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Collins et al's Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action

Collins et al's Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action

By John Tomsett

Published 26 Feb 2021

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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 since then, it has influenced his teaching immeasurably. Collins et al. believed that 'domain (subject) knowledge … provides insufficient clues for many students about how to actually go about solving problems and carrying out tasks in a domain'. They believed that you had to make expert subject thinking visible to students. Consequently, 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, a number of 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.
John Tomsett taught for 33 years in state schools and was a teaching secondary headteacher for 18 years. He writes a blog called This Much I Know and has written extensively about school leadership.

He has published nine books: Love Over Fear: creating a culture for truly great teaching; Mind Over Matter: improving mental health in our schools; Putting Staff First: a blueprint for revitalising our schools (with Jonny Uttley); An Angler's Journal; Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action (editor); Huh: curriculum conversations between subject and senior leaders; Primary Huh: curriculum conversations with subject leaders in primary schools; Primary Huh 2: primary curriculum leadership conversations; and SEND Huh: curriculum conversations with SEND leaders (all with Mary Myatt).

John is currently working on his next book with Mary, called Alternative Provision Huh: curriculum conversations with AP leaders. He maintains that the best thing for our students is that our teachers are happy, healthy, well-qualified, highly motivated, hard-working, well-trained experts. Consequently, he believes we should put staff first. He is now engaged in supporting the next generation of school leaders and teachers.
  • Author John Tomsett
  • ISBN 9781913622435
  • No. of Pages 160
  • Format Paperback
  • Publication Date 26 Feb 2021