How to Increase Higher Order Thinking (H.O.T.), Part 5

Here’s the 5th part of How to Increase Higher Order Thinking:

Taken directly from Reading

Make methods and answers count

To develop problem-solving strategies, teachers should stress both the correct method of accomplishing a task and the correct answer. In this way, students can learn to identify whether they need to select an alternative method if the first method has proven unsuccessful.

Methods matter

To develop problem-solving strategies, teachers should give credit to students for using a step-wise method of accomplishing a task in addition to arriving at the correct answer. Teachers should also teach students different methods for solving a problem and encourage students to consider alternative problem-solving methods if a particular strategy proves unrewarding. It is helpful for teachers and parents to model different problem-solving methods for every day problems that arise from time to time.

Identify the problem

Psychologist Robert Sternberg states that precise problem identification is the first step in problem solving. According t o Sternberg, problem identification consists of (1) knowing a problem when you see a problem and (2) stating the problem in its entirety. Teachers should have students practice problem identification, and let them defend their responses. Using cooperative learning groups for this process will aid the student who is having difficulty with problem identification as he/she will have a heightened opportunity to listen and learn from the discussion of his/her group members.

Encourage questioning

Divergent questions asked by students should not be discounted. When students realize that they can ask about what they want to know without negative reactions from teachers, their creative behavior tends to generalize to other areas. If time will not allow discussion at that time, the teacher can incorporate the use of a “Parking Lot” board where ideas are “parked” on post-it notes until a later time that day or the following day.

Cooperative learning

Many students who exhibit language challenges may benefit from cooperative learning. Cooperative learning provides oral language and listening practice and results in increases in the pragmatic speaking and listening skills of group members. Additionally, the National Reading Panel reported that cooperative learning increases students’ reading comprehension and the learning of reading strategies. Cooperative learning requires that teachers carefully plan, structure, monitor, and evaluate for positive interdependence, individual accountability, group processing, face to face interaction, and social skills.

Use collaborative strategic reading

Collaoborative Strategic Reading — CSR (Klinger, Vaughn, Dimino, Schumm & Bryant, 2001) is another way to engage students in reading and at the same time improve oral language skills. CSR is an ideal tactic for increasing reading comprehension of expository text in mixed-level classrooms across disciplines. Using this tactic, students are placed into cooperative learning groups of four to six students of mixed abilities. The students work together to accomplish four main tasks: (1) preview (skim over the material, determine what they know and what they want to learn), (2) identify clicks and clunks (clicks = we get it; clunks = we don’t understand this concept, idea or word), (3) get the gist (main idea) and (4) wrap up (summarize important ideas and generate questions (think of questions the teacher might ask on a test). Each student in the group is assigned a role such as the leader/involver/taskmaster, the clunk expert, the gist expert, and the timekeeper/pacer (positive interdependence). Each student should be prepared to report the on the group’s conclusions (individual accountability).


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