Considering Different Viewpoints / Reason with Evidence

Considering different viewpoints / reason with evidence

ATL SKILL: Thinking

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOME:
Students show the ability to be open-minded, to consider multiple points of view, and explicitly support opinions and reasons with evidence.

APPLICATION AT NIS – the Thinking Routines outlines below are taken from Ron Ritchhart’s Thinking Routines.  References page numbers refer to his book Making Thinking Visible (2011).

 

Compass Points (pp 93-96)

This routine focusses on the process of decision making.  It enables students to consider a proposition from different angles.  It is useful for topics that reflect dilemmas and points of view that are emotion based.  The focus needs to be on a proposition, not debating an issue.  It is often used during or near the end of a unit of study.

Materials needed: Compass Points template

  • Choose an appropriate proposition that incites a reaction and has the potential for debate.
  • Decide how students will record their thinking: either on a large template where students affix sticky notes, or in smaller groups, with each groups using its own template.
  • E: EXCITEMENTS: What excites you about the idea?  What is the “upside” of the proposition?   What might others be excited about?
  • W: WORRIES: What worries your about the proposition?  What are your concerns?   What is the downside?
  • N: NEEDS: What other information do you need in order to better understand the proposition or prepare for its implementation?
  • S: STANCES / STEPS / SUGGESTIONS: Depending on the issue and proposition, ask students to take a stance, identify next steps, or make suggestions for enhancing the proposition
  • Share the thinking.  Look for commonalities and differences.  Develop an action plan if applicable.

See attached template, to be modified for learning, as desired.

The Micro Lab Protocol (pp 146-150)

This routine was developed to ensure all voices are heard and to direct group conversation.   Groups of 3 are ideal.

  • Choose a prompt that is controversial and have the potential for multiple perspectives and problem-solving.
  • Ensure students understand that everyone is expected to share ideas.  Let students know how much time they will have, and that you will be the time-keeper.  Attribute numbers 1, 2, 3 to each of the group member.
  • Announce that all “1”s will speak for a determined time (normally from 1-2 minutes).  No one else speaks; the other group members listen attentively.  At the end of the time, ring a bell or flash the lights.
  • (If a speaker finishes before the time is up, everyone sits in silence, reflecting on what was said.)
  • When you have everyone’s attention, allow 20-30 seconds of silence to reflect on what they have just heard.
  • Repeat with students 2 and 3.
  • After all members have spoken, encourage students to have open discussion on what they heard by: making connections or asking clarifying questions.

 

I Used to Think, Now I Think (pp 153-157)

This routine develops effective reflection of learning, focussing on how understanding is not simply the accumulation of information, but in the changes of thought that can occur with understanding.   It is used at the end of a unit of study.

  • Ensure students have access to portfolios of work or other evidence of learning from the unit.
  • Ask students to reflect independently.  Ask them to think back to the beginning of the unit.  Have them complete the sentence “I used to think…”.  Students might write 1-3 statements.
  • Ask students to consider how their thinking has changed as a result of the experiences during the unit.  Have them complete the statement “Now I think…”
  • Share the thinking: have students share their reflections, either with a partner or with the whole class.

 

Circle of Viewpoints (pp 170-175)

This routine helps students identify and consider multiple viewpoints.  It may be done orally or in writing.  It may be done at any point during a unit of study.

  • Choose an appropriate, multi-faceted issue, prompt, or image that is rich with characters and/or possibilities for diverse viewpoints.   Allow sufficient time for students to examine and analyse the prompt.
  • Generate a range of viewpoints to be taken.  The viewpoints do not need to be limited to people; they may be inanimate objects that may be in some way affected by the issue.   This encourages students to think in less traditional ways.
  • If this is the first time doing this routine, you may wish to do one viewpoint together as a model.
  • Have each student in the groups respond to a different viewpoint in the context of the prompt.  Start with “I think…” and consider the following questions: what does the person / character / object think about the situation or issue?  what is their take?  why do you think so?   what might this person / object be thinking?
  • Have students devise a question that the person / object might have about the situation / issue.  Complete the statement: “A question I have from this viewpoint is…”.
  • Share the thinking.  Have students recount their thinking with the whole class or in different groups.  Document main threads, commonalities, and differences.

