to topic. This frees you from the need to
capture your thoughts linearly one by one in a certain order and allows
you to capture not only a greater number of ideas, but also to discover
important relationships between them. This will help you understand
problems and issues with more clarity and help you find a good solution.
Can you think of how you can use an idea map in your own life as a teacher?
In the next section you will have the opportunity to create your own idea map.

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Lets Try This (Activity 2.10)


In the previous section you were asked to think about a present situation
you are facing as a teacher that requires you to make a decision. You were
asked to take notes and write a journal entry regarding the situation.
For this activity, create an idea map for the problem. Remember to let your
ideas flow you dont need to complete one strand of thought before you
start another. Just let the ideas connect themselves to other ideas on the
map. You are encouraged to be creative draw, use different color pens or
crayons if you like.

Feedback
When you are done with your idea map, show it to another trusted colleague
who was not part of your earlier discussion regarding the situation.
Ask your colleague if s/he can get a good idea of the situation and the
alternatives for dealing with that situation. If your colleague can get a good
grasp of your ideas and how they are interconnected, that means your idea
map is clear and effective. If your colleague needs to clarify some of the
ideas on the map, use this as an opportunity to refine the map further. You
can ask that colleague if there are any aspects of the situation you did not
consider or if there are any essential questions that need to be answered.
When you are done with your idea map, compare yours to the one on page
137 in the Key to Correction.
An idea map is a very useful tool in harnessing how our mind usually
works. That is, it allows us to think of many different ideas at once without
having to keep some on hold while we consider each one. We can write
them all down and then find the relationships between them. Other uses
for idea maps are the following:
For collecting your thoughts prior to writing an essay, story, or report
idea maps are a useful tool that you can use to collect and organize your
thoughts prior to writing. Using an idea or concept map can allow you
to explore certain themes of a topic before you actually begin writing.
With an idea map, you can exhaust all your thoughts on a topic, and
then organize them in an outline.

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Can you think of an opportunity where you can use an idea map for
collecting your thoughts as a teacher? Write your answers in the space
provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
For taking notes in a non-linear manner you can use an idea map
to take notes in a manner that is random or does not follow a specific
pattern. Many times, a lecture or discussion does not follow a strict
progression, but the lecturer or the participants in the discussion often
jump from one point to another. An idea map can allow you to capture
these discussions in a way that you can interpret clearly later on.
Can you think of opportunities where using concept maps for random
note-taking might be useful to you or your students? Write your answers
in the space provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
All the methods we discussed so far are powerful tools you can use to
develop your thinking. You have learned some very powerful creative and
critical thinking techniques that you can put into practice in your daily life
as a teacher. One thing to note, however, is that these tools must go hand
in hand with a commitment to keep learning. Lifelong learning is one of
the key aspects of developing your thinking, and you can continue to learn
and hone your thinking by taking advantage of the different tools that are
available to you.
In the next section, we will talk more about lifelong learning, and how
different tools can help you increase your knowledge and refine your
thinking through research.

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Lets Think About This


Think about the different ways you can gather data, find information
about a topic, and improve your thinking skills as you look at the drawings
below. The drawings represent different ways of finding information and
improving your thinking skills. Look at each drawing and determine what
kind of method for lifelong learning it describes and how you would use it
to develop your own thinking as a teacher. Write your answers in the space
beside each drawing.
Lifelong Learning Method

Were you able to describe the different methods for lifelong learning
depicted above? How are you able to use each of these methods in your
own life as a teacher?

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103

Feedback
The pictures above describe some of the different ways a teacher can gather
data, discuss ideas, and develop his or her own thinking. The first picture
depicts books, magazines and newspapers, which may be the most common
source of information and which are relatively accessible to a majority of
the population. You can use newspapers to examine issues and practice
critical and creative thinking both among your peers and in the classroom.
Books, both new and old, can provide you with an opportunity to learn
and evaluate new ideas, and examine if old ideas are still valid in this day
and age. The second picture depicts discussion between two people. In
an earlier section of this module, you learned that critical thinking occurs
within a cultural context, and culture means that thoughts and practices
are shared by several people. Discussions with peers and students are very
important to developing your thinking skills. Through discussions, you
can learn about multiple viewpoints on an issue. You can also help create a
culture of thinking by making this a habit.
In the final picture, you saw a person on a computer. This describes how
a teacher can make use of Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) available to him or her in order to gather data that would normally
be difficult to access. Using the internet, for example, is a great way to
discover new ideas and to gather information about other parts of the
world. Through the use of ICT, you can make connections with other
teachers around the world and learn about different instructional strategies
these teachers use. You can learn from them and they can learn from you.
This course is one example of the use of ICT in the development of ones
thinking. This GURO21 course allows you to connect to other teachers and
discover many new things through the websites that have been suggested
for further reading.
Using these tools in combination with your research into other methods
and tools for improving your thinking will surely help you focus your time
and efforts on those which are most relevant to you. You can also use your
critical and creative thinking skills to filter and evaluate the information that
you gather through the use of ICT. You can develop your thinking through
the use of ICT in two ways: one way is to use ICT to discover new ideas, and
the other is to use critical and creative thinking to sort through the seemingly
endless amount of information that ICT tools give you access to. The next
section looks more closely at how ICT can help you improve your thinking.

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Lets Try This (Activity 2.11)


Read the critical incident below and then answer the questions that follow.
Critical Incident
Rima, a teacher from Indonesia, is now learning how to use Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) in order to find information and discover
new ideas that will help her create more stimulating lessons. She goes to many
different websites and learns some interesting ideas in teaching mathematics.
She takes notes on several different methods for teaching fractions, and then she
posts a message on a discussion board asking for some advice from other teachers
on how to successfully implement these techniques in her class. She explains that
their school does not have all the materials that are suggested in the methodology,
and she asks about other materials she can use. After one day, she sees that several
teachers have replied to her message. They are teachers from all over Southeast
Asia. A few teachers have tried those methods and they suggest certain materials
or problems that might be more relevant to the students. After posting her reply
on the discussion board, she emails her peers regarding what she has learned, so
they will all be informed about this new idea for teaching fractions.
One day, she was doing research when she came across a site which had some
strange ideas. She read the site and decided that, while some of the ideas were
good, there were other ideas that she did not agree with. She compared the ideas
she read on one site with those on another site, which was maintained by one
of the national universities in Southeast Asia. There were some claims made
by the first site which, upon further investigation, turned out to be erroneous.
Rima was able to use her critical thinking to determine if the site was useful
or not.

1. Enumerate the ways by which Rima was able to use ICT as a teacher?
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

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105

2. Do you think that the use of ICT enabled Rima to use higher order
thinking skills? Explain your answer.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Feedback
The critical incident that you have just read illustrates how ICT might
be used in enriching our thinking skills. Read on and learn more about
ICT and its role in further enhancing thinking skills. If your answers are
similar to the ones on the next section, congratulations for a job well done.
If your answers are different, share and discuss them with your co-learners
and Flexible Learning Tutor. After all, they might be counter-intuitive
responses.

