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What is Visible Thinking in the Museum?

WHAT IS VISIBLE THINKING IN THE MUSEUM (AND HOW CAN IT HELP ME TO ENGAGE MY AUDIENCE?) Way back in 2011, I discovered the magic of thinking routines and Visible Thinking whilst working at a museum in Amsterdam. It was at this point that I started developing a new approach for educators, what became Visible Thinking in the Museum or VTM for short. Visible Thinking in the Museum is an easy-to-follow method that allows educators like you to confidently design and lead engaging inquiry-led sessions with art, objects and ideas for any

What is Slow Art Day?

WHAT IS SLOW ART DAY? Slow Art Day is an international event celebrating looking at art in a different way. This year Slow Art Day is taking place on Saturday 2 April 2022 in nearly 150 venues around the world (and counting…). So, what is Slow Art Day all about? Here’s what you need to know. HOW DID SLOW ART DAY START? In 2008 Phyl Terry visited The Jewish Museum in New York and instead of trying to see everything, he found a select few pieces to focus on: just 2 paintings: Hans Hoffman’s

5 New Thinking Routines to Try in 2022

5 NEW THINKING ROUTINES TO TRY IN 2022 Have you been using the same thinking routines for a while now? Maybe you’ve got a few core routines that you’re comfortable with and now you’re looking for some new routines to add to your repertoire? Sometimes it can be reassuring to stick to the same methods and techniques that you’ve always used. At other times, I feel it’s good to do a little bit of experimentation - this helps me to stay curious and to be always looking for new ways to work with the same artworks and

3 Key Ways to Foster Curiosity in your Programmes

3 KEY WAYS TO FOSTER CURIOSITY IN YOUR PROGRAMMES So in today’s episode is the first of 2 episodes devoted to a subject close to my heart: curiosity. This week I'll be exploring what curiosity is and sharing 3 key ways you can provoke curiosity and wonder with your audiences on your tours and programmes. Next week, I'll be discussing how we can stay curious ourselves as educators, guides and teachers. Curiosity is notoriously difficult to define and it’s even harder to work out how to harness and foster it. It could be defined as an eagerness to

How to Use ‘See Think Me We’ Thinking Routine with Artworks

HOW TO USE 'SEE THINK ME WE' THINKING ROUTINE WITH ARTWORKS SUMMARY Today I’m discussing how to use the ‘See Think Me We’ thinking routine to create personal and community connections with artworks. This is part of a new series of episodes on the podcast where I share a thinking routine with you and all the insights for how you might be able to use it with an artwork or object with groups - either in-person or online. 'See Think Me W'e was our ‘thinking routine of the month’ recently in the Visible Thinking Membership. Every month we

6 Essential Thinking Routines you Need in your Repertoire

In this episode, I’m discussing 6 essential thinking routines you should have in your educator repertoire. These are thinking routines that you can use to create engaging discussions with art or artefacts or routines that will help you develop and grow in your work as an educator. I’ve found it really hard to select just 6 thinking routine out of the 100+ routines out there, but I’ve come up with a list that every educator should have in their repertoire to draw upon in different situations or for different purposes. I've chosen: An all-rounder thinking routine A thinking routine

5 Ways to Use Language for Positive Effect in Art Discussions

As an educator, do you pay attention to the language you use when you are leading a discussion about art or objects? Do you notice how certain words, phrases and tenses can have a positive or negative effect on a group? Here are 5 ways you can use language for positive effect in your discussions. 1. Use neutral language Staying as neutral as possible as a facilitator encourages feedback from every participant and allows for multiple interpretations. Neutrality is a tricky concept (here's a good read on it) and this subject is always quite a thorny one in my classes

A Brief Guide to Thinking Routines

Interested in thinking routines but not sure where to start? Focusing on thinking routines is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to start working with Visible Thinking. Here is my brief guide: In 2011, I spent a year developing a new programme at the Tropenmuseum using thinking routines from Visible Thinking as a method of engaging and interacting with museum objects. The resulting programme ‘Stories Around the World‘ uses these routines  as the structure around which students can explore objects in the museum in a slow, careful and detailed way. What is a routine? A routine is simply defined as a sequence of actions or

Our 6 Most Popular Blogs of 2019

What did you enjoy reading the most in 2019? It's always good to reflect at the end of the year before starting a new one - and it was really interesting to see which of our blog posts were the most popular! Did you catch all of these? Scroll through this list, and catch up on our top blogs you may have missed throughout the year. 1. Visual Thinking Strategies and Visible Thinking No surprise this one - this blog has been a perennial favourite since it was first published way back in 2013. Update and refreshed for 2019, it

A Quick Guide to Facilitation Skills

On my Visible Thinking in the Museum trainings we teach participants facilitation skills for use on guided tours or educational programmes with art and museum objects. I use this image (above) of an angry teacher (!) to get the discussion started with the question 'What is facilitation?' What is facilitation? What is a facilitator?  The word facilitate actually comes from the Latin which means to ‘make easy’. A facilitator is basically a person whose role is to guide people through a process to an effective result. On a guided tour or educational programme, facilitation is centred around guiding processes and creating participation. How

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