From Seeing to Thinking

“Could it be that we do not ‘see’ (or choose to ignore) what we do not understand or cannot interpret….?”

Making Thinking Visible, Ritchhart, Church, Morrison, p. 62

This quote from “Making Thinking Visible” by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church , and Karin Morrison, emerges from an experience they share in their book in which a high school teacher shows a group of students a historical painting.

The teens are asked to look very closely at the painting and, without interpretation or evaluation, share aloud the details of what they see. As you may well imagine, there were many details to focus on and the students’ collective list of what they notice is long. It isn’t, however, until one student mentions noticing sticks or chicken-like feet under the hemline of the woman’s dress in the painting, that everyone stops to focus with even greater intent. Many students had not even seen this detail, including the teacher. Others had, but couldn’t make sense of it, and so had ignored this detail in favour of other details that seemed more congruent with the rest of the picture.

This story has relevance to our observations and subsequent thinking about literacy engagement with infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children in our programs and classrooms.

Seeing literacy, using lenses of both knowledge and uncertainty, offers us the opportunity to teach with insight. Insightful teaching emerges when we are grounded in the components of literacy leaning, yet we expect to be surprised as each child engages with it. Our observations enable us to think more deeply about what and how we teach.

Let’s explore how observations influence thinking. Let’s begin by seeing and thinking about 3 unique photos.

Click here for Seeing to Thinking PowerPoint for Beautiful AI


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