Professional and pedagogical implications of training in thinking skills interventions : investigating primary school teachers' attitudes and beliefs about teaching thinking in England and in Portugal
This small-scale multiple case study is an investigation into the perceptions of primary school teachers in the Northeast of England regarding the impact of training in Thinking Skills interventions. This study also outlines a research that examined the views Portuguese primary school teachers have on teaching thinking in a primary school setting. It attempts to identify teachers' views on how teaching thinking can ultimately improve children's attainment. It also aims at ascertaining the influences, limitations, and pedagogical implications that affect the way teachers perceive their professional development. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, non-participant observations and analysis of documentary evidence. Data was collected from 14 English teachers and seven headteachers, and 10 Portuguese teachers, all with different professional experiences. A small group of English children were also interviewed in order to obtain their views on "Thinking lessons". Models of professional development were analysed to investigate how teachers' professional needs are met by existing policies and how teaching thinking slots in. Questions were raised about the impact the theoretical principles of Thinking Skills programmes had on practical teaching and classroom dynamics. The report concludes that the training received by the English participants was considered to be valuable and to make a substantial contribution towards the improvement of the teaching and learning processes in their classrooms. It also shows that there is scope for improvement in Portuguese primary schools, as teachers propose ways in which the implementation of Thinking Skills interventions might be approached. Findings were analysed qualitatively in relation to the relevant literature and inferences were made on the data obtained. Conclusions also raised issues for further consideration.