Event Details

Effective teaching requires not only good planning and thoughtful instruction, but careful attention to classroom culture. In this mini course, learn about the eight cultural forces, with a special focus on four of those forces (modeling, opportunities, interactions, and environment) and how to leverage them to create cultures that support students in deep learning and thinking. Reflect critically on your own work as an educator while acquiring new tools, practices, and principles that will help you promote the deep learning of your students.

Often, when we think of effective teaching, we focus on good planning and instructional design. Yet effective teaching requires more than that; it also requires attention to the culture of the classroom in which those plans and designs are to be carried out. But what do we mean by “culture”? What are the forces that contribute to the culture of a classroom, school, or other learning context? And how can we leverage those cultural forces as effectively to create cultures that support students in deep learning and thinking? The “Cultures of Thinking” framework identifies eight forces that we can use as levers for transforming the cultures of our classrooms and schools. This course offers a guided exploration of four of those forces: modeling, opportunities, interactions, and environment. Through this exploration, you will look critically at your own teaching while acquiring new tools, practices, and principles that will help you enhance your classroom culture and promote the deep learning of your students. Although this course builds off of the introductory course, it is not a prerequisite. The weekly investigations and discussions with your team provide a supportive platform for educators of all levels of experience.

Course Designer & Instructors

Designer & Co-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. Ron’s interest in “cultures of thinking” has led him to conduct research in areas such as intellectual character, mindfulness, thinking dispositions, teaching for understanding, creativity in teaching, and the development of communities of practice. Prior to joining the Project Zero research group, Ron taught for fourteen years in elementary and middle schools. In 1993 he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Mathematics Teaching. Ron earned his Ed.D. in human development and psychology from Harvard University. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including The Power of Making Thinking Visible (co-authored with Mark Church, 2020); Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools (2015); Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners (co-authored with Mark Church and Karin Morrison, 2011); and Intellectual Character: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Get It (2004).

Co-Instructor: Mark Church works throughout the world with schools that wish 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 the perspectives he has gained working with educators across grade levels and content areas. Together with Ron Ritchhart, Mark is co-author of the book Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners (co-authored with Ron Ritchhart and Karin Morrison, 2011) and The Power of Making Thinking Visible: Practices to Engage and Empower All Learners (co-authored with Ron Ritchhart, 2020).

Online Course Schedule

Orientation and course site introduction for the mini courses is available no later than two days prior to the course launch.

  • All participants will receive email invitations to the course site three days prior to the course start. The required review of the course policies assignment is available during the “Getting Ready” self-guided orientation to the site.
  • Remember, if you joined the course as an individual and not as a member of an already formed team, you will be placed on a virtual team and will be sent an email introducing you to your virtual team members no later than 4 days prior to the course launch.
  • We strongly recommend all teams schedule their weekly, required 60- 90 minute team meetings prior to the start of the course. Usually scheduling team meetings toward the end of each week is most helpful so all members have time to complete assignments in advance of the meeting.

Investigating the Forces that Shape Cultures of Thinking

  • Week 1: Monday, July 14
  • Week 2: Monday, July 21
  • Week 3: Monday, July 28
  • Week 4: Monday, August 4
  • Course Closes: Sunday, August 10

Who Should Participate

  • Teachers, Teacher Leaders, and School Administrators and Leaders
  • Museum Educators and educators working in informal learning environments
  • Facilitators of Pre-K to Adult Learning

Required Course Textbook

The following textbook is required for participants in this course, and is not included in the course tuition. The textbook is available for purchase on Amazon or through the publisher Jossey-Bass — in both paper and digital format.

  • Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools. Ron Ritchhart. (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2015)

Tuition, Discounts, and Scholarships


  • For Mini Courses (4 sessions, 4 weeks), tuition is $310 per person registering as a member of a team, and $395 per person registering as an individual who will be placed (by Project Zero) on a virtual team.


PZ professional learning scholarships cover 50-70% of a course’s tuition for eligible educators. Scholarship applications must be submitted and accepted prior to registration; if you would like to apply for a scholarship, please do NOT register for the online course until you have been approved for a scholarship. Please note: Scholarships are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

To review scholarship criteria and apply for a scholarship, please use the In-Depth Course Scholarship Application link.


Confirmation and Payment

Registration confirmations are sent automatically from the registration software. Please keep these emails as they include your receipt of payment for documentation as well as your confirmation number should you need to access your registration in the future.

Payments are accepted via credit card or invoice for payment by check or wire transfer. Confirmation of registration does not confirm full payment if participants selected to pay other than by a credit card. All required paperwork and payments must be completed (or evidence provided of payments in process) by the registration deadline. For participants whose required paperwork and/or payments are not finalized at the registration deadline, they will be removed from the course roster and placed on a wait list.

Deadline for Registration

For Investigating the Forces that Shape Cultures of Thinking starting Monday, July 14, 2025, the deadline for registration is July 6, 2025 at 11:59 pm Boston time.

Please note: Space is limited. The courses may fill prior to the registration deadline.

Refund Request and Participant Substitution Deadlines

Requests for refunds and participant substitutions for the Investigating the Forces that Shape Cultures of Thinking course starting July 14, 2025 must be submitted by July 1, 2025 at 11:59 pm Boston time.

To request a refund, submit a participant substitution, or to ask questions, please email pzlearn@gse.harvard.edu.