Lets Study
The Role of Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) in the Development
of your Thinking Skills
In this day and age, you can utilize a powerful tool to help you keep up
to date with trends and new ways of thinking. By using information and
communication technology, you can continually learn and improve how
you think and how you make decisions, as in the case of Rima presented in
the previous critical incident. In what ways did Rima use ICT? These are
as follows:
1. For finding information and discovering new ideas
2. For connecting with other teachers and learning from them
3. For sharing with colleagues what she learned
4. For conducting literature research
5. For verifying or validating concepts

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Based on the many uses Rima had of ICT, it can be said that she used HOTS.
Discovering new ideas is a result of creativity, a high level thinking skill.
Verifying or validating information from varied sources calls for analyzing
the elements of information and is undoubtedly a higher order thinking skill.
The information and insights that you gather from the internet have the
potential to improve your thinking skills in many ways. In fact, Macklin
(2007) enumerates seven important problem-solving and critical thinking
aspects of ICT skills. These are as follows:
1. Defining an information need
2. Accessing information from appropriate information sources
3. Evaluating
4 Organizing selected information
5. Managing information
6. Creating new information
7. Communicating new information

Lets Try This (Activity 2.12)


Let us see how well you can make out the meaning in each problem-solving
and critical thinking aspects of ICT by matching the skills with their respective examples. In the table on the next page, draw a line that connects the
examples to the critical thinking aspects of ICT.

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107

Critical
Thinking
Aspect of ICT
1. Defining

Example

A. Mamur weighed the value of the various


information he gathered from different
websites before deciding which one to use.

2. Accessing

B. Mariam submitted a write-up about an


effective teaching method she uses to an
online journal in order to share her findings
with other teachers.

3. Evaluating

C. Mr. Roslin created bookmarks of websites


he found very useful and hell be using
over again.

4. Organizing

D. Wai makes sure that in spite of the many


ideas running in his mind, he has clearly
determined the specific topic he needs to
find using the internet.

5. Managing

E. To deal with the volume of literature that


you most need and refer to, you need
to accurately record information of the
literature (author, year of publication,
title of book/article, place and name of
publisher).

6. Creating

F. Desy decided that because she is writing


a proposal to be submitted to UNESCO,
it would be best to get literature from
professional online journals and websites
of government and respected agencies than
from Wikis and personal blogs.

7. Communicating

G. Pedro synthesized the information he gathered from various websites in order to come
up with a new theory relative to the topic.

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Feedback
How well did you match the aspects of ICT skills with the situations? Compare your answers with mine below. Are your answers similar with mine?
If so, you have done well! It means that you already know how ICT can
help develop your own thinking skills.
Critical
Thinking
Aspect of ICT
1. Defining

Example
A. Mamur weighed the value of the various
information he gathered from different
websites before deciding which one to use.

2. Accessing

B. Mariam submitted a write-up about an


effective teaching method she uses to an
online journal in order to share her findings
with other teachers.

3. Evaluating

C. Mr. Roslin created bookmarks of websites he


found very useful and hell be using over again.

4. Organizing

D. Wai makes sure that in spite of the many


ideas running in his mind, he has clearly
determined the specific topic he needs to find
using the internet.

5. Managing

E. To deal with the volume of literature that you


most need and refer to, you need to accurately
record information of the literature (author,
year of publication, title of book/article, place
and name of publisher).

6. Creating

F. Desy decided that because she is writing a proposal to be submitted to UNESCO, it would
be best to get literature from professional online journals and websites of government and
respected agencies than from Wikis and personal blogs.

7. Communicating

G. Pedro synthesized the information he gathered from various websites in order to come
up with a new theory relative to the topic.
Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

109

Once you become more confident in using ICT tools to improve your thinking skills, you will be able to help your students develop their thinking
skills as well as use ICT.
With the myriad of seemingly limitless information available in the Internet, it is important that you are able to sort out information that you find.
The next section focuses on how you can do that well.

Lets Read
How to Sort Out Information from the Internet
Have you experienced receiving emails from your friends warning you
about an epidemic of diseases or that you will win a computer if you forward the email to 50 other people? Emails and text messages containing
information such as these have been going around the internet for quite
some time. While the internet provides access to seemingly limitless information, you still have to be cautious about how you deal with this information. The information on the internet is created by millions of people,
and sometimes the data you come across may not be completely accurate;
in fact, it may even be misleading. So, as instructional leaders who utilize
ICT, you need to use your critical thinking to evaluate the information you
get from the internet.
How do you sort through all the information that you find on the internet?
First you need to approach gathering data from the internet with the mindset
that much of the data on the internet is created by users who may or may not
have authority on certain topics. Because of this, it is easy to take information from one website and not know that it is inaccurate or misleading. You
can avoid this by following the guidelines below on evaluating information
found on the web, adapted from the Empire State College (ESC) State University of New York.
Evaluating information found on the web (and anywhere else, for that matter) boils down to those classic journalistic questions: Who? What? When?
Where? Why?

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Who?
- Who is creator of this content? Is this a person? An organization?
A company? A government entity?
- What are their credentials and experience in the field?
What?
- What kind of content is it? Entertainment? Opinion? News? An
advertisement? Propaganda? An online version of a published
article or book? A scientific report? Data? Someones personal
musings?
- Is it factually correct? Compare it with other sources that you know
to be reliable.
- Does it cite its sources?
When?
- Is the content up to date? When was the content created? When was
it last updated?
Where?
- Where is the content creator coming from, in terms of corporate
affiliations? Government affiliations? Organizational affiliations?
- Does the content creator have personal, ideological, political, or
financial ties that might create bias?
Why?
- Why was the content created and made available? Can you trust the
agenda behind it? Agendas fall into four categories (PEAS):
- Persuade
- Educate
- Advocate
- Sell
Once you have developed the skill of exercising critical and analytical
thinking in evaluating information and using ICT tools, you will be more
confident in helping your students develop this skill in themselves as well.

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111

Lets Think About This


Can you recall the productive habits of the mind that you have learned in
this lesson? If you mentioned that these include applying critical thinking
and creative thinking in your daily life and in your life as a teacher, then
you are correct! In addition, you also learned other thinking tools, such as
using the Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI) technique, reflective thinking, and
self-regulated thinking that will help develop your higher order thinking
skills.
Take a few minutes to reflect on how well you integrate and apply these
thinking tools to your daily life and work as a 21st century teacher. Do you
see yourself as someone who applies these thinking tools to your daily life
and work? How do you plan to enhance these thinking skills so that you
can, in turn, help your students develop these skills as well? Write your
reflections in the space below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
Wow! That was quite a number of tools for enhancing your higher order
thinking skills! It is hoped that after going through the different activities
of this lesson, you would have developed a schema for tapping and applying your HOTS as a teacher in your daily life.

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Lets Remember
In this lesson, you learned that:
There are different tools for developing thinking skills. Some of these
are:
Metacognition, which involves thinking about your own thinking.
When you practice metacognition, you understand better how you
learn and how you think. Knowing this, you can adapt to different
situations to maximize your learning and understanding of a
subject.
Critical thinking, which includes seeking clarity and examining
statements as to their truth value.
Asking questions, which should be done when statements are
vague, and by asking for definitions when statements are ambiguous
or are understood differently by different people.
Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI), which helps in weighing the pros
and cons and implications of a decision.
Reflective thinking, which helps you assess your actions and
thoughts to help in your decision making.
Idea mapping, which involves exploring ideas and problems in a
visual way.
The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools
also helps in the development of HOTS. There are seven important
problem-solving and critical thinking aspects of ICT:
1. Defining an information need
2. Accessing information from appropriate information sources
3. Evaluating
4. Organizing selected information
5. Managing information
6. Creating new information
7. Communicating new information

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How Much Have You Learned From This


Lesson?
To see how much you have learned from this lesson, follow the instructions
below. There are two parts to this assessment. Answer the questions below. You may write your answer in the space provided after each question.
1. How can metacognition help you improve your thinking skills?
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
2. Read the following statements. For each statement, use the critical
thinking methods discussed in this lesson to determine if the question
is vague or ambiguous, and think of questions you might ask to make
the statements clearer and more accurate.
a. Your school head calls you into his office and says, I will conduct an
observation of your class tomorrow because you need to improve.
How would you clarify this statement with the school head?

