Simon Brooks is a former English teacher and he draws on Classics well in workshops that advocate for a new way of teaching. We begin with Dickens:
“Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them.”
Schools founded on this thinking are the schools we work in today. Dickens still inspires, but only in helping us recognise how great is the need for change.
“Ask anyone what they would want for our children when they are adults and it is qualities … intellectually curious, strategic thinkers, self-directed, open-minded, imaginative, reflective, truth seekers, empathic, responsible. These are the most important parts of education.”
Simon now works with educators to build Cultures of Thinking in their schools and organisations. Recently he delivered a presentation to campus administrators and a workshop with learning leaders, to further immerse us in Cultures of Thinking pedagogy and practice.
Our workshop explored the role of Thinking Routines in shaping culture and in developing engagement and understanding. There are many routines, and the ones we practised were:
Simon is passionate about building school cultures where children become thinkers and self-directed learners, rather than just doing thinking and self-directed learning. He believes that cultures of thinking pedagogy functions in support of ‘getting through the content’, rather than in opposition to it. “Teachers who say that are in an either / or dichotomy. What we believe is that through creative and critical thinking, the content is enriched. Cultures of Thinking is not something we do, it is how we are. It is being, rather than doing.”
Simon’s philosophies are well reported in an eight-part series on the Learnfast Learning Success Blog.
Westmount’s approach to teacher professional development is that it is:
Simon’s workshops build on learnings from: