Thinking Moves A – Z

Thinking Moves A – Z is a vocabulary of 26 types of thinking. The Moves are understandable, comprehensive and memorable. They make metacognition simple for teachers and learners, bringing big benefits in school and everyday life. Watch this video to learn more…

Our thinking ability is what makes us distinctively human.  Yet we have no generally accepted approach to teaching thinking – and no common vocabulary to describe different ways of thinking.  This, when you think about it, is extraordinary.  Imagine trying to teach or learn maths if we did not have commonly accepted terms such as add, subtract, multiply and divide.

Thinking Moves A – Z  provides a vocabulary for thinking.  The moves themselves are not new – we all use them in our learning and our life every day.  But now we have a way of talking about how we think, and that gives us a means to work on improving the effectiveness of our thinking. 

Please follow this link to order a copy of the new Thinking Moves A – Z book.

Thinking Moves A – Z is a structured approach to thinking about thinking – a framework for metacognition.  In this video, Roger Sutcliffe explains how it works.

Students at Sandringham Primary, Newham, London could remember all 26 Thinking Moves in their very first session with facilitator, Paul Kell

Year 3 students at Bunscoill Rhumsaa in the Isle of Man used Thinking Moves to plan speeches about their favourite predator.

Metacognition Made Simple

Research by the Education Endowment Foundation has shown that effective strategies for metacognition and self-regulation:

  • Have consistently high levels of impact;
  • Are better when taught in collaborative groups so that learners can support each other and make their thinking explicit through discussion;
  • Require pupils to take greater responsibility for their learning;
  • Can be particularly effective for low achieving and disadvantaged pupils.

Thinking Moves A – Z supports every step of the EEF’s recommended framework for metacognition and self-regulated learning.

How to Use Thinking Moves

Regular reference by teachers to Thinking Moves will motivate pupils to practice and demonstrate different sorts of thinking. 

Here’s an example of how to use two Thinking Moves, Think Ahead and Zoom in/out in your classroom:


  • Thinking Moves A – Z Book:  comprehensive guide to all 26 Thinking Moves, with associated games, exercises and  other learning activities;
  • Thinking Moves Free Resources: selection of useful teaching materials as part of our Teacher Toolkit
  • Thinking Moves Premium Resources:  more teaching materials and plans for inquiry based lessons, covering the full range of Thinking Moves;
  • Thinking Moves Calendar:  tips for incorporating Thinking Moves into all areas of the curriculum, and skill building webinars;
  • Thinking Moves Evaluation:  survey based evaluation tools to monitor teacher and student progress with the adoption of Thinking Moves and impact on metacognition

Thinking Moves A – Z Training

Our Foundation course on Thinking Moves A – Z, helps teachers:

  • Become familiar with Thinking Moves A – Z
  • Understand how to build Thinking Moves into the curriculum
  • Understand how Thinking Moves can enrich inquiry based learning
  • Get practical advice on how to embed Thinking Moves into your school’s teaching and learning

The training is available in various configurations:

  • Individual training as advertised above
  • INSET: £1,200 for up to 20 staff, with reduced rate 0f £1,000 available for small schools
  • All training includes access to Thinking Moves premium online resources

We offer a range of supporting resources to help you build Thinking Moves into your teaching and learning:

  • Introduce you to Thinking Moves A – Z;
  • Show you how to enrich inquiry based learning programmes, such as Philosophy for Children, by incorporating Thinking Moves;
  • Show you how to build Thinking Moves into the main curriculum;
  • Give you practical guidance on how to embed Thinking Moves in your school’s overall approach to teaching and learning.
  • Upcoming courses, training options and pricing

Thinking Moves A – Z is a DialogueWorks’ copyright © 2019


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