Event Details

Cultures of Thinking will not be offered in the 2021 - 2022 academic year. If you are interested in similar offerings, we suggest you take a look at our micro practicums Cultures of Thinking in Action and The Power of Making Thinking Visible.

Effective teaching takes more than good planning and instructional design; it also requires attention to the culture of the classroom. 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 understanding?

In this online course, learn how to create “cultures of thinking,” communities where a group’s collective as well as individual thinking is valued, visible, and actively promoted everyday. Explore the eight cultural forces present in every group learning situation—language, time, environment, opportunities, routines, modeling, interactions, and expectations—and how they influence the group’s cultural dynamic. Using these eight forces as levers of transformation, you will begin learning practical ways to create a culture of thinking in your learning environment, face-to-face or virtual.

What past participants are saying:

“What I have come to appreciate most in taking this course is how often we had used the word ‘work’ when describing learning…What are you working on today? Did you get all your work done?...and how much of an impact it can have by simply shifting our language. I’ve made a concerted effort to shift the focus from the completion of work to underscoring that thinking and learning are the outcomes of our class activities. It is the little things like sharing with students that I am a learner too, that I am taking risks with my instructional methods, and that I reflect on my own learning and use this to move my practice forward.”

10th - 12th Grade Public School Teacher, Canada

“I’d thought that the model of the traditional teacher—in front of the classroom providing everything students need for work—was the right model, even a responsible one. I know now how limiting this is for everyone, including the teacher. As a result, I have completely changed my focus, my prioritization, and my energy distribution. I think that appreciating students’ learning process implies waiting for it to happen, and it demonstrates my respect and appreciation for them.”

University Professor, Mexico

“This course is a prized possession for life-changing teaching and learning goals. These dispositions not only work well with the students but also empower the teachers. Words and phrases like, I can keep improving, I am always trying, and this may take some time and effort are my ‘power’ words which work with everybody. The eight cultural forces have made a huge shift in me as a teacher and with the growth of the students.”

6th - 8th Grade IB Teacher, India


Course Designer

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.

Course Instructors

Cameron Patterson Cameron is responsible for the strategic leadership of learning and teaching, innovation, and promoting excellence in teaching practice at Shore School in Sydney, Australia. He has taught high school History for more than two decades, is a faculty member at the Project Zero Classroom summer institute, and hosted the PZ Sydney conference in 2016. Cameron received the 21st Century International Global Innovation Award for Teaching in 2016. He is passionate about Project Zero approaches, project-based learning, collaborative models of professional learning, and networked leadership.

Erika Lusky Erika is a speech-language pathologist at the secondary level and instructional coach for Michigan’s Rochester Community Schools in the United States. She has served as a coach in the area of literacy and currently facilitates professional learning opportunities for educators and administrators to support schools as they explore and integrate the Creating Cultures of Thinking framework, developed by Project Zero researcher Ron Ritchhart. In addition, she is the co-creator of Enbrighten®, designed to scaffold student speaking, thinking, and interactions, which has been awarded two trademarks. Erika is passionate about creating quality relationships to foster agency and identity, specifically among disenfranchised learners. She has been a part of Project Zero conferences and institutes for the past few years and has enjoyed coaching in the Project Zero online courses.