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Higher Order Thinking and Instructional Strategy


HOT questions on Design Thinking

How does human think? We heard about slow learners, we also heard about smart learners. Why should we have that type of labelling? Should we look into how they think?  And then streamline them into one channel of teaching and learning process. I think the crucial parts is by looking at the complexity of a specific concept we want to teach. The more complex the idea, the more task we need to give to the learners. To do this, I think the best approach is we need to go back to basics, the learning theory.  For example, the ‘black box’ as mentioned by the behaviourist.

A metaphor of black box is usually described to explain the behaviorist approach about learning, i.e. the learner is a black box and nothing is known about what goes on inside. Knowing what’s inside the black box is not essential for determining how behavior is governed by its environmental antecedents and consequences.


A black box (in the circuit analysis sense), showing input and output Attribution: Frap at English Wikipedia [Public domain] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Blackbox.svg.

By considering the learner as a black box, regardless of their ability in thinking skill, I think the first strategy before start teaching is, I will ask as many questions as I can to the learners on the concept I want to deliver. Gather their prior knowledge, then establish the relationship of what they have and the idea I want to deliver. My second strategy is I will ask the learners to draw a conclusion (reasoning) to answer the ‘How’ and ‘Why.’ The combination of ‘how’ and ‘why’ reflects LOT (lower order thinking) and HOT (Higher order thinking). In the ‘black box’ the ‘how’ occurs in the ‘input’ while the ‘why’ occurs in the ‘output. I think in teaching and learning, we should start from ‘easy to difficult,’ from ‘simple to complex’ or from ‘general to specific.’ The outcome of the reasoning might be wrong or right, as I know the learners even though they have a piece of prior knowledge, “nothing is known about what goes on inside” them, to clarify this, our teaching process needs to be guided by our learning objectives and learning outcomes. My third strategy is I will encourage the learners to think critically and creatively, means there are not only one way to solve problems. As a teacher, I will provide ‘path’ (skill and knowledge), this can be done by providing the learners sufficient and appropriate learning resources. My forth strategy, I will ask challenging questions, where the learners are encouraged to argue and justify support with evidence they have. In other words, this will trigger an advanced cognitive demand on the learners.

I think before we give the learner the HOT questions, we need to prepare the learning environment where there is a lot of activities that involve thinking process from low to high. If we assume, we can teach the higher level of skill and knowledge to the low achiever or at the learners who are at the lower entry level of skill and knowledge, this is not right. We should provide a clear direction to our learners by providing a clear learning path in line with their entry level of skill and knowledge.

Creative Commons License
Higher Order Thinking and Instructional Strategy by Zahari Hamidon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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