Looking at Students'
Conceptual Development in the Truth Ideal
Throughout the Truth Module you have been paying
attention to students' thinking and noticing how it develops. Not
only have their skills been improving, so has their general conception
of truth and what it involves. Now, as you draw the module to a
close, it's good to help students review their journey and consolidate
their understandings. It's also valuable to assess how students'
conceptions have developed. It tells you what you and they have
accomplished, offers insights on how to do even better next time,
and provides evidence for justifying your good work to others.
While the issue of truth is always going to be
present in classrooms, you may want to conclude the Truth Module
with the opportunity with students reflecting on the topic and what
they have learned. Some strategies for doing this include the following.
The first is especially valuable, because it provides a before-after
- Students complete a concept
map of truth as they did at the beginning. Once they have
sketched their new maps, you can hand back their earlier maps
and ask them to write or talk about how their ideas about truth
and evidence have changed.
- Students write a letter of advice to a younger
child explaining how one might approach puzzles of truth. The
letter should offer practical advice that the reader can use in
a range of future situations.
- Students make a visual representation of
truth and write about it, explaining the various aspects of their
- Students write a
story of truth that highlights a particular problem related to
truth and how it was resolved.
Assessing Conceptual Change
Looking at students' pre and post-concept maps
can be very useful in assessing student growth and change. As you
examine students' maps, you may find it helpful to look for the
- What new strategies for dealing with questions
of truth do students list? Have they incorporated the key thinking
moves from the Truth Map? Are they using their own language for
these moves? Are they elaborating upon them?
- Do students show a greater awareness of the
complexity of grounding truth in evidence? Do students show a
sensitivity to the role of context, culture, and values?
- How have students' questions about truth
- Are students' responses more elaborated,
fleshed out, and/or connected to other parts of their thinking?
Here are three examples of students' concept maps
with commentary that might be useful in thinking about conceptual
When it's done, it's not over!
So you've completed the Truth Module. Perhaps
you're moving on to another Visible Thinking module. However, this
does not mean that truth is out of the picture from now on. You
will want to keep the theme of truth alive.
This is easy to do in a couple of ways. First
of all, just keep using the truth routines from time to time to
deepen students' content learning, wherever they fit. if you are
working on another module, weave them in occasionally.
Second, many routines are cross-cutting: They
show up in more than one module because they are helpful with more
than one ideal. You can point out when this happens.
In general, Visible Thinking looks toward a culture
of thinking in the classroom. This means that themes of truth, creativity,
understanding, fairness and more are generally in the air, and often
engaged through appropriate routines.