Event Details

Within the constantly changing context of the world in which we live requires us to rethink what a quality education means. It is no longer enough to develop compliant (and often complacent) learners merely making their way through school. Today we seek to develop engaged and empowered learners ready to take their place in the world. To accomplish this we need to not only change the curriculum and our instruction, but also the culture of our schools. But how do we create culture? How do we shape and mold it so that it supports students’ development as thinkers and learners capable of deep learning? This course will demystify the creation of classroom and school culture through an examination of the process of enculturation. We will do this by looking carefully at the various “stories of learning” that schools perpetuate. We will then look at the “new story of learning'' we want to make a reality for our students and examine how the eight cultural forces can help us to enact that story. We conclude the course by examining one of the very powerful cultural force of “language” and how it acts to shape the culture of the classroom.


Course Designers & Instructors

Co-Designer & Instructor: Ron Ritchhart has been a researcher at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education since 1994. His research focuses on understanding how to develop, nurture, and sustain thoughtful learning environments for both students and teachers. His interest in “cultures of thinking” has led him to conduct research in such areas as intellectual character, mindfulness, thinking dispositions, teaching for understanding, creativity in teaching, and the development of communities of practice.

Ron's research is classroom and school-based, believing that teaching is a complex art and science that must be understood in context. A strong theme of learning from best practice runs throughout much of Ron’s work. On many of the projects on which Ron has worked, he has produced videos of best practices related to teaching for understanding, creative and innovative teaching, and the use of thinking routines.

Prior to joining the Project Zero research group, Ron taught for fourteen years. He began his teaching career in New Zealand teaching 35 six- and seven-year-olds in a state school in Christchurch as part of a teaching internship program. From there he taught art in Indiana before moving to Denver, Colorado where he taught third and fourth grade. Frustrated with the way he was teaching mathematics, Ron pursued a mathematics education degree and later taught middle school mathematics. In 1993 he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Mathematics Teaching.

Ron earned his Ed.D. degree (2000) in human development and psychology from Harvard University. Ron's research on how teachers create thoughtful learning environments that support the development of students' intellectual character was the basis for his book: Intellectual Character: What it is, Why it matters, How to get it. His framework for understanding group culture detailed has been influential in shaping education in schools and museums throughout the world. His new book, Making Thinking Visible, explores how teachers around the world have been using the ideas of Ron and his colleagues at Project Zero to improve students’ learning.

Prior to attending Harvard, he earned a Master of Arts degree (1990) in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Indiana University.

Co-Design & Instructor: Mark Church works with schools throughout the world wishing to create cultures of thinking in their classrooms. He believes in the difference teachers can make for students when they strive to make thinking visible, valued, and actively promoted as part of the day-to-day experience of their learners. Mark encourages teachers to become students of their students, and more broadly, students of themselves and the choices they make to leverage the power of making thinking visible.

Mark is currently a consultant with Harvard Project Zero's Making Thinking Visible and Cultures of Thinking initiatives, drawing upon his own classroom teaching experience and from the perspectives he has gained working with educators throughout the world. Together with Ron Ritchhart, Mark is co-author of the book Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners (Jossey-Bass, 2011) and The Power of Making Thinking Visible: Practices to Engage and Empower All Learners (Jossey-Bass, 2020).

 

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