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________
b. You overheard some students say that Mr. Donato is a fun teacher.
Does this give you a good idea of Mr. Donatos performance? How
would you clarify this statement with the students?

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

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c. The teaching methods need to become more progressive


______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
3. Use the PMI to explore the following proposal: a 4-hour detention for
students who break school policies
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
4. Create a mind map for the following: Changing my instructional
strategy for science. Use the space below to write your answer.

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115

5. Read the following case. After reading the case, answer the questions
that follow.

Anh is an elementary teacher in Vietnam. She has been asked by her school
head to do a study on the performance of the 6th grade classes at her school.
The school head had received feedback from the high school that the students
from her school are not performing as well as expected. Anh needs to make an
evaluation of the teaching methods, identify problems, and suggest possible
solutions to address the problems. She is convinced that the performance is
related to test scores, so she begins her study by looking at test scores for
the subjects in question. Since they seem to be hovering a little bit below the
national average mark, she decides something must be done to improve the
retention of the subject matter by the students. She writes a lengthy statistical
description of the performance of the students and submits this to the school
head. In it she suggests that the students be given more opportunities for
hands-on learning and remedial classes to master content.

a. Evaluate Anhs approach to the problem. Do you think it is the best way
to conduct the research? Explain your answer.
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
b. If you were the one conducting the research, how would you do it
creatively?
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

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c. Can Anh use ICT in conducting the research? In what ways?


______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Feedback
How did you find the assessment? Were you able to use the thinking tools
discussed in this lesson and apply them effectively? Compare your answers to those in the Key to Correction on pages 138-142. If you got all the
answers correct, congratulations! If you missed some of the items, go back
and review the topics in the lesson and rectify your answers accordingly.
You have now successfully completed this module on the development of
your thinking skills. You now have a good idea on how to improve your
thinking and a very useful set of tools you can use in thinking more creatively and critically and in making better decisions.
You are encouraged to share what you know with your family members,
peers and colleagues. In Module 2 of this Course, Developing Higher Order
Thinking Skills (HOTS) in Students, you will have an opportunity to learn
more about HOTS in the classroom and share your learning with your students. Part of being a 21st century teacher is to share wisdom and knowledge with those around us. By doing this, you will be giving your part in
developing a thinking culture in your home, school, and community. Good
luck and have fun thinking critically!

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Lets Sum Up
In this module, your learned that:
Developing your critical thinking skills as a teacher is the first step in
building and promoting a thinking culture in your school, home and
community. In this module, you were introduced to several tools that
will allow you to examine, assess, and improve your own thinking as
a teacher. If you practice them in your daily life, you will soon notice
that you will take a different approach to many of the situations you
face in your life as a teacher. You will be able to examine problems
from many perspectives and generate different alternative solutions
for these problems. This will help you tremendously in your role as
a teacher, because it will give you the skill to develop your teaching
and in turn develop the thinking of your students, peers and fellow
community members.
The path to developing your thinking skills is a fun and exciting one.
As you go through this continuing process, share your knowledge and
wisdom with others, so you can build a strong foundation for a thinking
culture in your home, school and community!

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How Much Have You Learned From This


Module?
Answer the questions below to test what you have learned in this module.
1. Rama is preparing a presentation on creating a thinking culture in
school to give her colleagues. Help Rama prepare for the presentation
by creating an idea map for the idea of a thinking culture. You may use
the space below to write your answer.

2. Lae and Noi, two high school teachers, want to develop the thinking
skills of their students, but each is approaching it differently. Lae asks
her students to read a lot of material and then tests them with individual
work like essays and assignments. Noi tries to encourage thinking in
her classroom by asking thought-provoking questions and having the
students pair off and discuss their answers. Using the concepts you
learned in this module, compare the approaches of the two teachers.
Which one do you feel will be more effective in cultivating a thinking
culture in their classroom and why?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

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119

3. Tranh wants to help his students begin thinking critically and creatively.
He is used to relying on traditional lecture method in teaching his
students, and he does not know how to effectively integrate thinking
skills into his lessons. He develops his lesson plans based on the use of
lectures as the principal instructional strategy. What first steps can he
take to prepare himself to introduce higher order thinking skills in his
classes?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
4. What do you think would be one of the biggest challenges you will face
in assessing and developing your own thinking skills? Of all the aspects
of both critical and creative thinking, which ones do you feel you need
the most effort in developing? Can you think of some creative ways to
help develop those aspects of your thinking?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
5. What are the areas in your teaching where you can immediately apply
the concepts you learned in this module? Which particular concepts
can you already use in your life as a teacher, and what are your ideas
regarding how you will translate these concepts into action plans?

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

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Feedback
You can check your answers in the Key to Correction on pages 142-146.
How did you do? If your answers were similar to the ones in the key to corrections, that means you learned a lot from this module! Congratulations!
You are now ready to begin integrating higher thinking skills in your life
as a teacher. With these skills, you will not only grow as a teacher, but you
will be able to help your students become better thinkers as well.
In the next section, you will revisit the self-competency checklist you filled
out at the start of the module.

How Do You Rate Yourself Now?


For a final check, may I invite you to return to the Self-Competency Checklist on
pages 10-11. Review the list of competencies again and place another check
mark ( ) in the appropriate POST column that best describes your level
of mastery for each competency now that you have finally completed the
module. Compare your current competency level with your competency
level before going through this module and reflect how much you have
learned. You can write your insights in the spaces provided below.
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
How did you rate yourself on the competency checklist? Are you now more
proficient in the areas you originally identified as areas for improvement?
If you are more confident about your thinking abilities, thats excellent!
Remember that this module is the start of a lifelong journey of learning
and continual development of your thinking skills. If there are still areas
where you feel you need to improve more, dont worry. With time and
practice, you will soon find yourself proficient in many of the thinking
skills discussed here.

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121

In conclusion, developing your critical thinking skills as a teacher is the first


step in building and promoting a thinking culture in your school, home and
community. In this module, you were introduced to thinking tools that will
allow you to examine, assess, and improve your own thinking as a teacher.
If you practice them in your daily life, you will soon notice that you will
take a different approach to many of the situations you face in your life as
a teacher. You will be able to examine problems from many perspectives
and generate different alternative solutions for these problems. This will
help you tremendously in your role as a teacher, because it will give you
the skill to develop your teaching, and in turn develop the thinking of your
students, peers and fellow community members.
The path to developing your thinking skills is a fun and exciting one. As
you go through this continuing process, share your knowledge and wisdom
with others, so you can build a strong foundation for a thinking culture in
your home, school and community!

Lets Apply What Youve Learned


Module Assignment
Please follow these instructions:
1. Identify the thinking areas that are critical to a 21st century teacher
by writing them on the first column in the table on the next page. An
example of a thinking area is critical thinking.
2. On the second column, rate your level of skill in the different thinking
areas as to whether your skill is a) strong, b) adequate, c) needs
improvement.
3. On the third column, describe what specifically you can do to enhance
or improve the specific thinking area.
4. Write a report of at least 500 words describing the insights you gained
from completing the table on how to further develop your higher order
thinking skills (HOTS). Submit this table and your report to your
Flexible Learning Tutor for evaluation and feedback.

