Dr Cas Olivier

(Expert on the thinking brain)

I refuse to follow the broad school who believes learning means receiving and processing external information.

Descartes (1596–1650) realised the prime function of the brain when he coined the phrase: “I think, therefore I am.” He did not say, “I memorise, therefore I am,” which seems to have become the credo of the current education system. In short, the brain is wired to think.

Thinking Tools originated from my book The DNA of Great Teachers (2012) which was the result of 8 years seeking the truth about the learning brain.

With thinking Tools I aim to destruct traditional dinosaur teaching practices such as:

  • Starting lessons by stating the learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are most of the time not understood by learners at the beginning of the lesson. Learning outcomes say what will be mastered at the end of the lesson therefor they don’t serve a purpose at the beginning of a lesson. The Thinking Tools enables learners to discover the learning outcomes throughout the lesson.
  • Memorizing textbooks by summarizing or reducing a chapter to an A4 page and then to o an A5 pages and then to keywords. This process is repeated for weeks on end. During the assessment, it is expected from the brain to expand what was reduced, to demonstrate deep thinking and insight while solving problems.
  • Teachers who transfer THEIR knowledge to the visual and hearing areas of learners’ brains and then subsequently expect the frontal cortex to demonstrate insight and solve problems.

I was a biology teacher and head of department, training adviser at the University of Pretoria, research coordination with the National Training Board and a training adviser with the department of labour.

When teachers are trained in Thinking Tools, they have the knowhow to empower their students with Thinking Tools which subsequently provides their students with critical thinking skills.

Selecting and using Thinking Tools are prerequisites for students to become self-regulated learners.

I am the author of the book: Potential Development using Thinking Tools – The Key to Flipped Teaching 2nd edition and  co-author of Critical Thinking: A Multi-Dimensional approach in the Context of South Africa edited by Professor Mary Grosser (NWU). Click HERE for a free copy

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