carol mcguinness

Carol McGuinness is Professor of Psychology and now works in the School of Education at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland. Her research focuseson the role of the metacognitive features of classroom talk. The major influence of her work can be seen in the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities Framework which is now a statutory requirement in the Northern Ireland Curriculum. She hosted the15th International Conference on Thinking in Belfast in June, 2011.

She is the author of the influential report "From Thinking skills to Thinking Classrooms". Her research evaluated the impact of the methodology ACTS in primary school, for three years.
She has been a consultant in the development of different curriculums at a national level and in pedagogy.

Most recenty she has worked with the British council and the Ministry of education in Thailand, to implement the project ACTS in Thailand.




Positioning Thinking in a National Curriculum: A case study from Northern Ireland
Although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, educational policy is devolved to national level, as it is in Scotland and Wales. From 2000, Northern Ireland began a major re-think about the aims and purposes of the national curriculum which had been a highly prescriptive and largely content-based curriculum since 1989. The new curriculum was designed to be more flexible and one of the main goals was to explicitly develop students' thinking skills and personal capabilities throughout the curriculum from ages 4 (early years) to 14 (end of the first phase of secondary education).

This keynote draws on my own experience of leading the curriculum design team who created a 'Framework for Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities' as part of the new Northern Ireland Curriculum which was rolled out in 2007. Using Northern Ireland as a case study, the keynote will explore the kinds of questions that need to be addressed when making decisions about positioning thinking as a learning goalin any system-wide curriculum. For example, what kind of thinking will be prioritised? How will thinking be assessed? Will progression maps be outlined so that teachers will know if students' thinking is getting better? How will teachers be prepared for the new curriculum? How consistent is the direction of educational policy in the system likely to be so that the curriculum change has time to become well embedded?



Language and Dialogue in a Thinking Classroom
This workshop grew from a research and development project completed with upper primary school teachers in Northern Ireland classrooms, called the ACTS (Activating Children's Thinking) project. Teachers designed and taught infusion lessons, where the content and the thinking skills were taught together (following Bob Swartz's infusion approach). Some of the teachers' lessons were videotaped and the classroom dialogue was transcribed and analysed.

Using excerpts of the classroom dialogue from the transcripts, this workshop will consider the strategies and tactics which the teachers used to make thinking more explicit in classroom talk, how they used a vocabulary for talking about thinking, the role of the visual thinking organisers in supporting the classroom talk, and how the children responded to metacognitive prompts to 'think about their thinking'.

Copyright - Icot 2015