Training for Schools

There are three basic steps to the TSIA Approach:

STEP 1     Introductory Professional Development Workshop

The first step begins with your whole school faculty participating in a one or two day professional development workshop led by a certified TSIA trainer.  Each participant is given the Growing Thinking Schools guide (published by TSI: © 2011 and adapted by TSIA in 2014) that is used during the highly collaborative training and as a continuing resource over multiple years as you expand your focus.  This guide is translated for use in different countries.


See Table of Contents here

All participants can have access to a web-based version of the GTS guide and extensive resources and activities for immediately improving thinking across your whole school.  Specifically, you will have access to activities that engage the 6 Starting Points practiced during the seminar.

Six Starting Points for Thinking

6 starting points

If your school only focuses on the use of this professional development experience, the GTS guide, and the related web-based resources, there will be immediate improvements in teaching, learning, and a renewed focus for your school, but possibly fewer long term changes in your school.  So the next step is crucial.

STEP 2  Creating an Action Plan

During the workshop, our internationally certified facilitator introduces your school faculty to the “big picture” vision of the journey of a “Thinking School” over multiple years. We commit to supporting you in creating your own vision and plan for Growing a Thinking School—from the Inside Out.  To this end, you and your colleagues will be systematically introduced to and explore 5 Dimensions, or pathways, for developing student thinking and performance, and improving teacher effectiveness as well.  We use a highly collaborative “jigsaw” process for engaging every faculty member in the investigation of these 5 Dimensions for Developing Thinking.


By the end of the workshop, all participants will experience practical applications of these 5 Dimensions using different models, approaches, techniques and tools.  After the workshop your leadership team, comprised of teachers, administrators, and governors (school board members), then collaborate with us to draft an Action Plan and focal point for school-wide implementation grounded in a comprehensive vision, broad outline, and  criteria for a Thinking School.

STEP 3  Focused Implementation

We have discovered over the years that most school leadership drive teams have created Action Plans that have focused on one of three practical, student-centered pathways that have a proven, significant positive impact on thinking, learning and teaching:   Visual Tools for Thinking (including Thinking Maps®), or Dispositions for Mindful (including Habits of Mind®), or Questioning for Enquiry.  The drive team takes direction from colleagues who have experienced these different approaches during the Growing Thinking Schools workshop.  Focusing on only one pathway initially, is essential because we have also discovered that trying to implement a wide variety of tools, strategies, models and techniques is counter productive: it becomes disjointed and overwhelms everyone.

Implementing a Research Based Model


Here are summary descriptions of each of the three pathways we recommend, each of which is student-centered.  This means that teachers immediately teach students how to apply these tools to content learning and the long term development of their thinking abilities.

•    Visual Tools for Thinking ® (including Thinking Maps®) for explicitly developing students’ abilities at every level (pre-school to university) for applying thinking processes, second language development, facilitating metacognition.  This pathway directly improves content learning, reading and writing in all academic areas using the integration of visual, verbal, and spatial learning modalities.  The Thinking Maps® language was first formally developed in 1990 and now is used around the world.

•    Dispositions for Mindfulness (including Habits of Mind®) for explicitly developing 16 dispositions for mediating and improving students’ problem solving, creativity, and qualities of character such as perserverance, metacognition, decreasing impulsivity and dealing with uncertainty.  The Habits of Mind dispositions model has evolved over the past 30 years from the initial grounding in research conducted by Dr Reuven Feuerstein.

•    Questioning for Enquiry – a Guide to Building a Community of Enquiry© for explicitly developing student-centered questioning, compassion for others, cooperative learning, creativity and reflectiveness based on integrating several models.  The authors of this approach bring together approaches drawn from decades of research on high quality questioning based on the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, research based collaborative structures, and fundamental tenets of philosophical enquiry grounded in everyday classroom practice in the “cognitive age”.