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Higher Order Thinking at Larapinta

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At Larapinta we have examined the current learning theories, research on how the brain works and what our children will need to succeed in their adult life. A common theme with each of these is Higher Order Thinking. Therefore at Larapinta we believe in providing a teaching and learning environment that continually develops all students’ Higher Order Thinking skills and strategies.

The future:

Skills and understandings for the future:

  • communication skills
  • problem solving abilities
  • teamwork skills
  • literacy (text, visual and electronic) and numeracy skills
  • able to manage people
  • self confidence
  • flexibility
  • reliability
  • multiskilled
  • cross cultural understandings
  • critical evaluation skills

Sources: Queensland Ministerial Consultative Council on Curriculum, Perceptions on Curriculum, Mt Isa Mines, 1991 / Dr Julia Atkin, Learning by Design, 2004

A glimpse into the future...

It is speculated a person leaving school today can expect:

  • not to have 'a job' but to 'do jobs' that need doing - to be involved in a variety of job patterns
  • to have at least 3 - 4 different occupations during a lifetime
  • to be involved in jobs/careers that don't exist yet
  • to be involved in formal education throughout their life time
  • to move away from the area of country they were born in

Sources: Colin Ball, Kevin Richardson, Peter Ellyard, William Bridges

What is Higher Order Thinking?

At Larapinta Primary School we believe Higher Order Thinking is using a range of thinking skills and strategies to creatively, critically and responsibly engage with content, new ideas and complex issues.

What does Higher Order Thinking look like at Larapinta?

Larapinta's teachers had many discussions about what they are looking for when supporting the development of Higher Order Thinking. As a staff we brainstormed the following characteristics and use these to underpin activities in the classrooms;

  • Open Minded – as many ideas and strategies as possible are thought of, brainstorms ideas and solutions, looks at problems from different perspectives.
  • Imaginative – produces unusual or unique ideas, pictures and creates what has never occurred, thinks outside the box
  • Constructive – adds or further develops ideas, thinks of ways to combine ideas into something new or different
  • Inquisitive – displays a sense of wonderment and active curiosity
  • Analytical – breaks down information, problems or situations into smaller pieces, thinks of different ways of approaching a complex task, analyses, defines or sizes up a problem
  • A Risk Taker – steps outside the norm, makes a guess, shares and defends ideas
  • Responsible – display an awareness, self monitors, regulates, understands ramifications or impacts of actions
  • Metacognitive – thinks about own thinking, awareness of one’s thinking
  • A Connector – recognises relationships and connections, applies connections to new situations, draws from specific cases for more general cases
  • A Communicator – expresses, shares or articulates processes, strategies, solutions or ideas
  • A Strategist – recognises and expresses how to complete a task, applies multiple strategies to one task, transfers and adapt strategies, applies deductive reasoning
  • An Evaluator – able to make valid judgments, justifies with clarity and reason
  • Persistant – able to sustain thought processes, perseveres through adversity

How is Higher Order Thinking developed at Larapinta?

Learners are provided with a range of real life and challenging experiences that foster higher order thinking, for example;

  • Open-ended tasks and questions
  • Reflection on learning and thinking
  • Community based projects eg Hartley Street School project, Larapinta's Mini Desert Park
  • Ownership of learning through understanding of learning styles and strengths eg Independent Learning Plans, Multiple Intelligences, contracts
  • Collaborative activities eg cross-age tutoring, class meetings, group work
  • Leadership roles and programs eg Sports Leaders, Student Representative Council, Peer Mediators
  • Incorporation of a range of tools to structure and enhance thinking (see Thinking Toolbox)




Larapinta Primary School, 2011