Concept Development: A Taba Thinking Strategy

Presented by Brenda Maier
Enrichment Specialist, Union Public Schools
OAGCT Board Member & newsletter editor
• Hilda Taba (1902-1967) drew on (among others)
Vygostsky’s constructivism and Piaget’s assimilation
and accommodation for this technique.
• The goal is to clarify and extend the students’ thinking
of a given concept.
• It is a technique in which the teacher facilitates the
students’ thinking through increasing levels of
Labeling & Supporting
• Puts responsibility for learning on the students.
Teacher facilitates, but they do thinking & have
ownership of their learning as they construct it.
• Builds from concrete to more abstract, lower levels
of thinking to higher ones, familiar to less familiar.
• Can be used to assess prior knowledge of a
concept or post-study understanding of a concept.
• Open-endedness allows for connections across
• Addresses affective domain as students
respectfully articulate their reasons and politely
listen to others’ viewpoints. Teacher models
acceptance of all justified answers.
• The processes of analyzing and labeling (with
justification) mirror and support the concept of
main idea and supporting details.
• Allows students to “discover” relationships.
• Trains students to think for themselves!
• Concept Development is compatible with
Common Core; that is, it emphasizes critical
thinking, analysis, reasoning, etc.
• Concept Development with gifted kids gives them
that opportunity to grapple with abstract ideas on
a higher level, with other students who are on
their level of understanding.
• Compatible with smartboard to add a
technological component that draws students in.
Practice your question.
Is it broad enough to get
specific responses?
“What do you think of when I say ‘Oklahoma?’”
“What are some resources one could find in our state?”
(Carrie Underwood, Keystone Lake, oil, cattle, teachers, etc.)
“What have you noticed about the stories we’ve been reading?”
(talking animals, not “pretend things”)
“What are some foods you eat?” (ham, not “meat”)
As a sort of exit slip and informal
assessment of their level of thought, I often
ask each student to write me a one-sentence
generalization of his/her overall take-away.
This isn’t to teach information, but to teach
the how to organize and process
information critically.
Schiever, S. W., (1991). A Comprehensive
Approach to Teaching Thinking. Allyn & Bacon
Techniques and Models in Gifted Education, a
graduate level gifted education course offered
by Oklahoma State University.
Van Eman, Dr. L., & Montgomery, Dr. D., current
& past presidents of OAGCT, graduate
professors of gifted education

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