Japanese journal of American educational studies
Online ISSN : 2758-111X
Print ISSN : 1340-6043
B. K. Beyer’s "Thoughtful Classroom" Perspective on Thinking-Teaching Strategies
Author information

2016 Volume 27 Pages 73-90


In this paper, the following four points can be observed from Beyer’s theory about thinking-teaching techniques.

First, Beyer made a connection to a concrete proposal of thinking teaching methods by considering the concept of thoughtfulness. Grant Wiggins, an educational consultant, claimed that thoughtless curricula consider "facts as the remedy of ignorance and accurate recall as the only sign of knowledge." After examining such curricula, Wiggins concluded that students have no control over what or how they learn. Skills are drilled and tested, and only rarely applied. In light of Wiggins’ enforcement, Beyer insists that the thoughtful classroom nourishes thinking by making it possible as well as necessary. As a result, in thoughtful classrooms, a learner’s thinking is a normal, expected, and nonthreatening learning activity; it is also the major learning pursuit.

Second, Beyer indicates the specific methodology of thinking-teaching. When there are many points to be learned, Beyer’s thinking-teaching strategies can be used to overcome difficulties. For example, preview and rehearsal are significant because they make clear the process in which learners consider their teacher’s questions. However, the teacher leads the students. All methodologies of thinking-teaching strategies, including preview and rehearsal, provide the kind of guidance and support that enable learners to recall newly encountered or difficult thinking operations as they practice and become increasingly proficient at applying them.

Third, appropriately designed graphic organizers can serve as useful scaffolds for carrying out cognitive procedures that are relatively complex or difficult to execute. They assist learners in carrying out a mental procedure by providing visual and often verbal prompts as to what is to be done first, then the next steps until the process is complete. The visual structure and verbal prompts of graphic organizers also provide feedback while learners move through the procedure. Furthermore, they provide a comprehensive and ongoing available view of the entire operation to be performed, so the user can see exactly where learners are in carrying it out and either how or what has been done or needs to be done in the future relates to the whole.

Fourth, it is also thought-provoking that I place the language of thinking as part of the classroom discourse after learners have expressed a recognition behavior, thoughtful strategies and the language of thinking along with the meaning of the inference. Beyer suggested that learners answer a teacher’s questions by using the language of thinking and doing activities in pairs or small groups. Therefore, classroom discourse is formed.

However, the following two problems arise : ⑴Beyer does not indicate the practice analysis from the viewpoint of learners’ group activities. ⑵Learners can now take their cue from these words. However, a question of whether they can manage to use those words is open to discuss. The meaning may not be expressed via the word that is related to the thought, like a conclusion and a hypothesis for each subject; it is sometimes expressed via the word that is specific to a territory.

Content from these authors
© 2016 Japan Association of American Educational Studies
Previous article Next article