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How do I rate my
skill in this
Thinking Area

area? (Strong,
Adequate, Needs
Improvement)

What can I do to
improve or
enhance my skill
in this area?

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123

Key to Correction
What Do You Already Know? pages 5-9
1.a.

What is a thinking culture?

A thinking culture describes a situation where members of an


organization or society approach problems in systematic and
creative ways, and use information to evaluate and decide on
appropriate courses of action, solve problems, and make decisions.

1.b. Why is it necessary to promote a thinking culture in your home, school,


and community?

It is important to promote a thinking culture in our school, home


and community because given the rapid changes occurring in
the world today, we need specific skills to help us adapt to these
changes. Developing our thinking skills is a critical step we can take
to developing a thinking culture and preparing for any changes the
future will bring.

2.a.

Briefly describe higher order thinking skills (HOTS).


Higher order thinking skills (HOTS) refer to the last three skills
in the Revised Blooms Taxonomy - analyzing, evaluating, and
creating. These involve thinking that goes beyond mere recall of
facts and information as well as the skillful and careful analysis
and assessment of information. Modes of thinking associated with
HOTS include critical thinking and creative thinking.

2.b.

What is the importance of HOTS in your daily life and life as a

teacher of the 21st century?

Here is a sample answer.

HOTS are important in my daily life and life as a 21st century


teacher. HOTS help me address issues and solve problems that
require critical and creative thinking. HOTS help me better facilitate
learning and allow me to evaluate different kinds of information
and teaching methods that I can use in the classroom. HOTS also
help me create new and engaging ways to teach my students.

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3.a. What

type

of

thinking

skills

were

manifested

by

Aressis

students? Explain your answer.


Here is a sample answer.

The students of Aressi were very well-versed in the facts of a


particular subject. This type of thinking - memorization of facts
- is a lower thinking skill. The students also did not have many
opportunities in school to practice critical and creative thinking.

3.b.

If you were Aressi, how would you go about developing both your
thinking skills and the thinking skills of your students?

Here is a sample answer.

If I were Aressi, I would first make an assessment of my own thinking


skills to determine which areas of critical and creative thinking I
need to improve. This self-assessment will help guide me in my
own plan of action for developing my own thinking. I would look
for different materials in print and on the internet that would help
me develop my thinking. I would look for different techniques that
I could use, and I would integrate these into my lessons so that my
students and I would have the opportunity to develop our thinking
and create a thinking culture in our classroom.

4.a . What are the things Deepa can do to create a different approach in teaching
the lesson and become more creative with her instructional strategy?

Here is a sample answer.

Deepa can look for an object to bring to school that can trigger
wonder, questioning and discussion among her students. One
example of this would be to bring a mortar and pestle that the
students could take turns using. This could be a springboard for
a thinking routine that allows the students to think, wonder and
explore the subject matter through the contemplation of the object.
Deepa can use the mortar and pestle to discuss farming practices
and how they have influenced community organization and culture,
for example.

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125

4.b.

List down specific ways Deepa can effectively use the computer to develop
her thinking skills and teach her subject in new ways. Write your answer
in the space provided below.

Deepa can use the internet to develop her thinking and her lesson
plans in a number of ways:
Researching methods for teaching on websites
Joining and discussing methods with peers from across the
world on discussion boards
Using email to contact experts in the field and colleagues in other
districts to seek guidance in implementing certain instructional
strategies.

5.a.

How can developing your higher order thinking skills help you become a
better teacher?

Here is a sample answer.

Developing higher order thinking skills can definitely help me


become a better teacher. One of my critical roles is to help my
students develop their thinking skills, so they can deal with new
and unique problems and situations with confidence. Developing
our critical and creative thinking will also help us as teachers,
because it will allow us to analyze problems and find creative and
effective ways to improve both the way we approach instruction
and the way we handle different situations in our lives.

5.b

What specific skills do you possess as a teacher that are related to thinking
and a thinking culture?

Here is a sample answer.

I am very open to improving my skills as a teacher. I welcome


opportunities to assess my thinking skills, and I welcome feedback
from my peers. I feel that this is one important aspect of developing
ones thinking and promoting a thinking culture in the classroom.
It is important for me to be open to improving my thinking skills.
As a teacher, I am a model for critical and creative thinking to my
students. I dont think I can effectively create a thinking culture in
my classes if I myself am not open to change and self-improvement.

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5.c. What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses in the development
and use of higher thinking skills in your life as a teacher?

Here is a sample answer.

I have listed down several thinking skills and have rated my


strengths and weakness in each of the skills as follows:

Critical Thinking Skills:


Being accurate and seeking accuracy I am strong in this area.
Being clear and seeking clarity I am strong in this area.
Being open-minded I need improvement in this area. Although
I seek clarity often, I sometimes find it challenging to accept the
viewpoints or ideas of others.

Creative Thinking Skills

Persevering I am strong in this area

Pushing the limits of your knowledge I do this sometimes, but


I need to find more opportunities to practice this by assessing
what I do not know about a topic or issue.
Generating new ways of viewing a situation outside the
boundaries of standard conventions I need more opportunities
to generate new ideas, even if they sound strange or crazy.

Self-Regulated Thinking Skills


Being aware of your thinking - I am strong in this area.
Evaluating the effectiveness of your actions - I need more
knowledge on how to evaluate the effectiveness of my actions.
Being sensitive to feedback - I am strong in this area.

6. Identify at least three (3) thinking tools that can help you improve your thinking
and decision making in your daily life as a teacher. How would you use these
three (3) thinking tools in your everyday life?

Here is a list of six (6) possible thinking tools that might be used to
improve ones thinking and decision-making as a teacher.

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127

1. Metacognition to think about your thinking, and understand how you


learn. You can use this to learn about a subject or issue more effectively.
2. Critical Thinking to analyze issues and statements for their truth
value. You can increase the clarity and accuracy of your thinking
if you ask questions when statements are vague or ambiguous
or need to be defined so you are sure that you have a common
understanding of the problem.
3. Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI) to explore a topic further by looking at
the plus points, the minus points, and the interesting points of an issue.
4. Aims, Goals and Objectives (AGO) this is a way of focusing our
thinking and action. Using this method, you can focus your thinking
on a particular objective rather than on your reaction to a specific
situation. With AGO, you can better focus your efforts on looking for
a solution to whatever situation you encounter in your life as a teacher.
5. Generating Alternatives and Possibilities you can use creative
thinking to help generate alternatives for a particular process,
product, issue, situation or problem. At the same time, making an
effort to generate alternatives and possibilities can also help you
expand both your critical and creative thinking. You are encouraged
to find as many possibilities and alternatives as possible and not
just stop when an adequate alternative has been found. By doing
so, you may find better alternatives or solutions.
6. Exploring multiple viewpoints - by exploring multiple viewpoints,
you can avoid wasting effort in conflict by focusing on the thinking
of others before making judgments. This aspect of critical thinking
helps you find areas of agreement where you can work together
and explore the problem constructively, rather than take defensive
position and resist the ideas of one another.

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Lesson 1. A Thinking Culture Begins With Me


How Much Have You Learned from this Lesson? pages 47-49
Compare your answer with the sample answers below. Your answers may
differ from what is written here, but as long as the ideas are similar, you
may mark yourself as correct.
1. Explain what higher order thinking skills (HOTS) are. What is its importance
in your daily life and life as a teacher?

