Tony Gurr

When does a THOUGHT turn into a THUNK?

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities, Teacher Learning on 21/06/2013 at 9:57 pm

When it’s used by a TEACHer!


Looking differently (Gilbert quote)

And…if we don’t do it, who will?


I once heard a very wise woman (might have been a man) say “The raising of kids is far too important…to leave to parents”!

OK – that was another “fib”…just made it up!


A few days back, I did a wee post based on one of my favourite books – The Little Book of THUNKS – by Ian Gilbert.

A couple of you asked me to elaborate a little…so, at the risk of breaching Ian’s IP rights, here you go (BUT, do try and get a copy of the book…it is lovely)!


What I didn’t tell you (then) is that Ian is a TEACHer.

His whole book and it’s wonderful 260 thunks (I actually think there maybe 264 in there…but let’s not quibble) fell out of his work with Matthew Lipman and his P4C Programme

Go on, have a guess…


P = ?

“4” is easy-peasy

C = ?


Philosophy for Children!


What a wonderful bloody idea…sorry…THUNK!

Ian describes how using this type of “approach” (Socratic…in essence) with this type of “content”…really allows kids to use that little creativity gene they have (you know, the one most schools try and surgically remove before graduation).

This is because THUNKS act as “thought hand grenades” (love that phrase)!


Just look at these TWO:

THUNKS 01 and 02


…or better – a couple that touch on SCHooling:

THUNKS 07 and 08

What kid is NOT going to have a field day with those?


BTW – if I hear that any of you have told your kids (or young adults) that the “opposite” of LEARN is…UNlearn…I will hunt and track you down and then eat your first-born…click HERE to find out just why!


The “trick”?

Well, programmes like P4C (or any “inquiry-based” approach) are designed to help kids “take back” their creative (and critical) thinking skills. They are designed to give students a “voice”…and, the stuff they “create” is nothing short of amazing!


This means?

TEACHers need to throw the “grenade”…and get out of the bloody way!

Ian actually gives a wide range of “tips” for TEACHers (in the book)…tips that I have boiled down and ranted about on the little ole blog (from time to time):



You know I am “right”…


I want to say…a CONSULTing TEACHer can often do a far better job than a TEACHing TEACHerand I’m trying to predict the thunk that might be making a noise in your heads:

Consultants WHY

Sounds like the “job” most of us “signed up” for…YES?


Take a look at a couple more thunks from Ian:

THUNKS 03 and 04

Are you shiriously telling me that Pages 67-8 of the textbook are BETTER?


OK…you don’t have to “replace” the textbook totally – but you could start more classes with thunks like these:

THUNKS 05 and 06

You know…many TEACHers already do – and they are much happier with their lot!


It is these TEACHers that can also get to other questions


…questions that MATTER, questions that make a REAL difference!


Hey, maybe we could even organise some evening classes for “those parentals” – now that would be progress!


John Holt Quote8

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