The Teaching Thinking Certificate

About The Course

The Level One course combines theory on the Teaching Thinking approach with practical, worked examples...

This certificated course will run over one full day and two half-days, introducing exciting strategies to engage, motivate and challenge your students! Discover how to develop independent, resilient learners by improving the students thinking and reasoning ability. Along with practical, thinking tools we explore how students learn, how the brain works, and how dialogue is the most valuable tool in constructing learning.

There is plenty of opportunity between the taught sessions to trial the teaching thinking strategies, and each half day session begins with a reflection on professional learning, making the Teaching Thinking course engaging, interactive and rewarding.

Martin Renton

The Presenter

Martin Renton

Martin Renton works as a consultant and trainer in schools, colleges and universities.

An experienced teacher, Martin models approaches to critical thinking and inquiry. Martin has worked with DfES National Strategies and BBC Education, is an editor of Creative Teaching and Learning magazine, a Fellow of Newcastle University, and is completing his Doctorate in Education.

What The Course Covers

  • Practical strategies that support student engagement, encourage motivation and prompt substantive conversation
  • How we can encourage students to share their opinions and improve their ability to make reasoned judgements
  • Explore how we learn, what engages us, and how we are all different
  • The development of skills for life-long learning, developing independence, resilience to challenge and higher-order thinking
  • How debriefing learning can promote independence, and help students construct deeper understanding

Martin will discuss the value of meaningful student dialogue, and highlight the importance of developing skills for life-long learning in our colleges today.

This course combines theory on the teaching thinking approach with practical, worked examples. A teacher-research element between the taught days allows you to trial strategies with students in the classroom. Reflecting on your own experiences is a key factor in the success of this professional development programme. The course is certificated and can be accredited for Masters study.

Additional Courses

Level Two: Further Teaching Thinking

Placing the Teaching Thinking approach into a wider view of education, using student enquiry to encourage further independence in learning.

(Two Full Days, or One Full Day and Two Half Days)

Level Three: Teaching through Thinking (optional)

A linked unit of study at Masters Level, exploring the literature on Teaching Thinking theory through Action Research in the classroom.

(Worth 20 credits towards a full Masters in Education)

Level Four: Leading Thinking

An intensive programme which builds capacity for the college or organisation to consider Teaching Thinking as strategic improvement. Through Coaching and Peer Observation, this level trains select members of staff up to become Teaching Thinking facilitators and make the programme self-sustaining in the organisation.

(4 full days equivalent, including online coaching and support)


"[The course] was inspiring and informative, focusing on better teacher-student relations through dialogue and teacher-teacher feedback through Action Learning" Assistant Leader, Sprogcenter Midt, Denmark

"The facilitator was amazing and the courses were intense, challenging and draining but provide invaluable strategies that become second nature when used on a daily basis." Lecturer, Northern Ireland

"Put simply the Teaching thinking course was the best staff development I have ever had in 17yrs of teaching. Very motivating and useful" Lecturer, Northern Ireland

"A refreshing course which has been stimulating and thought provoking, and provided excellent resources to use in the classroom." Lecturer, Northern Ireland

"Inspiring way to encourage interaction between students and to encourage deep thinking. I found the strategies brought reluctant students into the group and allowed them to become more vocal" Lecturer, Northern Ireland

"Excellent course; it has really helped me engage even more actively with my learners. I have been enthused by the different strategies and it has encouraged me to be really innovative in my teaching". Lecturer, Northern Ireland

"Brilliant!! Everyone should complete the courses, it would revolutionise how we teach in the college!" Lecturer, Northern Ireland

"I want to go and put all my new skills into practice. This has been extremely helpful and useful in my role and I have learnt so much." Teacher, Northumberland

So why has Martin Renton been the perfect lecturer for us? He uses many practical activities which give the teachers ideas for the classroom. He also focuses on the idea of progress as a well as outcome, how progress demonstrates learning and how teachers can support each other in the classroom, and discuss professional learning.
A quotation from a deputy leader in Oslo during Martins presentation in Newcastle: "From the first break and throughout the day I got e-mails and SMS from the staff about having an amazing day. You really made their day." Oslo Adult Education Centre, Sinsen, Norway

Not only do the many Teaching Thinking strategies encourage and motivate the student to move towards learning for themselves, they also [help me to] find new and interesting ways to get the students thinking and learning.

Since completing the courses I have found the classroom easier to manage, more interactive and a more positive learning environment by encouraging learning through enquiry. Media students who would have previously struggled to successfully produce written theoretical pieces are participating and offering their own well thought-out opinions.

This course has been of great help to me. The students really enjoy the exercises which they say help them to recall information more easily and understand new concepts. I now use the techniques I have learned regularly in my lessons. I would strongly recommend anyone to take this course.

It was excellent and extremely enjoyable, I would recommend this course to all staff as I now use it in my everyday delivery, it has become second nature and changed the dynamic of my classroom for the better.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Teaching Thinking course and would like to proceed to the next level. I adapt the teachings to my daily teaching and its makes my job more interesting and enjoyable, and enhances the students learning. More of this please!

A Leadership View
[The Teaching Thinking Certificate].. has encouraged staff to try new techniques of their own and to be more innovative in the ways that they approach their teaching and learning. Staff no longer feel that a student needs to be 'spoon fed' ; but need to be encouraged to 'think' for themselves.

I feel that there is more sharing of ideas and good practice taking place within the college now. Where a number of staff from the same team have undertaken the course; learners notice a difference in the way that they are being taught and I feel that this has enhanced rewards for both the learner and the member of staff.

.. to complete the course, staff must carry out an observation of a lesson where the strategies are being implemented. This has started to break down the 'closed door' syndrome that surrounds the classroom. It has enabled the college to introduce peer observation which would probably not have happened if we had not introduced the Teaching Thinking Certificate. One of the other spin offs from the course has been the increased enthusiasm of staff to look at their classroom practices; they are more open about asking for help; have become more reflective in their practice and have 'demanded' more.
Head of Quality Improvement, FE College, Northern Ireland