Professional Development

Let’s Think Early Years and Year 1 in Hampshire

Sarah Seleznyov will be leading a taster day on June 14th at Four Marks School near Alton.  The day will include:
  • An overview of the programme and attendant training
  • Live teaching of a session with shared reflection
  • The opportunity to book the full LTEY course running from September 2019-June 2020
Sarah is particularly keen for teachers with Early Years expertise to join the programme, with a view to becoming accredited Let’s Think Early Years Tutors.
To book a place for £50 or for more details on the full course, please contact Leah Crawford

Funding for Let's Think Maths professional development

The Institute of Mathematics has announced that individuals working in schools can apply for funding of up to £600 to run or attend an educational activity relating to mathematics.

Activities supported include attendance at appropriate professional development; travel expenses to attend; supply cover; etc. This money could be used to fund a place on a Let’s Think maths programme in 2019-20.

Find out more


Do you want to get involved?

Are you an experienced Let’s Think practitioner who is interested in getting more involved with Let’s Think?  The Let’s Think Forum is a registered charity led by a group of academics, teachers and tutors.  You can find out about our members here. We meet three times a year to develop and deepen our own understanding of Let’s Think and to take important decisions about how best to further the cause of the charity.
If you have time to get involved with us, please contact

Do you love CASE, are you interested in CASE, do you want to help others with CASE?

In response to the fact that many schools are both revisiting and seeking help to start with CASE we have decided to launch a discussion group dedicated to CASE.
CASE has been around for so long that we now need a flexible forum that supports new and old advocates and one that facilitates the further development and evolution of CASE. 

It is envisaged that this forum will be the first port of call for those who are new to CASE and come with questions but it will also carry out its activities in a way that is comparable with Let's Think pedagogy with challenging content and problems and space for social construction. In this way the network will sustain interesting the involvement of keen practitioners, and old friends, who have always been the life blood of the approach. The network will be a collaborative space for tips, shared practice, research and alerting people to the evidence of effectiveness and information that broadens and extends thinking beyond the Let's Think approaches.
Please email Alan Edmiston if you would like to be part of the CASE Network.

Research and Reading

This recent article by Bisra et al. shows the strength of self-explanation as a key learning technique, when compared to the effect of teacher explanations.  This links very closely to the approach taken in Let’s Think lessons, where teachers reply on pupils’ explanations, rather than explaining solutions themselves.
Bisra, K., Liu, Q., Nesbit, J.C., Salimi, F. and Winne, P.H., 2016. Inducing self-explanation: A meta-analysis.

From Cognitive Load Theory to Collaborative Cognitive Load Theory

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)  is playing a major role in recent educational discourse and many adherents are hostile to the ideas of group work.

Given their down-playing of domain non-specific skills, it is intriguing to come across an article by Kirschner, Sweller, Femke and Zambrano about collaboration.

They state:

“Collaborative learning is beneficial when the task exceeds individual working memory capacity (under time restrictions) assuming members have not stored relevant prior knowledge structures. Under those circumstances and where individuals have prior experience working together on similar tasks, they can appropriately distribute the elements and cognitive activities of the task at hand and take advantage of their greater capacity and inter-individual communication to acquire better knowledge structures.”
Also using the biologically primary/secondary distinction they speculate that collaboration may be primary. It is very much worth the read to understand some of the nuances that are often not being made in discourse about the applicability of CLT. At the moment they still seem to be focussing on very controlled and laboratory like environments.
Kirschner, P., Sweller, J., Kirschner, F. and Zambrano R.  (2018). From Cognitive Load Theory to Collaborative Cognitive Load TheoryInternational Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

Demetriou on Growing Minds

Growing Minds by Andreas Demetriou and George Spanoudis makes it clear how much more sophisticated is the fusion of Piaget and Vygotsky. Piaget and his biological adaptive ideas have been rigorously tested and further developed allowing cognitive acceleration pedagogy to include the social, cultural and historical insights of Vygotsky to become an integral part of this methodology. These ideas are at the core of cognitive acceleration and teacher development pedagogy. These developments shows how evidence and cognitive science based Let’s Think has been for decades in the wild world of classrooms.  

This book is a must read for anyone interested in an evidence based model of how the mind develops and the implications of this knowledge for education.

Demetriou, A. and Spanoudis, G. (2018). Growing Minds. Routledge: London

Activating students' knowledge

Ofsted's new inspection framework is currently out for consultation with a much stronger and more direct emphasis on schools' curriculum. This includes a focus on pupils' acquisition of knowledge with these underlying concepts:

  • Progress means knowing more and remembering more.
  • Knowledge is generative (or 'sticky') - the more one knows, the more easily one can learn.
  • Knowledge is connected in webs or schemata.

Ofsted appears to have accepted a rather simplistic view of Sweller's cognitive load theory, but fortunately it also accepts that knowledge and skills are equally important. 'Knowledge and skill are intrinsically linked: skill is a performance built on what a person knows. That performance might be physical or cognitive, but skills matter and they cannot be separated from knowledge.' 

Cognitive Acceleration/Let's Think has always understood this.
One of the interrelations of knowledge and skill lies in pupils' ability to retrieve and use knowledge for particular purposes. All teachers have the experience of pupils not using particular knowledge, for example in a test or assessment, even though when checked with afterwards they can recall the item of knowledge perfectly well. Laurie Smith has explored this situation in a Let's Think context here.

Interview with … 

Shaheena Pall
Let’s Think in English Lead, British International School (BIS), Vietnam

A colleague of mine who had previously worked with CAME, talked to me about the CA and the following summer I attended a taster day at a primary school in Norwich.

It was such a different way of approaching texts. I loved the fact that it was a collaborative approach where students could work together and work hard to come to

some understanding not only about the text but also about their own thinking processes. I witnessed this first hand when I observed Let’s Think English lessons at primary and secondary levels at Harrow School in Hong Kong. I knew then it was exactly what we were looking for to develop reading comprehension skills, higher order thinking, collaborative learning, and reasoning.

Let’s Think English has taught me to step back to allow children the space and time to think and formulate answers. Also, not to lead them into ideas, as they often come up with excellent ideas all on their own! I also like the structured way they answer each other and argue their own opinions- a great skill to have.
It has helped some of our less organised children to structure their thoughts. It is quite a calm approach which works very well for some who don’t always respond to a fast paced lesson. I can sometimes see influences in their discussions with each other- a bit more patience and turn taking. I also think some of the text and media resources are very engaging which is one reason why children love the lessons.  In a year 6 class, students went on to research the Holocaust and other effects of war around the world after the ‘Rabbits’ lesson and the children were quite mature and thoughtful afterwards.
I feel the children are now more open to ‘multiple messages’ that can exist for a text/image. The generic structure of the sessions actively encourages multiple viewpoints to be considered. Their listening skills have also improved and I have also become much better at encouraging the ‘quieter’ students to participate and feedback.

We have had Let’s Think English at BIS Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) in Years 5 & 6 and KS3 since February 2017 and more recently introduced it in Years 3 & 4. In addition, our sister bilingual school, British Vietnamese International School (BVIS), has had training for secondary English and will be using it with Years 7, 8 and 9.  It has had an incredibly positive reaction from the teachers and students alike. The school’s SLT are very committed to continuing with the programme and have training annually. I would like to extend this programme to other schools in Nord Anglia in the SE Asia region. In order to do that, we plan to invite schools to observe Let’s Think English in action and to host a Taster Day later in the year.

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