Making Thinking Visible

Making Thinking Visible (MTV)

MTV is a research-based programme developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The aim of a Masterclass, hosted in April 2016 by The Tapestry Partnership, was to provide ideas and strategies for teachers to use with pupils, in order to work towards deepening learning and fostering thinking skills and dispositions. Evidence from some of the practitioners showcasing their involvement with MTV demonstrated it can be used in any subject and with any age group, eg from 3-18. Professor Chris McIlroy (a previous HMIE Chief Inspector) mentioned how Making Thinking Visible fits within Curriculum for Excellence and as part of the National Improvement Framework.

Thinking often happens in ways which are invisible. MTV is a way of working with learners in order to make their thinking visible to themselves and others.
This allows us to identify growth points and appreciate misunderstandings. It is important teachers can identify when thinking occurs, for example being able to recognise when learners are:

  • putting forward a new point of view
  • proposing a new theory
  • providing an explanation
  • making a connection
  • seeing a pattern

Part of this approach includes using ‘thinking routines’ to scaffold and support learners’ thinking with the view that learning is a product of thinking. Over time, research has shown that thinking routines become part of the classroom culture of thoughtful learning. This culture is one in which learners understand their thinking and can decide what sort of thinking to use.

It’s a lot to do with our language too – the messages we are sending students about what learning is and how it happens – and the requirement to use a ‘language of thinking’ with learners. This one of the eight cultural forces in classrooms using MTV.

Useful Websites

Visible Thinking website
Project Zero website

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