The Cultures of Thinking Project is a global initiative under the direction of Dr. Ron Ritchhart. 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). A fourth book, The Power of Making Thinking Visible, is currently in the works and will capture what we have learned about using thinking routines most effectively as well as sharing many new routines we have developed.
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. This three-day workshop offers a unique opportunity to explore the cultural forces of: interactions, modeling, environment, routines, language, opportunities, time, and expectations. Throughout the workshop, participants will use a variety of thinking routines to facilitate their own learning and explore how each of these can be used to create more thoughtful classrooms.
We will explore such questions as:
- What is a culture of thinking?
- What does it look like and feel like?
- How can we assess, understand and shape the culture of our classrooms and schools to most effectively build 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 thinking dispositions, and to make thinking visible.
- How to foster effective classroom discussions through the use of language, questioning, and discourse.