Cultures of Thinking
Creating Places Where Thinking is Valued, Visible and Actively Promoted
Dr. Ron Ritchhart
Senior Research Associate, Harvard Project Zero
May 1 – 2, 2015
9.00 am – 3.30 pm
Exact venue to be confirmed
The Cultures of Thinking Project is a global initiative under the direction of Dr. Ron Ritchhart, a Principal Investigator and Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Since 2000, the CoT Project has worked with hundreds of public, independent, and international schools and museums across North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe to help transform schools, classrooms, and museums into places where thinking is valued, visible and actively promoted as part of the regular day-to-day experience of all group members.
Three books have documented this work and are useful resources for those interested in developing a culture of thinking:
– Intellectual Character (Ritchhart, 2002)
– Making Thinking Visible (Ritchhart, Church & Morrison, 2011), and
– Creating Cultures of Thinking (Ritchhart, 2015).
Dr. Ron Ritchhart is a Senior Research Associate at Harvard Project Zero and Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His current research focuses on developing intellectual character, making thinking visible, and enhancing school and classroom culture. Ron’s research and writings, particularly his theory of Intellectual Character and his framework for understanding group culture, have informed the work of schools, museums, and organizations throughout the world.
Ron’s widely acclaimed book, Making Thinking Visible, co-authored with Mark Church and Karin Morrison, has popularized the use of thinking routines worldwide. Ron currently directs the Worldwide Cultures of Thinking Project aimed at facilitating effective learning in classrooms, schools, and organizations. Bialik College in Melbourne Australia, Oakland County Schools in Michigan, and the International School of Amsterdam have been key partners in Ron’s research.
This combination of private, public, and international schools have served as the prime sites for developing the core practices and school-based evidence that surround Cultures of Thinking. Ron’s forthcoming book, Creating Cultures of Thinking, couples the real classroom practice of teachers with whom he has worked with recent educational research on learning to illuminate how schools and classrooms can be transformed to develop the learners and thinkers we need for the 21st century
The CoT initiative considers education to be a social and cultural endeavor whose goal is the development of both the individual and the group as effective learners and thinkers able to engage with and adapt to a changing world. Within this context the most important assessment question we can ask ourselves as educators is: Who are our students becoming as thinkers and learners as a result of their time with us?
Learning is a product of thinking. If we want our students to learn well and develop understanding, we must create cultures of thinking that actively engage students in thinking on an ongoing basis.
However, this isn’t always an easy task. Schools and classrooms are not always set up to encourage thinking. Furthermore, by its very nature, thinking is a rather invisible and elusive process. How do we as teachers promote students’ thinking, recognize it when it occurs, and make thoughtfulness permeate our classrooms?
To create a culture of thinking, educators must work together to create a school environment whose structure and purpose actively encourage a high level of student thinking, both individually as well as collectively, and where the thinking of all group members is regularly promoted, valued, made visible, and pushed further as a part of the ongoing, shared enterprise of the group.
During the workshop, we will focus on the practical and concrete ways educators can create a culture of thinking in their schools and classrooms, foster the kinds of thinking opportunities that lead to deep understanding of content, and how to look for evidence of student thinking and understanding. Participants will be introduced to a variety of thinking routines: what they are and how they can be used to create more thoughtful classrooms.
We will explore such questions as:
• What is a culture of thinking?
• How can the cultural forces that exist in each classroom support and further develop a culture of thinking?
• How can educators use thinking routines to structure, scaffold, and support students’ thinking?
This interactive workshop is designed for teachers, administrators and school leaders across grade levels and subject areas who are interested in supporting and developing their students as thinkers and learners.
Participants will learn:
• The eight keys to the development of group culture and how they can harness those to create a culture of thinking in their school or classroom.
• How to use thinking routines in to support students learning, to foster thinkingdispositions, and to make thinking visible.
• How to foster effective classroom discussions through the use of language, questioning, and discourse.
Cultures of Thinking