Matthew Costello


Taylor High

  • Making Thinking Visible

What Happens When I Make Thinking Visible in the Classroom?


Our professional inquiry group identified a shared area of interest: the difficulty of engaging all learners in the classroom. We discussed various approaches to increasing pupils’ engagement in learning and decided to explore the impact from using Making Thinking Visible (MTV) in the classroom.

Using thinking routines, children can dig deeper into a topic and build on their thinking skills required in all aspects of their life (Building the Curriculum 4). Tishman and Palmer (2005) state visible thinking refers to any kind of observable representation that compliments and supports the development of ongoing thoughts, questions and reflections. R Ritchhart, M Church, K Morrison (2011) advocate MTV as a key to improving the engagement and understanding of the learners.

MTV helps support learners to build explanations, reason with evidence and make connections, in order to develop their understanding (Ritchhart et al., 2011). MTV also offers a range of practical routines which can be used to help make thinking processes visible to all learners and teachers.


The purpose of this intervention was to find the impact of using MTV in the classroom. During the development of this intervention we aimed to observe:

  1. Children with a deeper understanding of lesson content
  2. Higher levels of engagement from all learners

From a subject specific viewpoint, the aim of the enquiry was to explore the potential of MTV to increase pupil engagement and understanding during critical activity where pupils are required to analyse and evaluate the work of artists and designers.

Download Practitioner Enquiry