 

Step Inside (pp 177-182)

This routine helps students see an event or situation from the perspective of a character or historical figure.  The provocation may come from a social issue, a literary text, a newspaper article, or a proposed policy  It is similar to Circle of Viewpoints, but takes the student outside of him/herself.   It is often used during or near the end of a unit of study.

  • Choose an appropriate, multi-faceted issue that evokes an emotional response and embodies the possibility for diverse perspectives.
  • Generate a range of perspectives to be taken.  These do not need to be limited to people; they may be inanimate objects that may be in some way affected by the issue.   This encourages students to think in less traditional ways.
  • Decide if you want to do this as a class, or in small groups (i.e. one person or object per pair or small group), and how you want students’ thinking to be recorded.
  • Ask students to imagine themselves as this person or object.  What can this person see, observe, notice?
  • Ask students “What might the person or object know about, understand, or believe?”  Follow this up with “What makes you say that?”
  • Ask students “What might the person or object care about?”  Ensure they give evidence to support these statements
  • Ask students “What might this person or object wonder about or question?”

No template has been developed.  If you have one to share, please send it to Kasson to post here.

 

 

 

Claim – Support – Question (190-195)

This routine helps students to evaluate declarations of fact or belief in all areas of study and to probe such claims with thoughtful scrutiny.  It may be used during or near the end of a unit of study.

  • Choose an appropriate, multi-faceted issue that evokes an emotional response and embodies the possibility for diverse perspectives.
  • Ensure students understand what a “claim” is – that it encompasses conjectures, assertions, speculations, generalisations, statements of fact, theories, hypotheses, etc.  A loose definition might be “what’s going on here”.
  • IDENTIFY CLAIMS that apply to the situation under study.  Document these for all students to see.  This can be added to as the unit progresses.
  • IDENTIFY SUPPORT for the claims.  Students should seek support in experimentation, research, and if relevant, relating information on other similar cases.
  • RAISE QUESTIONS: students are asked to be healthy skeptics of the claims under examination.  What might make us hesitant about the truth or accuracy of the claim?  What questions need to be asked to examine its credibility.

No template has been developed.  If you have one to share, please send it to Kasson to post here.

 

Tug-of-War (199-203)

This routine helps students consider factors that influence decision making.  The metaphorical name of this routine implies multiple “tugs” of unequal strength, resulting in the strongest ones pulling the decision in one direction.   It helps students slow down their thinking to gain deeper understanding of complex dilemmas. It may be used during or near the end of a unit of study.

  • Choose an appropriate, complex dilemma in which two (or more once this routine becomes more familiar to students) contrasting stances of resolving an issue can be clearly identified.
  • Have students clearly define the dilemma to ensure a common understanding.
  • Draw a line on the board or chart paper representing the tug-of war rope.  Have students name the two ends of the rope representing the two opposing viewpoints.
  • Consider the “tugs” or reasons that support one of the positions.  Using sticky notes, have students generate as many as possible, even if you do not personally agree with their reasoning.   This can be done in small groups or as a whole class.  Using sticky notes will allow students to move these ideas around.
  • Do the same for the other side of the dilemma.
  • Through discussion as a class or in small groups, place the “tugs” on the line – the strongest at the ends of the rope, the weaker closer to the centre.  Consensus will play some role in these discussions, but the focus should be on justifications and how less/more important the tugs are in relation to other tugs.
  • Ask “what if…?” questions.  This might be related to legality of tugs, issues or concerns that need further exploration.   These should be posted above the line in a different colour sticky.
  • Share the thinking: what new ideas emerged about the dilemma that they hadn’t considered at the outset? Has their thinking changed? How might they summarise the complexity of this issue for themselves or someone else?  Which viewpoint appears to have more significant “tugs”.  Has a resolution be represented by the tug-of-war line?

See attached template, to be modified for learning, as desired.

 

 

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