Here is a sample answer.

Higher order thinking skills (HOTS) refer to the last three skills in the
Revised Blooms Taxonomy - analyzing, evaluating and creating. HOTS
involve thinking about any subject, content, or problem in a manner
where the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by
skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking
and creative thinking are modes of thinking that are associated with
HOTS. These are important in my daily life because these will help me
address issues and solve problems that require critical and creative
thinking. In my life as a 21st century teacher, HOTS will help me
become a better facilitator of learning and will enable me to discern and
evaluate different kinds of information and teaching methods, and help
me create new and engaging ways to teach my students.

2. Compare and contrast the approaches of the two teachers in the situation above.
How did each one try to develop a thinking culture among their students?
Which approach do you think was more effective and why?

The approach of each teacher is very different, although both of them
would really like to develop the thinking skills of their students. Budis
approach is quite direct he would like each student to perform a
deeper analysis of what they are learning through individual reflection.
He does this through the use of printed workbooks in which students
must write down their reflections and analysis of the lesson using a set
of guide questions. While this provides the students with time to reflect
on what they have learned, it has its limitations. Self reflection, while
important, is only one aspect of a thinking culture, and Budis method
does not allow the students to exchange ideas and collaborate with each
other in the search for solutions to a particular problem.
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129

Pramanas approach is a more involved one. He begins with a selfassessment of his own thinking skills and creates a plan for developing
his weak areas. In the classroom, Pramana tries out different strategies
and evaluates each ones effectiveness. He also allows a more active
exchange of ideas and reasoning between students. He often joins his
students in the discussion and asks guide questions in order to focus the
thinking of his students. This approach creates a more lively exchange
of ideas and allows the students to observe Pramana in various thinking
processes so they can model this behavior.

Remember that Harvards Project Zero program explains that thinking


dispositions require a cultural context in order to develop, so it is
important that we take a good look at the culture in our classrooms.
By building an environment that promotes and rewards thinking skills,
we can help develop that thinking culture. Part of that task involves
developing our own thinking skills so we can use these skills to create
more engaging instructional strategies and become models of behavior
for our students. By being actively engaged in thinking both inside
and outside the classroom, you create a culture that values thinking
dispositions, putting them at the center of learning and problem solving.

2.b. If you were in either Budis or Pramanas shoes, how would you approach the
challenge of developing your students thinking skills? How would you prepare
yourself and your students to create a culture of thinking in your classroom?

Here is a sample answer.

If I were in either Budis or Pramanas shoes, I would tend to follow the


strategy used by Pramana. I dont think I would be able to effectively
build a thinking culture just by making the students reflect on the lesson
just discussed. While Budis method may be effective to some degree, I
feel that there are limitations to sticking only to this method.

In order to prepare myself to integrate the development of higher order


thinking skills in my classroom, I will first do some research to find out
what kind of thinking skills I need to teach my students. These thinking
skills are critical to the success of any individual, because they give her
or him the ability to analyze and solve different types of problems, be
they at the personal level, at the community level, or even the national
or global level.

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

Once I have identified which aspects of my thinking I need to improve, I


can look for materials that can help me develop these skills further. I can
also consult with my school head or other colleagues and brainstorm
with both my peers and students so we can identify creative ways of
developing these thinking skills. I think I would like to share my efforts
in developing my own thinking skills with that of my students, so they
can observe that thinking and learning continue even after they have
graduated from school.

In my class, I can utilize different thinking tools to make the classroom


into a thinking classroom, in which thinking skills are at the core of all
learning. I can try different student groupings, ask questions that really
get the students to analyze, evaluate, and create ideas.

3. Create a plan for developing your own thinking. To do this you will review your
strengths and weaknesses, identify different ways in which you can develop
specific aspects of your thinking, and prepare a statement of commitment for
self-improvement of your thinking skills.
Develop a statement of commitment of self-improvement for developing your
thinking skills. Follow the instructions below as a guide to drafting your statement of commitment.
3.a. Write down your aims, goals and objectives for developing your thinking
skills.You may write this down on a separate sheet of paper. Think of
what you would like to generally achieve in terms of your thinking skills
(your aims). Next, determine what your goals should be. Think of final
outcomes that will tell you that you have more or less achieved your aims.
Finally, think of the objectives that you need to achieve for each goal that
will serve as milestones for you as you progress towards the goal, just like
the steps on a ladder.

Here is a sample answer, prepared by Anh, a teacher in Vietnam:

My Aims
I want to be able to approach new situations in my life with the
confidence that I will be able to deal with them appropriately. I also
want to be able to make good decisions in all aspects of my life.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

131

My Goals
1. Approach a situation or problem by looking at the facts and
gathering information instead of reacting immediately
2. Determining the best course of action for a situation or problem
My Objectives
1. Generate many alternatives and ideas without judging each idea
immediately
2. Facilitate the generation of ideas by a group of people
3. Apply appropriate thinking tools to a given situation
4. Separate my emotions from the facts of a situation
5. Verify that the information that I am disseminating or using is
accurate
6. Evaluate if my actions are effective or not
7. Identifying mistakes that I have made and determining how to
correct them
8. Formulate a point of view that is outside that of the conventional or
common view
9. Accept the ideas and opinions of others without judgment and
considering their merits based on the soundness of the idea
10. Explore many alternatives to find innovative solutions to problems
or situations

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Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

3.b. Write down your statement of commitment to developing your own


thinking. The statement of commitment should be about one or two
paragraphs long and should express clearly the following:
a. What you want to achieve (your aims)
b. Why you want to achieve these aims
c. The steps that you must take, and how you will commit yourself to
persevering in taking each step.

Here is a sample answer.

My Statement of Commitment
I understand that I play a critical role as a 21st century teacher. I
am responsible for guiding my students and developing in them
the skills that they will need to adapt to a rapidly changing world.
In order to effectively fulfill my role, I myself should develop these
same skills in myself. I commit to doing all that I can to develop
my thinking skills so that I can promote and play an active part in
developing a thinking culture in my school, home and community.
I want to be able to approach new situations in my life with the
confidence that I will be able to deal with them appropriately. I also
want to be able to make good decisions in all aspects of my life.
It is important that I develop my thinking so I myself can be
prepared to meet the challenges of the future and be able to adapt
to the rapid changes occurring in the world. I also need to integrate
good thinking skills into my own life so I can teach my family, my
students and my fellow community members to be good thinkers,
solve problems in a creative and innovative manner, and make
good decisions. I will do all I can to develop my thinking. I will
seek out and learn more about thinking skills and how I can apply
them in my daily life. I will read as much as I can and expand my
knowledge about different topics, so I can make more informed
decisions and generate more creative and innovative ideas. I will
strive to practice what I have learned and apply it in all aspects of
my life. I will also do my best to help others develop their thinking
as well.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

133

Lesson 2. Using Higher Order Thinking Skills in My



Life as a Teacher
Lets Think About This pages 59-60
1. If you were to listen only to one of the blind men, would you be able to determine
what animal they had encountered? Why or why not?

If I listened to only one of the blind men, I wouldnt have been able to
determine what the animal was. This is because each of the blind men
came in contact with only one part of the animal, and their description
would not have given me enough information to make a conclusion,
nor would I have been able to gain a better perspective of what they had
encountered.

Each of the blind men was describing something different.

