Dianne Wright

Primary Teacher

Balmalloch Primary

  • Making Thinking Visible

What Happens When I Make Thinking Visible in the Classroom?


Participation in a Practitioner Enquiry was defined by The General Teaching Council for Scotland GTCS (2012) as an opportunity for teachers to engage with professional research. This process supports teachers in reflecting on their own practice whilst simultaneously promoting awareness and potential improvement in teaching strategies or approaches to learning. This journey draws parallels with the role Hattie (2009) believes teachers should play in becoming evaluators of their own teaching and seeing learning through the eyes of students through Making Thinking Visible (MTV) strategies. This promotion of autonomy is consistent with Bandura’s (1986) Social Cognitive Theory in promoting resourcefulness, initiative and persistence in self-directed learning (Ponton and Rhea 2006).

Grogan et al. (2013) suggested that learning in the classroom was previously based on teachers passively providing information which did not truly promote understanding. Instead, it is suggested that a ‘culture of thinking’ must be employed to encourage sense-making and understanding. This process appears to support Piaget’s assertion that children pass through universal stages of cognitive development via self-discovery whilst also considering Vygotsky’s beliefs that learning is successful with the presence of a more knowledgeable other: an effective practitioner.


The aim of this study was to explore the impact observed in the classroom, specifically in terms of communication when MTV strategies were employed. This enquiry examined the link between the lesson’s set social learning intention and actual performance and participation. It further considered the difference in peer communication, response to teacher questions, engagement and pupil voice.

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