As a First School teacher involved with trialling `thinking skills' strategies in a Year 2 class, I was interested and amused by Mark Edwards' article (November 22) regarding ministerial approval being the kiss of death for this approach to learning. In Northumberland, we have been lucky enough to have an LEA who provide enthusiastic teachers with support and training in this area, and many schools are now seeing the benefits in increased motivation and improved results from children in all phases and all without having a strategy imposed on us by the DfES!
Mr Edwards in right about the plethora of `Thinking Skills' resources now available some of which, as he rightly states, are rehash of old ideas. However, in his article, Mr Edwards compares a 1984 example from Anita Straker with one from the `Let's Think' package from Nelson. Had Mr Edwards perhaps studied the Nelson material a little more closely, he may have realised that the example from Nelson he gave was, in fact, intended as an initial `listening' activity, designed to develop the group skills and turn taking necessary for the `real' development of thinking can take place in the further 27 activities. As one of many teachers in Northumberland, and indeed all over the country, who have seen the benefit for ourselves of using this programme, I would suggest that Mr Edwards uses some `thinking skills' strategies himself and considers all the evidence before judging a book by it's cover!
Sandra Bell, Morpeth First School, Morpeth, Northumberland