Using

critical thinking, I can analyze the statements of each of the blind men
and come up with a much clearer conclusion. I know that they are all in
contact with the same animal, so I will listen to the different parts or
viewpoints so I can get a better picture of the whole animal.
2. What do you think would have happened if the blind men stayed in one place the
whole time ? What if they exchanged places with each other?

If they had just stuck to their places, I dont think they would have
been able to find out what kind of animal they had encountered. The
situation is such that you need to really move around and get a feel of
the different parts of the animal. In this case, it was not enough to stay
in one perspective - doing so would have resulted in a flawed set
of assumptions about the animal, and that would affect their decisionmaking with regard to the animal.

3. You might say that each of the blind men was, indeed, describing and elephant.
What made each of their descriptions different from the rest? How important
was it for you to read all the descriptions before determining what the animal
was?

The fact that they held different views about the animal based on the
part of the animal they were holding made their descriptions different.
One described the animal as a snake, while the other described it as

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a tree trunk or a piece of rope. It was important for me to listen to


all the descriptions or viewpoints because each one would give me
critical information I could use to analyze the problem. Listening to
each description would allow me to put together all the perspectives
and piece together a more accurate description of the animal.
4. Can you see parallelisms between this parable and your life as a teacher, colleague
and mentor? Cite one concrete example that illustrates this parable in action.

This situation can be likened to problems or issues that we encounter in


our lives as teachers. Sometimes, we encounter situations that involve
many people, and each person involved in that situation may see it
in a certain way. Just like the blind men, they may have their own
interpretations of a problem or issue from their own perspective, and
this may be very different from the perspectives of the others that are
involved. Using critical thinking, we can seek multiple viewpoints and
examine each side carefully so we can see the entire elephant, so to
speak, and gain a clearer understanding of the problem or issue.

5. What did you learn from this parable that can help you develop your own
critical thinking skills?

Here is a sample answer.

The parable gave me a lot of insights in to the need to seek multiple


perspectives when encountering a situation or problem. As a teacher,
and a figure of authority to my students, I admit that I sometimes tend to
stick to one perspective in the way I instruct them. There are times when
I do not seek additional viewpoints on a topic or issue that would have
been the source of a meaningful discussion. There are times when I take
someones side in an argument without being open to the arguments or
perspectives of others. I realize now that when I do this, I deny myself
and my students the opportunity to develop my thinking by gathering
data through the consideration of the perspectives of others.
As a teacher, I should consider multiple viewpoints, especially if I am
trying to encourage my own students and colleagues to think critically
and creatively. This goes hand in hand with developing my curiosity
and need to gather as much information as I can about an issue or
problem.
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Lets Try This (Activity 2.7) page 86


Here is a sample output by Maria, a school teacher from the Philippines,
who has done the PMI to explore the proposal to paint murals on every
home in the community.
Plus
More tourists would come
Homeowners would enjoy looking at their houses
It would be a matter of community pride
It would introduce the children of the community to different art
forms
It would brighten up the community
The murals would serve as landmarks for people to find their way
around the community
Minus
More maintenance would mean higher costs for the homeowners
Some murals would be better than others, which might cause
competition and jealousy among residents
More tourists would mean more traffic and congestion in the
community
Tourists stopping in front of houses will mean reduced privacy and
peace
Murals may become mandatory if tourist industry depends on it
Themes for murals may differ and create a risk of themes that are
offensive, inappropriate, or insensitive.
Interesting
It would be interesting to see if people changed their way of giving
directions because of the murals acting as landmarks.
It would be interesting to see if other communities followed suit
It would be interesting to see if a common style might emerge for
different parts of the community
It would be interesting to see if the murals became an indicator of
social status

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Students
Adjustments

used to multiple choice


and objective tests

remediation may
be needed

Benefits

greater capacity to
think critically

Teachers

Acceptability

Instruction
changes to
instruction

Introducing different
assessment types

Grading

rubrics need to
be created

requires new skills


for teachers

checking of work may


take more time

improvement of
teacher capabilities

emphasis on openended questions

champions will emerge and


become models for others

some teachers may not be


willing to make the move

Lets Try This (Activity 2.10) page 101

Below is an example of a mind map created by Tony, a teacher from

Indonesia. His idea map has allowed him to analyze a proposition to

change the kinds of assessments they give in their school.

Your mind map may be similar to this one, or it may be on a different idea.

Discuss your work with your colleagues and Flexible Learning Tutor.

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How Much Have You Learned from this Lesson? pages 114-117
1. How can metacognition help you improve your thinking skills?

Metacognition can help you improve your own thinking skills, because
it allows you to better understand your own thinking and learning
processes. Metacognition can provide you with a guide as to how to
approach your own thinking and learning. These processes can differ
from person to person. Processes used by one person to understand
something may not be the same processes that another person will use
to understand the same thing. You can get to know your own mental
processes by asking yourself questions related to your thinking and
learning. When you have a good idea of how you think and learn, you
will be able to find effective ways to improve your mental processes.
You will be able to learn better, approach new situations with more
confidence, and determine what you need to do to improve your
understanding of a situation, topic, problem or issue.

2. Read the following statements. For each statement, use the critical thinking
methods discussed in this lesson to determine if the question is vague or
ambiguous, and think of questions you might ask to make the statements clearer
and more accurate.
a. Your school head calls you into his office and says, I will conduct an
observation of your class tomorrow because you need to improve. How
would you clarify this statement with the school head?

Below is a sample answer.

Using critical thinking skills to analyze the statement of the school head,
you can identify that there are several things about the statement that are
vague and unclear. One of the vague terms in the statement is the word
improve, which can mean many things. It would help you focus your
efforts better if you clarify what your school head means when s/he says
you need to improve. You can ask what aspects of your performance are
in need of improvement and the nature of the improvements required.
These questions will allow you to gain more information regarding the
issue and to better analyze the problem.

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b. You overheard some students say that Mr. Donato is a fun teacher.
Does this give you a good idea of Mr. Donatos performance? How would
you clarify this statement with the students?

Below is a sample answer.

The statement by the student is vague. The word fun may have different
interpretations by different people, so it is important to clarify this
through questions. By asking the student for examples of what s/he
means by the teacher being a fun teacher, you can get a more accurate
picture of the teachers methods and attitude in the classroom. By
asking critical questions, you can get a clearer picture of how effective
the teacher is. Just because a student finds the teacher fun does not
automatically mean that the teachers methods are effective. You may
even find out that, while the students really enjoy the teachers lectures,
they are not necessarily learning the content required or maybe they are
not being given the proper processing for the interesting activities given
by the teacher.

c. The teaching methods need to become more progressive

Below is a sample answer.

While you may have a good idea of what progressive teaching methods
might mean, its quite possible that your colleagues may have a
totally different idea of what this means. It often happens that people
might resist or criticize an idea simply because they have a different
understanding of it than the person who introduced the idea. In this
case, some teachers may expect that progressive teaching methods are
totally new methods, and will require them to learn a completely new
style of teaching. Others might see progressive teaching methods as
new and untested. In this case, you can approach this issue with your
critical thinking skills, seeking multiple viewpoints on the problem or
idea. By doing so, you can develop a clearer perspective on the issue
and will be able to make effective decisions regarding the problem or
idea.

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139

3. Use the PMI to explore the following proposal: a 4-hour detention for students
who break school policies.
Compare your answer to the one below. You may have had many of
the same ideas written here. If so, thats good. You may also have had
some ideas that were not presented here. You may show your work to
your flexible learning tutor for additional feedback.

