Teacher consultation to develop students' higher level thinking skills

Elaine Singer, Fordham University


An inservice consultation program between teachers and a school psychologist designed to establish classroom conditions which support teachers' effort to increase students' thinking skills was developed, initiated, and evaluated. Inservice training was based on four principles and strategies derived from theory and research believed to develop students' higher level thinking skills within a supportive classroom environment. Principles emphasized (a) encouragement of new ideas in a non-evaluative manner, (b) description and modelling of higher level thinking processes, (c) opportunities for student practice through discussions, and (d) encouragement of diverse approaches to tasks. Following inservice training, teachers and school psychologist collaborated on application of thinking principles to classroom situations. Teachers' efforts to apply inservice training were recorded by an independent observer. During consultation, the psychologist conveyed observational data to teachers as feedback about classroom conditions. Monthly consultation sessions, augmented with brief weekly meetings, followed the collaborative consultation model: goal setting, problem identification, intervention-recommendations, implementation, and follow up. Experimental subjects were two teachers, five classes (87 students), while control subjects were six teachers, 11 classes (147 students) in seventh and eighth grade language arts curriculums. Students completed pre- and post-treatment administrations of Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), measuring quantity and quality of ideas. Teachers and students completed Classroom Activities Questionnaire, measuring students' perception of teachers' instructional intent to develop divergent thinking skills. Content and consistency of intervention were recorded during one 1/2-hour observation each month during the 8-month study by an independent observer using the Classroom Creativity Observation Schedule. Class and individual scores were analyzed with t tests for independent samples. No significant differences between experimental and control students' divergent thinking as measured by TTCT were obtained. However, the experimental group achieved significance on subtests measuring teachers' establishment of classroom environments supportive of divergent thinking skills and evidence that students practiced those skills. It was concluded that teacher and school psychologist consultation program enabled teachers to increase levels of motivational climate within the classroom.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Singer, Elaine, "Teacher consultation to develop students' higher level thinking skills" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136337.