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Faculty & Research

Shari Tishman

Lecturer on Education

Sr. Research Associate

Project Zero

Shari Tishman

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (1991)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.496.9963
Fax:  617.495.9709
Vitae/CV:   Shari Tishman.pdf
Office:  Longfellow 415
Faculty Assistant:  Carly Dutra


Shari Tishman is a Lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Senior Research Associate at Harvard Project Zero, where she recently served as Director. Her research focuses on the development of thinking and understanding, the role of close observation in learning, and learning in and through the arts. She currently co-directs Agency by Design, a project related to the maker movement that is investigating the promises, practices and pedagogies of maker-centered learning. She also co-directs Out of Eden Learn, an online learning community, currently being used in over 700 classrooms worldwide, that is linked to National Geographic journalist Paul Salopek's seven-year walk around the world. Past notable projects include Visible Thinking, a dispositional approach to teaching thinking that foregrounds the use of thinking routines and the documentation of student thinking, and Artful Thinking, a related approach that emphasizes the development of thinking dispositions through looking at art. The author of numerous articles and books, Tishman is currently at work on a book on 'Slow Looking.'

Areas of Expertise

Art Works for Schools
A program for teaching high-level thinking in and through the arts.

Sponsored Projects


The Arts as Civic Commons (2018-2020)
Independent Schools Victoria

Developments in the last century – the evolving global economy, an unprecedented migrant crisis, massive social changes, and increasingly seamless digital connectivity and convergence across work, play and life – have forced a challenging shift in the way we think about what matters most to teach and learn. As current trends in contemporary society demand new educational responses, and traditional systems of learning are substantially challenged and reshaped, consensus is building around the importance of developing learners well prepared to meet the demands that current and future global trends make on individuals and societies, particularly in the area of civic and social participation, and ethical behavior in a world increasingly marked by difference. The role that the arts can play in supporting such efforts cannot be underestimated. The working processes and dispositions of contemporary visual artists, in their diversity, eclecticism, and the absence of a uniform organizing principle, ideology, or label, can provoke and inspire us to reframe the way we understand, interpret, and engage the uncertain and complex world we live in. This collaborative project between Project Zero (PZ) and Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) will investigate the following questions:1.How do contemporary visual artists engage with social and civic ideas and issues in their artistic practices?2.How might these patterns of engagement (e.g. ways of knowing, dispositions, methods) inform how institutions like schools, museums, etc., encourage and support a disposition for multicultural understanding, civic engagement and ethical behavior in individuals and the communities they work with? The initiative will focus on contexts of student learning not only in and across the disciplines, but also in diverse spaces that may function effectively and productively as a civic commons, such as museums and events like ISV’s Arts Learning Festival. While the investigation will primarily pay attention to the ways that contemporary visual artists work in civically and socially engaged ways, the intention is to develop a conceptual framework and set of tools that will inform and support civic agency and ethical behavior in various contexts and across the disciplines.


Seidel, S., Tishman, S., Hetland, L., Palmer, P., & Winner, E. (2009). The Qualities of Quality: Excellence in Arts Education and How to Achieve It. Washington, D.C.: Arts Education Partnership.,(2009)

Tishman, S. (2008). The object of their attention. Educational Leadership. Vol. 25(5). 44-46.,(2008)

Tishman, S. & Palley, B. (2008). See, think, learn, understand: Life lessons from the arts. Crescendo Magazine, Interlochen Center for the Arts.,(2008)

Tishman, S. , McKinney, A., Straughn, C. (2007). Study Center Learning: An investigation of the educational power and potential of the Harvard University Art Museums Study Centers. Harvard Project Zero.,(2007),(2007)

Tishman, S. & Palmer, P. (2007) Works of art are good to think about : A study of the impact of the Artful Thinking program on students’ and teachers’ concepts of art, and students’ concepts of thinking. In Evaluating the Impact of Arts and Cultural Education. Paris: Centre Pompidou, 89-101. (in French and English) Also in R. Niehoff & R. Wenrich (Eds.), Thinking and learning with images: Interdisciplinary approaches to aesthetic education. Kopaed Publishing, Munich. (In German),(2007)

"From Edification to Engagement: Learning Designs in Museums," in College Art Association News,(2005)

Art Works for Schools: A Curriculum for Teaching Thinking in and Through the Arts (with T. Grotzer, L. Howick, and D. Wise,(2002)

"Added Value: A Dispositional Perspective on Thinking" in Developing Minds,(2001)

"Intelligence in the Wild: A Dispositional View of Intellectual Traits," in Educational Psychology Review (with D. Perkins, R. Ritchhart , K. Donis, and A. Andrade),(2000)

"Thinking Through the Arts," in The Project Zero Classroom: Views on Understanding (with D. Wise),(1999)

"The Language of Thinking," in Kappan (with D. Perkins),(1997)

Critical Squares: Games of Critical Thinking and Understanding (with A. Andrade),(1997)

The Thinking Classroom: Learning and Teaching in a Culture of Thinking (with D. Perkins and E. Jay),(1995)

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