In a complete cognitive acceleration lesson, each of the five pillars plays a part. The lesson often unfolds over a series of episodes, and within each episode there may be occurrences of concrete preparation, cognitive conflict, social construction and metacognition. Without at least the second and third, a lesson could hardly be described as cognitive acceleration. The others may occur more or less frequently.
The published materials in the Let’s Think! series do give detailed guidance for the management of these episodes and pillars for each activity, but even so the activities cannot be followed like a simple recipe. If, as a teacher, you want to develop your pupils’ thinking, you will need to do some serious thinking yourself! In other words, each activity needs careful planning, and you may well want to annotate or write new lesson plans from the outline plans given. This is partly to suit the particular circumstances of your school and classroom, but mostly so that you, the teacher, can take ownership of the activity. It is not possible to reproduce a lesson
from the printed page, as if you were following the directions for constructing a table from a flatpack (and that can be challenging!).
Teaching for the development of thinking can appear to be a slow process and it is often not immediately obvious what has been achieved within one lesson. But we are in it for the long haul and the evidence (see Chapter 10) shows us that, even if at times we seem to be treading water, in fact the time devoted to making your pupils struggle a bit, share their experiences and reflect on their own learning leads to higher academic achievement in the long term.
Thinking and the curriculum