Large scale implementation of higher order thinking (HOT) in civic education: The interplay of policy, politics, pedagogical leadership and detailed pedagogical planning

Anat Zohar*, Adar Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Educational policy documents from around the globe currently highlight the goal of teaching higher order thinking (HOT). Yet, most classrooms worldwide are still predominately characterized by a pedagogy of knowledge transmission, focusing on lower-order cognitive levels. This discrepancy points to the need to study issues of large scale implementation of HOT. The goal of this paper is to address this issue by examining two decades of implementing HOT in civic education in Israel, adopting a dual approach: first, the paper provides a historical analysis of relevant policies and political transformations, showing what happens to a policy decision to foster HOT over the years. The analysis shows that the way from a policy paper to what actually had taken place in classrooms is long and bumpy. The policy did cause several practical changes, but for more than 10 years, impacts were slim, sometimes causing unexpected (and undesirable) consequences. Then, the paper zooms-in on one specific period in which more elaborate implementation efforts took place. Significant hallmarks of the process were an emphasis on developing instructional leadership, detailed pedagogical planning, a blend of tight "top down" processes with "bottom up" processes characterized by growing freedom and autonomy, and modelling the culture of thinking.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Volume21
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords

  • Civic studies
  • Higher order thinking (HOT)
  • Instructional leadership
  • Large scale implementation

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