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Spoon-feeding is not spoon-feeding

In education, spoon-feeding is understood as a teacher who feeds learners with information the teacher ‘digested’. It seems as if the 'digesting' takes place when the teacher prepares for the lesson and breaks it down into explainalbe chunks.

Learning without teaching

Children are natural explorers, and their observations and intuitions about the world around them are the foundation for learning. Unfortunately, the ways children are taught have not always taken advantage of those attributes.

The inner speech tool to manage learning

Managing inner speech is a tool to manage visual and ouditory learning material inputs.

The sweet fruits of Thinking Tools and Great Teaching

This July my Mandela 67 minutes took me 20 hours. I trained a teacher and a student-teacher on Thinking Tools and Great Teaching during the school holiday.

Isabella, the teacher applied her learning as she supported some of her learners during the school’s winter school.

This is Isabella’s testimony on her second school day on 25 July 2017:

Good day

Today I want to give testimony about Potential Development with Thinking Tools. I have done five sessions with Oom Cas Olivier during the holidays and today was my first day back at school.


Just a bit of background: I am a Geography and Tourism teacher at a private school. No, not that kind of private school. The kind of private school that caters for middle income people. We have our struggles with money, and do not always have the best facilities and latest technology. But we teach Christ's way. Or so I thought.


At the end of term 2, I felt like a total failure and seriously considered quitting teaching. My Grade 10 Geography class had an average of 18%. Yes, really. Not one student passed at 30%. And I only had 9 students, so you would think that small classes make a difference, yes? No!


Oom Cas appeared magically into my life, like a genie just at the right moment! (Too much?) Well, that's how I feel.


After the sessions, I felt excited to go back to school. And now, after my first day?? I've never taken drugs, but I can imagine this is what it feels like. I feel electrified. I want to do more! I want to take them further on this journey.


They are starting to think! It still seems a little bit like rusted wheels slowly getting into motion. Some learners are still very afraid of giving a wrong answer. They will learn - there are no more wrong answers, and they will also start to blossom!


I know we have a road ahead of us. There are, after all, roughly 10 years of bad history to undo. But after today, like a few of my Grade 10 learners said: "We are back!"


I can not thank Oom Cas enough! That he is willing to do the work God appointed him for.


I can not recommend these sessions enough. EVERY teacher should do this. EVERY parent should do this. EVERY child should do this.


With an overflowing heart,

Isabella Smit


See more on my Facebook page: Potential Development using Thinking Tools: https://www.facebook.com/groups/280845562380703/

How to keep learners attention

Learners of the 21st century need to become part of a workforce where they can function as independent thinkers. What can independent thinkers do?

The potential development approach followed when empowering learners to think

I offer potential development 3-hour sessions for learners.

Contact sessions take place at Xanadu, Hartbeespoort.

For distant learners, I offer Skype sessions

The target group is learners from grade 4 to 12. leaners must be in the same phase.

Grade 4s are grouped together unless there is a brother or sister.

Sessions are offered as arranged. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The cost is R200 per 3-hour session per  child.

For more information see my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/280845562380703/

The idea is that parents gather a group children and then set a date, preferably on the Facebook page.

What are the differences between study/learn and Potential Development?



Study: Rely on the brain’s worst function, i.e. the memory.

Potential Development: Rely on the brain’s best function, i.e. the ability to think.



Study: Memorizing is not natural, e.g. you will never find children on their own busy memorizing anything.

Potential Development: Thinking is a natural process, e.g. children are forever busy thinking and thinking out new things.



Study: Children keep on forgetting more than what they can remember. E.g. they memorize 15 facts, they remember 10, they learn another 15 facts and remember 5 because the brain is exhausted and after 20 minutes cannot even remember the previous 10. They hate it.

Potential Development: Thinking tool enable children to discover 15 facts, see the relation with other 15 facts. Compare it with another 5 concepts, can define and motivate and grasp cause and effect. They have A-HA experiences, love and enjoy it.



Study: Measured by the time spent sitting e.g. 2 hours. (most of the time fruitless)

Potential Development: Measured by the number of Thinking Tools used to conquer the theme.



Study: Is demotivating.

Potential Development: Thinking tools enthuse children to dig deeper and work harder.

  1. When is the best time to enrol your child for Potential Development sessions? NOW
  2. As a teacher, when is the best time to enrol to empower you to enable your learners to think and thrive? NOW
  3. Parents, when is the best time to invite your friends to enrol for parent sessions on Potential development? NOW. It is a life coaching experience.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

No one can ignore Thinking Tools anymore

The concept ‘Thinking Tools’ emanated from my book: The DNA of Great Teachers.

Some examples of success: 

NWU achieving 88% and 100% after failing two years, with a grade 12 Geology class whose class average improved with 24% from 31% to 55 %

Best learner in the class increased with 35%


For more sucsesses: https://www.facebook.com/groups/280845562380703/

The Thinking Tools philosophy

The curriculum, as well as textbooks, are linear in their nature. The brain on the other hand is not designed for linear processes. The memory also operates in a linear way and forgets more than it is able to remember. This makes it difficult if not impossible for learners to attend what teachers are explaining. Learners using Thinking Tools achieve higher marks in tests and exams because thinking and problem-solving are natural occurring activities for the brain.

In this way, the definition of learning changes from memorizing to thinking. Whatever is generated by means of thinking, is cemented into the long-term memory. Thinking Tools in not a study method.

Why Thinking Tools for learners?

  1. The Thinking Tool way of thinking deals with the long-term memory.
  2. Gain a variety of insights.
  3. Master subject vocabulary which enables them to clearly express themselves during tests and exams.
  4. Gain insight in logical, creative and big picture thinking.
  5. Can ask enquiring questions.
  6. Can analyze exam questions to eliminate wrong interpretation of questions.
  7. Develop self-confidence.
  8. Improve academic results.

Success stories are available on the Facebook group: ‘Potential Development using Thinking Tools’.

The content of teacher/parent sessions

Think program empower teachers and parents to master 43 Thinking Tools which are classified in eight groups. Practical implementation is done with a Thinking Tool planner which is used to by both teachers and learners. Training in Thinking Tools goes hand in hand with training in Great Teaching which includes five teaching methods.

Thinking Tools is registered with SACE for 20 CPTD points.

Sessions, duration and costs of sessions for teachers and parents

Teachers attend 6 sessions and parents 5 sessions which is also offered with Skype. A group consist for a minimum and maximum of 6 people. Each person Skyping needs an own workstation. Contact and Skype sessions are blended. The duration of a session is 3 hours and the cost is R200 per session per person.

Zelda Botha manages the sessions:  WhatsApp 0723380046 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sessions, duration and costs of sessions for children grades 4 to 12 and students

Children have 4 to 5 sessions at R200 per session. Contact and Skype sessions are blended. With grade 4s, a parent must sit in. For parents sitting in, without doing own sessions, there is a cost of R200 per session.

Paulette van der Merwe manages the sessions: WhatsApp 0826002362 of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kind regards

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Add: Xanadu Nature Estate, Hartbeespoort
Tel: 083 259 2857
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