Critical and Creative Thinking

creating a culture where thinking is valued, visible and promoted



At ICS we recognise that is important to nurture thinking in the daily lives of our students and to make it visible so that a culture of thinking can be built and a strong learning community established in our classrooms and throughout our school.


As teachers strive to create cultures of thinking in their classrooms, they recognise eight forces which shape the cultural dynamic in every group learning situation,

which are:

  1. language
  2. time
  3. environment
  4. opportunities
  5. routines
  6. modelling
  7. interactions
  8. expectations.

Teachers are actively engaged in developing practices that allow these forces to shape classroom cultures with a focus on thinking, learning and understanding.


It is only when we understand what our students are thinking that we can use that knowledge to further engage and support them in the process of understanding. Thus, making students’ thinking visible is a component of effective teaching.


Visible thinking is a flexible approach to integrating the development of students’ thinking with content learning across all stages and curriculum areas.


Visible thinking:

  • cultivates students’ thinking skills and dispositions (growing a student’s curiosity, concern for truth and understanding)
  • and also deepens content learning. Cultivating a thinking disposition means
  • encourages peer collaboration
  • develops a growth mindset
  • focuses on learning rather than work
  • promotes student independence
  • teaches understanding rather than knowledge
  • is inherently differentiated.


Thinking Routines are designed to support and structure students’ thinking.

They operate as tools for promoting thinking and as scaffolds that can lead students’ thinking to higher levels. Thinking routines are used regularly in the classroom. They become part of the fabric of the classroom culture, and it is through the routines that students internalise messages about what learning is and how it happens.