Masterclasses

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Argumentation Masterclass

The fashioning and evaluation of arguments is fundamental to our idea of reasoning and of critical thought, in as much as the critical aspect is analytical and evaluative. Argumentation provides the framework in which critical thinking can effectively occur.

The construction, analysis and evaluation of arguments requires that a broad range of thinking skills is brought to bear in a framework that provides a focus for cognition and a direction for progress. Argumentation, therefore, is an essential component of teaching for thinking.

This masterclass will look at how to understand, construct and evaluate arguments and to make their production and analysis a central pedagogical focus.


Thursday 3rd of November

Duchesne Women's College at the University of Qld, St Lucia

Thinking & Writing Masterclass

Building upon the work of the Aspiring Thinkers foundational workshop, this masterclass will focus on three tools that can simplify how we approach writing instruction, and in turn, simplify the writing process for our students.

Firstly, we will look at what educational theory and research tells us about how students learn to write, and in particular, what dialogic teaching has to offer.

We will then consider how to use Accountable Talk (Michaels et al, 2008) as a concrete means for promoting respectful, engaging and rigorous discussions about writing in the classroom. With some ways of working established, we will drill down into what it means to view academic writing as a process of argumentation, and how this shift in understanding can cut across all disciplines to support student success.


Thursday 26th of May

Duchesne Women's College at the University of Qld, St Lucia

Unifying school culture for a thinking education

In schools, there are multiple cultures at play. Be it amongst groups of students, within classes, across a faculty or even an extra curricular program. Cultures are formed whenever groups come together for a sustained period. This is a significant point for school leaders to consider, for all aspects of their leadership, but not more important than specifically leading pedagogical change.

Leading teaching for thinking, brings together three significant school cultures of leadership, teachership and pedagogy which need to align for successful implementation. Unifying these three elements of school culture requires bringing into question deeply held educational beliefs, assumptions, values and practices of school leaders and teachers. Success is dependent on the extent to which perceptions and enacted interpretations of school leadership, teaching and learning align amongst the school community. In your school, is this a clash of cultures or a cohesive integration?

In this leading teaching for thinking master class, we will:

• Discuss characteristics of school wide structures which enable shared understanding of teaching for thinking amongst school leaders and teachers.

• Challenge commonly held false beliefs and assumptions about teaching for thinking and demonstrate why such misconceptions are detrimental for classroom practice and students’ cognitive development.

• Provide practical advice for both school leaders and teachers on how to overcome some of the challenges of leading teaching for thinking.


Thursday 9th of June

  • Breakfast - Queensland Cricketers' Club Gabba

  • Afternoon tea - The Links Hope Island Gold Coast

  • Zoom Wednesday 20 July (Term 3) – 8:00am – 10:00am

Becoming a Critical Thinker

Performance virtues such as resilience and grit are familiar and valuable character goals developed by teachers in contemporary classrooms. Yet, if we want students to become life-long learners and critical thinkers, we also need to target their intellectual character. Critical thinkers display intellectual virtues including open-mindedness, inquisitiveness, autonomy and attentiveness in their independent, consistent and unbiased use of critical thinking.

This masterclass will focus on developing teachers’ pedagogical expertise in applied virtue epistemology so that they can make a deep, meaningful and longstanding impact upon the intellectual character of their students. We will look at some simple classroom practices that can be implemented to develop intellectual virtue in your students.

This masterclass will focus on developing teachers’ pedagogical expertise in applied virtue epistemology so that they can make a deep, meaningful and longstanding impact upon the intellectual character of their students. We will look at some simple classroom practices that can be implemented to develop intellectual virtue in your students.

The key themes that will be explored in this session include:

  • Pedagogical schema: Exploring the connection between the intellectual virtues and the values of inquiry in teaching critical thinking.

  • Epistemological beliefs and values: Authenticity in modelling intellectual character in the classroom.

  • Classroom culture: How the language, interactions, activities, and goals that dominate our classroom shape the intellectual character of our students.

  • Key intellectual virtues: Deep dive into intellectual humility, courage, attentiveness, inquisitiveness and open-mindedness.

  • Student agency: Guiding students to be masters of their own character.


Thursday 11th of August

Duchesne Women's College at the University of Qld, St Lucia

Creating Curious Classrooms


Curious learners are more likely to ask questions that will lead to innovation and knowledge creation if fostered in supportive learning cultures. Cultivating an appetite for this curiosity can super-charge the learning experience, mature a student’s desire to inquire and question more deeply.

Asking questions motivated by an itch to explore, or a desire to know, is a central part of what it means to be a learner. Student questions become a crucible of curiosity in the classroom that fuel the engine for students’ cognitive development as a critical thinker. Despite their potential, student questions are insufficiently harnessed by teachers to engage students in this quest for knowledge. Instead, curiosity is observed to wane through schooling which correlates with a decline in students’ questions when teacher talk dominates the classroom discourse (Almeida, 2012; Clark et al., 2019; Engel, 2015).

This masterclass will focus on teachers’ pedagogical expertise to understand the conditions and culture that enable student questioning and curiosity. By exploring how teachers can negotiate the curriculum to motivate students in ways to galvanise their curiosity.

We will look at some simple classroom practices that can be implemented to initiate and support student questioning through the following:

  • Pedagogical schema: Explore the connections between the inquiry, cognitive skills and the values of inquiry focusing explicitly on critical questioning.

  • Classroom culture: How can intentional classroom dialogue, interactions and cultivate a psychological safe classroom to ask questions.

  • Practical: Deep dive into multiple practical ways to initiate and support student questioning and curiosity by rethinking the Q-Matrix, Values of Inquiry and more.

Thursday 13th of October

Duchesne Women's College at the University of Qld, St Lucia

Planning for Thinking & Shared Practice

Morning session: Shared Practice

Showcase presentations are 20-minute stories that go into more depth about leading pedagogical change in your school. You may target one of the following

  • Developing expert teaching teams

  • Effective pedagogical practices

  • Leading systematic curriculum delivery

This presentation should consider the mechanisms that lead to success and provide insight for other teaching for thinking schools and teacher leaders.


Spotlight stories are 10-minute teacher stories that focus on deliberate practice in the classroom. This spotlight identifies a successful teaching episode that may feature new way of working or implementing a new strategy. Spotlight stories are designed to be short nuggets of motivation to encourage teaching for thinking pedagogical risk taking in the classroom.

Afternoon session: Intentional collaboration

The afternoon collaborative planning time is semi structured to make the most out of your valuable time with colleagues to reflect, connect and intentionally collaborate for 2022.

  • Developing expert teaching teams

  • Effective pedagogical practices

  • Leading systematic curriculum delivery

Thursday 1st September

& Thursday 1st December

Duchesne Women's College at the University of Qld, St Lucia

In the morning, listen to inspiring stories that have led these teachers to research in the field of teaching for thinking. After lunch, learn about rigorous methods that can inform your way of understanding data in the classroom. Take back to school the latest research that can inform and challenge your teaching for thinking practice