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Mentoring Teachers / Mentor Practices  / Making Thinking Explicit  / Mentor’s guide: Making your thinking explicit

Mentor’s guide: Making your thinking explicit

Making your thinking explicit involves describing the reasoning behind the instructional decisions you make, or the ways you respond to professional situations. You can think of it as pulling back the curtain—allowing the teacher candidate to see your internal, otherwise invisible thought processes at work. Being explicit is also a way of communicating with the TC during all the other practices—modeling the work of teaching, co-planning, coteaching, debriefing, analyzing student work. All of these are occasions for you and the TC to reason out loud together.

TCs get plenty of chances to observe what is happening in your classroom and around the school. They’ll see you make moves with students or how you organize activities, and they can learn from that, but the learning opportunity is limited if you don’t share your reasoning about the choices you make. For example, if they see you re-arranging student groups, they have no way of knowing if someone was misbehaving or if an English Language Learner was being paired up with a slightly more advanced ELL who speaks the same home language. If your mind is a black box, the TC will lose out on making sense of your decision—they need to hear what professional reasoning sounds like, even when it is hard to articulate.

Download PDF >  Making your thinking explicit