Plus
See a drop in infractions against school policies
Opportunity to have students together to try new teaching methods
Students can have time to do their homework or study if they
cannot do it at home for whatever reason
Teachers can be on hand to tutor students who have difficulty in
some subjects
Opportunity to lay down strict guidelines
An opportunity to interact with parents about childs behavior

Minus
Teachers may need to work longer hours
Not all students in detention may need to have remedial classes
It can interfere with the childs schedule at home if parents expect
them to help out at home or with earning a living
Detention rooms may be hard to manage
Parents may complain if their child is kept in school after classes
May be filled with students who commit the most minor infraction
Interesting
Interesting to see if a detention culture develops
Interesting to see the profiles of the students who get detention
Interesting to see if parents will react positively or negatively to the
policy
Interesting to see if the students can be effectively tutored during
detention

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4. Below is an example of a mind map for the idea Changing my


Instructional Strategy for Science. Yours may be similar to this one.
availability
of materials

may disrupt flow of


subject matter

time to learn
method

Challenges

may not be
effective

Risks

Changing my instructional
strategy in science
Students
learning needs
learning styles
complexity of method
readiness for method
making relevant thru
activities/examples

manage
risks

Objectives
fun
learning

Methods

achieve
learning
outcomes

choose appropriate
methods
research on internet
ask other colleagues
read journals

choose method
with available
materials
seek input and
feedback
pilot method
among peers

modify methods
if necessary
ideas from
colleagues
feedback from
students
own ideas

5. Case Study

5.a Evaluate Anhs approach to the problem. Do you think it is the best way to
conduct the research? Explain your answer.

Anh has many tools available to her in analyzing and finding a solution
to this problem. Initially, Anhs intuition has lead her to consider that the
problem is in the students ability to remember the subject matter when
they take their tests. While this will provide her with a good starting
point, if she comes to her conclusion about the problem before looking
at other data, she will not be thinking critically or creatively. She needs
to test her theory by gathering and analyzing data from many different
sources. One way she can gather data is by asking former students
of the school about their challenges and difficulties. She can also get
feedback from the teachers at the high school regarding the performance
of the students. She can ask them in what areas they are weak, so she
can use that as a benchmark when she thinks of a solution. Finally,
she can develop her non-intuitive thinking by testing out different
theories as to why the students are encountering challenges in their new
learning environment. She can ask her school head, or other mentors in
the teaching profession for guidance in analysis of the problem, so she
makes sure she gains an accurate picture of the problem.
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141

5.b. If you were the one conducting the research, how would you do it creatively?
If I were conducting the research, I would talk to the different
stakeholders to get the different viewpoints and experiences regarding
the issue. I would speak to the former students of the school who are
now studying in different high schools, ask them what difficulties
they are having, and what improvements they can suggest the school
make in order to prepare the next batches of students for adapting to
the learning environments outside the school. I would then talk to the
teachers and school head of the high school to get their feedback on
the areas where the students are weak. I would gather data on their
instructional methods so I could compare them to our own methods. I
would then talk to the teachers in our school to determine if they have
any ideas regarding the cause of the problem, and a possible solution.
These viewpoints will allow me to gather enough data to make sure that
I have an accurate picture of the problem. With this, I can make a more
accurate assessment of the problem.
5.c. Can Anh use ICT in conducting the research? In what ways?

While Anh used her intuition to find a starting point for investigating
the problem, she was also limited by this point of view. She came to
a conclusion immediately regarding the problem and did not explore
further using her creative and critical thinking skills.

Someone who

is committed to developing their critical and creative thinking will try


to exhaust all possible sources of information, including ICT-based
resources, such as educational blogs and websites, online research
journals, and online discussion groups/forums that will provide
information to help solve her problem.
How Much Have You Learned From This Module? pages 119-120
1. Rama is preparing a presentation on creating a thinking culture in school to
give her colleagues. Help Rama prepare for the presentation by creating an idea
map for the idea of a thinking culture. You may use the space below to write
your answer.
On the next page is a possible idea map of a thinking culture. Your
answers may not be exactly the same but as long as the idea is similar,
give yourself a check mark.

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2. Compare and contrast the methods of Lae and Noi with regard to their
effectiveness.
Based on the concepts of critical thinking that were discussed in the
module, it seems that Noi would be more effective in encouraging and
developing the thinking skills of her students. Laes approach is good,
but it has certain limitations. It does not allow for collaboration among
the students, which is an important part of building a thinking culture in
the classroom. She does all her reading and thinking about the subject
prior to the lesson, and as a result, does not have many opportunities to
explore ideas with her students. If all the questions come from her, then
she limits the ability of the students to ask their own questions and do
their own investigation together with the teacher.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

143

Noi, on the other hand, promotes an active environment where


questions are raised and explored by everyone. She asks thoughtprovoking questions that, in turn, would promote additional questions
by students. Noi is more effective at creating an environment where
students can develop their thinking in the context of culture. This
means that they see these thinking skills in their teachers and their
peers, and have ample opportunities to practice these thinking skills.
3. Describe the steps Tranh can take to develop his thinking skills and integrate
them into his instruction.

Here is a sample answer.

Tranh can begin his efforts by reading about critical and creative
thinking, so he has a good idea of what it means to develop his higher
order thinking skills. He can ask his mentors, school head, or peers
from other schools to give him guidance on research materials to go
through and analyze. By doing this, he is already developing one aspect
of critical thinking, which is to cultivate ones innate curiosity and desire
to learn more about a topic or issue.
Once Tranh has a good idea of what it means to integrate higher
order thinking skills in ones life, he can make an objective assessment
about his own thinking skills, so he can identify the areas where he
needs improvements.

From there, he can use creative thinking to

identify different ways and methods he can use to gain knowledge and
understanding, and practice his thinking skills in his life as a teacher.
For example, he can make an effort to go through the newspaper and
analyze one particular issue, or he can try using a thinking tool like
the PMI to analyze some school initiatives in an effort to find better
alternatives. All of these things can help him develop his thinking, so
that he can feel confident in integrating these methods effectively in his
classes and in other aspects of his life as a teacher.
4. What do you think would be one of the biggest challenges you will face in
assessing and developing your own thinking skills?

Below is a sample answer from Umar, a teacher from Malaysia.

I think one of the biggest challenges I will face in developing my own


thinking skills is my tendency to stick to one perspective. I am usually
hesitant to listen to the perspectives of others because I sometimes feel

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that it will complicate my analysis of the problem or issue. I know


now that listening to other viewpoints is one of the important aspects
of critical thinking. I can be conscious of seeking other viewpoints by
going through discussions I have had in the past. I may think of how the
discussion would have progressed if someone presented a viewpoint
that was different from or contrary to the one I accepted. I can also use
techniques like idea maps to help myself explore the issue so I know
who to talk to in my effort to gain a clearer understanding of the issue
or problem.

I also feel that I need to improve my ability to ask critical questions. When
I listen to a discussion or an explanation, I seldom explore the viewpoint
or issue through questioning. I have a tendency to accept discussions
and interpret them on my own instead of clarifying what the other
person means. I also need to be more conscious of asking important
and relevant questions. I realize now that asking questions will help
me gather critical information and allow me to develop a more accurate
picture of the problem or issue, so I can deal with it more effectively. I
can improve in this area in different ways. I can have a notebook ready
in which I can write down questions that I think are important so I dont
forget them. I can also gain a lot from watching or listening to interview
programs on the radio or television. I can get ideas on which questions
are effective and relevant and which are not. I can use the insights I gain
to develop a set of basic questions I can ask during a discussion.

