Collins et al's Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action

Collins et al's Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action

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The 1991 paper 'Cognitive Apprenticeship: Making Thinking Visible' greatly influenced the teaching of John Tomsett, headteacher at Huntington School in York. In this book, a number of teachers at Huntington School discuss what they consider to be the expert thought processes specific to their individual subject domains.


In 1991, Allan Collins, John Seely Brown and Ann Holum published ‘Cognitive Apprenticeship: Making Thinking Visible’. Nearly a quarter of a century later, John Tomsett encountered their paper, and it has influenced his teaching immeasurably.

Tomsett developed a number of techniques which made his expert subject thinking visible to his students, to great effect. Beyond his own practice, the principles behind Collins et al.’s paper have been woven throughout Huntington School in York (where Tomsett is headteacher), a research school whose teachers are committed to developing evidence-informed classroom practice.

In this book, 23 Huntington School teachers discuss, in a series of brief essays, what they consider to be the expert thought processes specific to their individual subject domains. They explain in detail how they use cognitive apprenticeship techniques ‘in action’ to make their disciplinary thinking visible and help their students learn those same expert thought processes.

This book is a priceless contribution to the current debate about the curriculum and how it is taught in our schools. In recognition of the significant influence of the researchED movement and the discursive forum it provides, a share of the royalties from this book will go to support the project in its ongoing non-profit work.

About the Editor

John Tomsett has been a teacher for 32 years and a headteacher for 17 years. He currently leads Huntington School & Research School in York. He writes a blog called This Much I Know, and has written extensively about school leadership. He has four previously published books: Putting Staff First: A Blueprint for Revitalising our Schools (with Jonny Utley); Love Over Fear: Creating a Culture for Truly Great Teaching; Mind Over Matter: Improving Mental Health in our Schools; and a book on fishing called An Angler’s Journal. He still teaches and is focused resolutely upon improving the quality of teaching and learning, both at Huntington and across the school system as a whole

Additional Information

Author John Tomsett (editor)
ISBN 9781913622435
No of pages 168
Format Paperback
Publication Date 26 Feb 2021

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