Teacher of the Year



Every year the Center for Teaching Thinking honors outstanding TBL teachers by designating them as TBL Teachers of the Year. This year CTT is proud to make this award to four teachers from Spain. They are Charo Perez Sanchez, from Salzillo School in Molina, Pablo Carrion Rodrigo, from Lope de Vega School in Benidorm, and Maria Montes Barron, from NCLIC school, in Vitoria, and Iker Pagola Jauregui, a primary grade teacher from Clegio Erain close to the French/Spanish border. We congratulate Charo, Pablo, Maria, and Iker for their commitment to TBL and the extremely distinguished record of accomplishments that they have exhibited in shifting their daily teaching methodology from a teacher-centered, memory based, rote learning methodology to TBL instruction. But even more important, we congratulate Charo, Pablo, and Maria for their pioneering work in extending the application of TBL to new domains in innovative ways:


  • Charo has developed a full array of TBL lessons that make music of every sort meaningful,
  • Pablo has extended the use of specific TBL skills in developing creative ideas for new and helpful products, and in then judging the feasibility of such inventions, thereby extending the use of content from the Spanish curriculum that they have learned to things practical and beneficial,
  • Maria has extended the boundaries of the development of critical thinking skills to 3 and 4 year olds,
  • Iker has made TBL a basis for learning Basque in ways that generalize to all other langage learning.


We again congratulate these teachers for their dedication to good teaching and their pioneering work in extending thinking instruction to domains hitherto untapped for the kind of rich learning TBL brings to them.

Here is a brief professional biography of each of this year’s TBL Teachers of the Year. If you want to reach any of them please email CTT at info@nctt.net and we will forward your email to them.


pablocarrionPablo Carrión Rodrigo


Primary teacher. Project-Based Learning coordinator (based on thinking.). Learning Competences teacher. Lope de Vega International School, Benidorm, Spain.


I like to imagine myself as a musician who enjoys playing a special piano: education. Every single sound produced by the keys is a methodological action, a piece of advice, a challenge, an emotion, an experience that justifies and enriches our usefulness as educators. The accurate sum of the measured performance of the notes produces a melody that makes our enviable profession beautiful.


But magic and inspiration are not in the melodies, they are in the rests, these reflexive, genuine and sublime spaces specially orchestrated for thinking. Quality thinking, like the most beautiful symphonies with their crescendos, morendos or an exquisite sotto voce, require special skills and acquired routines and habits. This is what TBL provides.


Its blending of skillful thinking and educational content produces a rhythm in which education in the classroom begins a life-long experience of learning through critical and creative thinking.



Maria Montes Barron



I teach the area of THINKING PROJECT and INVENTIONS- to 3 , 4 and 5 year-old children at NClic School- in Vitoria-Gasteiz.


I really appreciate the opportunity to work in a school like NClic. A Center characterized by a project which works with different methodologies such as Multiple Intelligences, Trilingualism, Robotics, The Willems Method , and Critical and Creative Thinking, among others.


I love, on one hand the idea of running away from the traditional one-dimensional method of teaching to give the students the chance of learning by themselves, especially by experimenting with ides. And on the other hand, I love being, being an accompaniment that guides the pupils in their process of learning, working with them hand by hand. And this is what I can do when we do different Thinking Skills through TBL. And, although they are very young yet, they are improving and I can say that I really have little thinkers that each day surprise me more and more.


But I do not work on my own. I work in a great collaborative community and everything would be different without the support of all my colleagues.



charoperezCharo Pérez Sánchez


I teach Music in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades of Secondary at Colegio Salzillo, in Molina de Segura, Murcia.


When I teach music I try to connect it with our lives in this world we live in. I now do this through TBL and this method has changed everything in my classroom. I’m not a traditional teacher any more. My students learn by themselves and I am only a guide for them, as they are aware of what they learn and how they learn, being absolutely active in their learning process. This is because they now all learn by thinking.


Iker Pagola Jauregui


I am a Primary and Secondary teacher at Erain School (Irun, Gipuzkoa, Spain), a centre of COAS Educational Group. I am head of the Basque Department and responsible of the development of the TBL Project.


As a teacher of language I have always been interested in learning about new methodologies that promote motivation, communication and active roles of the students. In 2009 I did a quite thorough investigation that showed that there are some aspects of language learning than can be transferred from one language to another, not only from the mother tongue to the second language, but also in the reverse direction. This research made me think that if we include thinking in language learning we will be able to obtain better results and a deeper learning of that language.


Since 2012 I have worked with other Basque teachers of COAS (Amaia ikerSegovia, Maite Mazorriaga, Xabier Etxebarria and Txema Mediavilla) to translate the materials of the Thinking Based Learning methodology into Basque.

Our students of Basque are now infusing the thinking skills that they are learning into the way they learn Basque, and the results are being really good. Having clear objectives and getting to these objectives with the help of thinking maps and graphic organizers, the students develop critical and creative thinking expressed in Basque. And they realize that reflecting about their own learning process (metacognition) is essential for planning future thinking tasks modelled on what they have already done.


It is very important to create thinking communities in order to be able to make a change: from traditional classrooms to schools of thinking. Working together with Jaime Ginés (Primary English Teacher at Erain School), our school is being transformed and thinking is playing a main role.

I am convinced that what we have done in the teaching of Basque can be transferred to learning any language. Skilful thinking will promote good communication and communication will help us to think more skilfully.