Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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8. Watch It, Do It, Know It -
Cognitive Apprenticeship
“A cognitive apprenticeship sort of takes off from where candle-makers and cloth-makers left off in the days gone by, and says ‘How do we teach someone by modeling and demonstrating a way of thinking, a way of "working in our minds?" ”
Linda Darling-Hammond
classroom scene

Key Questions:
  • How can students learn to think strategically?
  • How can teachers make thinking visible for their students and support more powerful learning?
students in circle

Learning Objectives:

  1. Creating cognitive apprenticeships – Teachers will learn what kinds of tasks and projects are appropriate to a cognitive apprenticeship. They will recognize that tasks should be authentic, representative of the field or domain being pursued, and based on real-world needs and contexts.
  2. Making thinking visible – Teachers will consider how to make expert thinking visible and how to support student learning through modeling, scaffolding, and coaching. They will recognize the need to break down a task, to carefully scaffold, and structure activities to guide a cognitive apprenticeship.
  3. Assessing students' learning – Teachers will understand how to make student thinking visible so they can judge when and how to support students' learning.

Video Program

This episode demonstrates how teachers help their students develop expertise and accomplish complex tasks by modeling, assisted performance, scaffolding, coaching, and feedback. It features Daryl Robbins, a fifth and sixth grade teacher at Birmingham Covington School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Pete Shaheen, a eleventh and twelfth grade English and Social Studies teacher at Birmingham Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan. University of Michigan professor Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar puts the segments in context with expert commentary.

Key Terms - New in this Session



cognitive apprenticeship






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Next Session: 9. Thinking About Thinking – Metacognition

Previous Session: 7. Learning From Others – Learning in a Social Context


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