The Definition, Elements and Design of Thinking Classrooms
Thinking skills have been core elements of key competencies and increasing attentions have been paid to thinking classrooms that aims to foster higher order thinking skills. However， the concept， objectives and elements of thinking classrooms are not clear to elementary and middle school teachers， and they always face difficulties of lacking of theoretical guidance when designing and implementing thinking classrooms. This paper aims to construct a theory for thinking classrooms based on existing research finding and authors’ practical experiences as well. In this paper， thinking classrooms are defined as a new type of teaching aiming to promote the development of students’ thinking abilities and help students activate their knowledge as well. Problem situation， cognitive conflict， visualization， and variant using constitute four core elements of the Thinking Classrooms， in which problem situation is the basis， cognitive conflict is the root cause， visualization is the explicit carrier， and variant using is an effective means to promote thinking transfer. Thinking classrooms can be designed and implemented according to the following directions: (a) setting a clear learning goal on thinking development; (b) providing rich and potential cognitive conflicts; (c) sorting out ideas with thinking diagrams; (d) guiding the thinking process with thinking strategy tools; (e) promoting thinking skills transfer with the aid of variants.