Emma Cluckie


Taylor High

  • Making Thinking Visible

What Happens When I Make Thinking Visible in the Classroom?


When set with the task of a Practitioner Enquiry, one of our first thoughts as a group was ‘Making Thinking Visible’ (MTV) strategies. We felt that these strategies are extremely useful in improving communication between pupils and wanted to explore this further. The nature of this enquiry will be focused around the ‘See, Think, Wonder’ tool and other MTV strategies. We decided not to measure the final outcome in one particular way but rather to focus on how it affected pupil engagement on a whole. Ron RItchhart wrote in his book, Creating Cultures of Thinking:

“When we recognize that true understanding of a discipline involves learning its processes and ways of thinking as well as its content knowledge, then we naturally create opportunities for developing those abilities.”

– Ron Ritchhart, Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools

This introduces the idea that learners cannot just be fed information and absorb it, they need to be able to think for themselves and reach their own conclusions. In short, pupils need the opportunity to learn how to learn. By using different MTV strategies, we aim as a group to see how giving the pupils the chance to learn in this way helps them engage in the lesson/ topic more. We decided as a group to try different strategies with our classes as we are researching over a broad range of ages and abilities. Through a discussion about different methods of gathering evidence, it was decided that we would all use pupil observation as our main method. As I am a secondary teacher I also decided to use a focus group of S5 pupils to get their opinion on how ‘Making Thinking Visible’ strategies are effective in their learning. In the Visible Thinking Project called ‘Project Zero’, they talk about the importance of Visible Thinking and how it helps to improve engagement in lessons. This is very important in Scottish schools as if the pupils are more engaged their learning will develop and improve. This type of enquiry is a crucial way of researching and provides new information teachers can use to enhance, not only their teaching but the pupils’ learning.


The aim of this enquiry was to observe and evaluate the impact of making thinking visible in the classroom. The focus of this enquiry was a BGE class.

Download Practitioner Enquiry