Visible thinking

in fun2learn •  3 months ago

Educators all over the world were introduced to the need of making thinking visible for a number of years now.

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Most teachers are aware of making thinking visible but time is always a challenge.

There is a saying that we need to lose time to gain future time.

By spending time to build a solid foundation can lead to clarity in learning.

This can help us to save time when we need to add on or build on the same concept for other related concepts.

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There is no definite success ingredient that can cater to all students but we can find out about students’ understanding of what they know and what they have learnt through visible thinking.

This short article aims to discuss some possible benefits that teachers find when they implement visible thinking strategies in their classrooms.

What they understand and how they understand

Teachers who are able to make students’ thinking visible, they are able to find out what are the concepts that their students have understood.

They can also identify the common trend of how students have understood the topic or concept more effectively and reuse the same method for other topics.

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Through knowing what the students are thinking, teachers can plan their future lessons to reinforce or clarify concepts as well as stretch their thinking further.

More meaningful and purposeful activities and lessons can be crafted to cater to specific needs.

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Through making thinking visible, teachers can address misconception more immediately rather than leaving it alone until students develop into a rooted habit of thinking resulting difficulty in changing the way they think about the concept later on.

Stretch thinking

In the process of making thinking visible, teachers often find the opportunities that they can dive deeper into thinking using learning theories and thinking processes.

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Teachers find themselves develop greater competency and awareness of different learning theories and they can apply appropriate strategies after knowing what their students are thinking or have understood.

Students will not only have the opportunity to stretch their understanding and thinking, they can also develop metacognition to reflect about their own learning through thinking aloud.

There are also lots of opportunities for teachers to use questioning techniques to sharpen their classroom teaching skills.

Time factor

Teachers often complained that there was limited amount of time to implement visible thinking strategies.

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The fact that by using the amount of time to clarify and deepen understanding of students, teachers find it easier to build on with their prior knowledge for new related topics.

By wasting time in consolidating their understanding in the beginning, teachers can gain more time when related topics are introduced leading to more effective learning and interconnected learning.

In conclusion

Making thinking visible can help to teachers to understand how our students have understood what we have taught and provide us with useful information to make adjustment to our lessons.

We can also learn more about how students learn leading to greater understanding of how the learning theories can be used to explain their thinking process.

Through visible thinking, we don't teach the way we think is the best for students but we teach the way students can understand the best after knowing what are the gaps or misconceptions that we need to bridge in learning.


Ritchhart, R., & Perkins, D. (2008). Making thinking visible. Educational leadership, 65(5), 57.

Bryson, J. M., Ackermann, F., Eden, C., & Finn, C. B. (2004). Visible thinking. England, UK: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

Tishman, S., & Palmer, P. (2005). Visible thinking. Leadership compass, 2(4), 1-3.

Blythe, T., Croft, A., & Strelec, N. (2002). Teaching for understanding. In Leading Learning International Conference.

Goodnow, J. J. (1978). Visible thinking: Cognitive aspects of change in drawings. Child Development, 637-641.

Disclaimer: This is my personal reflection and I am not in any position to instruct anyone what they should do. I am not responsible for any action taken as a result of this post. My post can only be a reference for your further research and growth. By reading this post, you acknowledge and accept that. All images and pictures were taken from google images that are free from copyright under labelled for reuse.

This publication can also be found on both of my other blogs at Steemit and

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