5. What are the areas in your teaching where you can immediately apply the
concepts you learned in this module?

Here is a sample answer:

As a teacher, I can immediately apply the concepts I learned in this


module to my lesson planning. I can use an idea map to explore the
subject matter in many different ways before committing to a lesson
plan. This allows me to explore different aspects of the lesson, think of
critical questions I can ask my students, and formulate relevant activities
that will encourage critical thinking among the students.

I feel that I have a better understanding of how to develop higher order


thinking skills in my life as a teacher and in my students as well. I
know now that it is very important in this day and age to create thinking
Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

145

cultures in our schools. I know now that we can develop our higher
thinking skills in the context of a cultural setting. In this cultural setting,
students and teachers create opportunities to explore content and issues
in many thought-provoking ways. I can integrate all the tools I learned
here into my own professional life, so I can be an effective contributor
to developing the thinking skills of my peers and colleagues. I can
definitely integrate many of the tools here in my own classes right away.

Suggested Readings and Websites


Many of the ideas in this module were inspired by the work of Edward de
Bono. You are encouraged to read more on Edward de Bonos work on
improving ones thinking. A good place to start would be the following
websites:
Edward de Bonos Authorized Website (http://www.edwdebono.com/)
The Foundation for Critical Thinking (http://www.criticalthinking.org/)
Teaching Metacognition (http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/
metacognition/teaching_metacognition.html)
Harvards Project Zero (http://www.pz.harvard.edu/)
Virtual Salt Creative Thinking Techniques (http://www.virtualsalt.com/
crebook2.htm)
Copyblogger: Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking? (http://www.copyblogger.com/mental-blocks-creative thinking/)
You are also encouraged to read and study any textbook on critical thinking.
The reference used in this module by Epstein (1999), Critical Thinking, is a
great starting point for learning about critical thinking.

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Glossary
Argument: A set of statements composed of a conclusion and premise(s)
which contains a truth value that is asserted by the conclusion.
Assumption: A proposition that is taken for granted as true without any
examination of its truth.
Blog: A blend of the term web and log. It is a type of website on which
an individual regularly records opinions, links to other sites, etc.
Claim: A declarative sentence that we can view as either true or false but
not both.
Conclusion: One set of statements in an argument that acts as a claim and
establishes the truth or falsehood of an argument.
Creative Thinking: Being able to generate many alternatives and make
connections between many different concepts.
Critical thinking: The skill of evaluating whether we should be convinced
that a claim is true or an argument is good, as well as the ability to
formulate good arguments.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS):

These refer to the

last three

skills in the Revised Blooms Taxonomy - analyzing, evaluating, and


creating.

HOTS involve thinking that goes beyond simple recall

and memorization of facts, but involve understanding, connecting,


categorizing and manipulating information, and putting them together
to help solve problems.
Idea mapping: It is also known as mind mapping. Idea mapping is a
thinking tool which uses a diagram to represent words, ideas, tasks, or
other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.
This thinking tool is used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify
ideas; it is also an aid to studying and organizing information, solving
problems, making decisions, and writing.
Ideological: It pertains to a system of ideas, principles, and values that
characterize the belief system of a community
Inference: An inference is a conclusion that we make given a set of
statements or claims. Usually, we make inferences based on previously
held assumptions.

Developing Higher Order Thinking (HOTS) in Teachers

147

Lifelong Learning: It refers to all learning activities carried by teachers both


formally (pursuing an undergraduate or post-graduate degree) and
informally (learning for self-enrichment and to better prepare oneself
to face lifes challenges).
Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS): Based on the Revised Blooms
Taxonomy, LOTS include the following thinking skills: remembering,
understanding, and applying.
Manifest: Easily recognized by the mind or perceived by the senses.
Metacognition: The ability to think about our own thinking processes in
order to become more conscious of what we know and dont know,
how we learn best, and how we come to understand things.
Mind map: It is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other
items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.
Premise: Statements in an argument that support a particular claim or
conclusion and are used to establish the truth of that conclusion.
Reflective Thinking: It is a thinking tool which involves personal
consideration of ones own learning. It considers personal achievements
and failures and asks what worked, what didnt, and what needs
improvement.
Revised Blooms Taxonomy: A revision in Blooms taxonomy, which
categorizes thinking into six different levels:

creating, evaluating,

analyzing, applying, understanding, and remembering.


UNESCO: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations,
the purpose of which is to contribute to peace and security by promoting
international collaboration through education, science, and culture in
order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the
human rights along with fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN
Charter.
Wiki: A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any
number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified
markup language or a

text editor. Examples include community

websites, corporate intranets, knowledge management systems, and


note services.

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References
Buzan, T. (2002). How to Mind Map. London: Thorsons-Harper Collins.
De Bono, E. (1982). De Bonos Thinking Course. New York: Facts on File
Publications.
Chang, Shook Cheong Agnes (2001). Implementation of the Thinking
Schools, Learning Nation Initiative in Singapore. Journal of Southeast
Asian Education, 2 (1), 13-41.
Chua, M.H.P. & Leong, H. (1998). The Thinking Programme in Singapore:
an Overview. Unpublished paper cited by Han, C. (1999).
Department of Education, Malta, . (n.d.). Edward De Bono Cort Thinking
Programme. Retrieved from http://schoolnet.gov.mt/thinkingskills/
thinkingtools.htm.
Epstein, R.L. (1999). Critical Thinking. Belmont, California: Wadsworth
Publishing.
Elder, L, and Paul, R. (2002). Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your
Professional and Personal Life. London: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive Aspects of Problem Solving. In L.
B. Resnick (Ed.), The Nature of Intelligence (pp. 231-236). Hillsdale, NJ:
Erlbaum
Huitt, W. (1997).

Metacognition. Educational Psychology Interactive.

Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved May 15,2010, from


http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/cogsys/metacogn.html.
Hersh, R. (2009). A Well-Rounded Education for a Flat World. Educational
Leadership, 67(1), 51-53. Retrieved from Professional Development
Collection database.
Friedman, T. (2007). The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century.
New York: Picador/Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
Paul, R & Elder, L (1996). A Critical Mind is a Questioning Mind: Learning How
to Ask Powerful, Probing Questions. Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Retrieved May 17, 2010, from http://www.criticalthinking.org/printpage.cfm?pageID=481.

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Rotherham, A., & Willingham, D. (2009).

21st

Century Skills: The

Challenges Ahead. Educational Leadership, 67(1), 16-21. Retrieved from


Professional Development Collection database.
Saxe, John Godfrey. The Poems of John Godfrey Saxe/The Blind Men and
the Elephant. Wikisource. Retrieved from http://en.wikisource.org/
wiki/The_poems_of_John_Godfrey_Saxe/The_Blind_Men_and_the_
Elephant
Wilson, L.O. (2005). Aims, Goals, Objectives. Retrieved from http://www.
uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/curric/chart.htm.

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Annex
Excerpts from The Blind Men And The Elephant: A Hindu Fable
By John Godfrey Saxe

i.
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
ii.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
God bless me!but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!
iii.
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried:Ho!what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!
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151

iv.
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
I see, quoth he, the Elephant
Is very like a snake!

v.
The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain, quoth he;
Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!

vi.
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: Een the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!

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vii.
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
I see, quoth he, the Elephant
Is very like a rope!

viii.
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

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153