TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release
TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release

Bringing Critical Inquiry to the Golden Hills


Kandace Jordan

A perfect fit

I first became intrigued with The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC²) about a decade ago, when I attended a Pearson Think Tank (an independent education-focused think tank). It was there that I first heard Roland Case explain the work TC² was doing to bring critical thinking into the classroom.

A couple of years later, I heard that Garfield Gini-Neuman, also of TC², was presenting in Calgary through the Calgary Regional Consortium. This wasn’t a session I wanted to miss, so I attended with a colleague. It was an amazing talk—the critical thinking work Garfield described would be a perfect fit for further developing Golden Hills School Division’s powerful learning paradigm! So I chatted with Garfield afterwards, and we began making plans.


Shifting our thinking and practice in the Golden Hills

It has been a wonderful ride of learning with Garfield as a consistent partner, as well as Wally Diefenthaler and, more recently, Warren Woytuck. The TC² partners have provided system level presentations, school level work, collaborative and focus-group professional development, shoulder-to-shoulder teacher work, and planning and support with myself and the instructional coach team.

TC² moved us beyond the implementation of critical inquiry in the classroom, encouraging us to implement and operationalize critical thinking at a broader level. Before long, we were moving into careful, creative, and well-informed design of instruction through multiple entry points and with clear strategies. The skills facilitated and the templates provided have enabled us to develop thinking classrooms and thinking schools. TC²’s support for teachers in real time—using concrete strategies teachers can apply with competence—has led to a profound shift in thinking and practice for our teachers and school leaders alike.


Witnessing student engagement and commitment

In Golden Hills, we are fortunate to have four collaborative days (professional development days during which teachers from across Golden Hills in similar areas get together to work on common projects). Many of the subject groups, grade level groups, and instructional coaches worked extensively alongside Garfield and other TC² facilitators.

In these collaborative groups, TC² facilitators empowered teachers to design learning through a thinking lens and to present students with inquiry challenges as a focus for the learning process. Teachers now encourage students to revisit and refine their thinking based on criteria and judgment. We actively facilitate the thinking process by helping students focus on the big ideas and thought-provoking questions. Golden Hills teachers have all witnessed student success as students became more engaged, committed learners.


TC²: Working and learning along with us

TC² facilitators are knowledgeable professionals. Nonetheless, they embrace a learning attitude. They always seem to want to work and learn along with us rather than impose their particular brand on us. This humble approach has resulted in a rich and powerful professional learning environment in Golden Hills. TC² has enabled our administrators to expand their role as instructional leaders. They have helped our teachers to heighten their own critical thinking skills as they shape learning goals and outcomes. Ultimately, TC² has empowered us to transform our students into thinkers—people who ask critical questions, create, and innovate.

Dr. Kandace Jordan
Deputy Superintendent
Golden Hills School Division, Alberta