Creating Cultures of Thinking

The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools

by Ron Ritchhart

Number of pages: 384

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

BBB Library: Education

ISBN: 978-1118974605

About the Author

He is a senior research associate at Harvard Project Zero and fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia.


Editorial Review

When and where have you been a part of a culture of thinking? That is, when have you been in a place where the group’s collective thinking as well as each individual’s thinking was valued, visible, and actively promoted as part of the regular day-to-day experience of all group members? Over the years, we’ve asked thousands of people to reflect on the cultures of thinking they have experienced. The qualities that each of these constituencies identify as being effective “shapers” of cultures of thinking are surprisingly similar. In this book, Ron Ritchhart relates the fine-scale details of what happens in classrooms to the high-level goals of education.

Book Reviews

"In Creating Cultures of Thinking, Ron Ritchhart explains how creating a culture of thinking is more important to learning than any particular curriculum and he outlines how any school or teacher can accomplish this by leveraging 8 cultural forces.” – Wiley.

"Creating Cultures of Thinking; with my new start at Havergal, it has served as a great reminder of the moral imperative of education.” –Cohort 21

"As Ritchhart explains, his book is about transforming our schools and classrooms into enriched and dynamic learning communities.” – Bob Morris

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Wisdom to Share

If culture is the key to transformation, then we must understand how group culture is created, sustained, and enhanced.

The expectations that help to shape culture are those that outline and define the learning enterprise itself while signaling the kinds of thinking necessary to its success.

Making a clear distinction between work and learning helps us as teachers to keep our focus and that of our students on the learning.

Understanding goes beyond merely possessing a set of skills or a collection of facts in isolation; rather, understanding requires that our knowledge be woven together in a way that connects one idea to another.

The hidden power of language: its ability to subtly convey messages that shape our thinking, sense of self, and group affinity.

Thinking in terms of energy expenditure, energy gains, and energy renewal can help us think differently about our daily schedules, and indeed our lives.

In a true apprenticeship, complex and important skills are learned contextually and often informally through observation, coaching, and successive approximation.

Routines help minimize confusion, reduce uncertainty, and direct activity along known paths. Ultimately, routines become patterns of behavior for both individuals and the group.

As a culture shaper, interactions form the basis for relationships among teachers and students, students and students, and teachers and teachers.

The physical space can inhibit or inspire the work of the group and the individual.