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Professional Education

Creating Cultures of Thinking: Learning to Leverage the Eight Forces that Shape the Culture of Groups, Classrooms, and Schools

 

Creating Cultures of Thinking online course page

Course Outline

In this course, you will learn how to create "cultures of thinking": places where a group's collective as well as individual thinking is valued, visible, and actively promoted every day. Learn the eight cultural forces present in every group learning situation — language, time, environment, opportunities, routines, modeling, interactions, and expectations — and how they shape the group’s cultural dynamic.

In each two-week session participants will:

  • Explore new ideas through readings and multimedia
  • Interact with local and online peers
  • Enact classroom tryouts
  • Reflect on course ideas
  • Share experiences, student work, and other artifacts, while developing a course project
Session 1 (Orientation)

Session 1: Orientation

In this session, we will orient you to the Creating Cultures of Thinking online course, acquaint you with our teaching team, course staff, and one another, and set your expectations for the next several weeks of learning together. Most likely, you are coming to this course with a lot of enthusiasm, curiosity, and a desire to learn. You are probably bringing with you a number of questions as well.

By the end of this session, you will:

  1. Understand how the instructor, coaches, and fellow learners will support your learning.
  2. Understand the overarching goals for the course, participant responsibilities, and the course online environment.
  3. Identify your own learning goals for the course and become acquainted with your instructor and fellow learners.
Session 2

Session 2Enculturation: Telling a Story of Learning

In this session, you will explore why the culture of the school and classroom matters and how schools enculturate students into ways of being through the messages they send about learning, thinking, education, and intelligence. You will explore the traditional messages schools have sent in the past, the dominant messages being sent presently, and the new messages we need to send as we think about preparing students for the future. You will be introduced to the Eight Cultural Forces as a grounded theory for demystifying and understanding the mechanisms of enculturation.

In this session we'll be working toward the following goals:

  1. Develop an understanding of and appreciation for the role of classroom culture in shaping students' learning.
  2. Begin to understand the role of the eight cultural forces as the levers for shaping group culture.
Session 3

Session 3: Expectations and Modeling

In this session, you will deepen your understanding of the cultural forces of expectations and modeling. Linking back to Session 1, you will identify core dispositions, beliefs, and values that shape and guide your teaching and then connect them to some of the foundational beliefs necessary to build a culture of thinking. You will monitor and reflect on your own teaching practice to see where and how you are engaged in dispositional and cognitive modeling for your students. In this session you will also establish an expectation throughline, something you are teaching for, that you wish to follow throughout the course for your Course Project.


In this session we'll be working toward the following goals:

  1. Develop an understanding and appreciation of how our beliefs and expectations for learning and for our students shape the culture of the classroom.
  2. Understand the different ways teachers use modeling in the classroom to enhance students' dispositional and cognitive development.
Session 4

Session 4Language

In this session, you will deepen your understanding of the cultural force of language. You will learn how language is a powerful mechanism for sending messages, both implicitly and explicitly, and how language can shape thought and influence behavior. By observing in the classrooms of your team members or another colleague's, you will learn to identify the languages of the classroom and better understand their power to influence and shape learning. As a part of your Course Project, you will also identify and make use of language associated with the chosen disposition or expectation you are working to nurture in your students.

In this session we'll be working toward the following goals:

  1. Develop an understanding and appreciation of the power of language to shape our thinking and interactions. 
  2. Understand and begin to make use of the seven language moves.

 

Session 5

Session 5Opportunities and Routines

In this session, you will deepen your understanding of the cultural forces of opportunities and routines. You will engage in a success analysis protocol with your team around a self-identified "powerful learning opportunity." Through questioning and discussion you will identify important qualities of powerful learning opportunities that you will share with the larger community. You will also learn about four key design elements of powerful learning opportunities and why they are crucial to student learning. Many in this course will be familiar with the use of thinking routines through the book, Making Thinking Visible, and/or the Visible Thinking online course. You will expand your use of thinking routines by trying out a new routine or protocol with your students.

In this session we’ll be working toward the following goals:

  1. Develop a greater appreciation for the elements, practices, and supports that help to make learning opportunities powerful while deepening your understanding of how to apply these elements, practices, and supports in your own teaching.
  2. Deepen your understanding of how thinking routines can be used to promote deep learning and engagement.
Session 6

Session 6Interactions and Time

In this session, you will deepen your understanding of the cultural forces of interactions and time. A key way we interact with students is through our questioning and the classroom conversation or discussion that we foster. You will learn the five types of questions teachers ask and what motivates teachers to ask these questions. By observing in the classrooms of your team members or another colleague's, you will learn to identify the question types and see how they shape a classroom culture. You will also learn about the role time plays in fostering a discourse community and giving students the space to think.

In this session we’ll be working toward the following goals:

  1. Develop your understanding of how the cultural forces of "time" and "interactions" can be leveraged to promote a culture of thinking.
  2. Deepen your understanding of how the eight cultural forces work together to support students' development as thinkers and learners and promote a culture of thinking.
Session 7

Session 7Taking Stock and Moving Forward

In this closing session, you will reflect on how you are leveraging the eight cultural forces to make thinking valued, visible, and actively promoted as part of the day-to-day experience of all your students, and identify areas for future attention and growth in practice. You will also share your CCoT project and receive feedback to further your learning.

In this session we’ll be working toward the following goals:

  1. Deepen your understanding of the role classroom culture plays in your students' learning and development as thinkers (TL#1).
  2. Understand your own efforts in creating a culture of thinking, where you have experienced growth, and where you might go next.