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Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1118974605
ISBN-10: 1118974603
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  • Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools
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  • Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners
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Editorial Reviews

Review

" In this insightful and important book, Ron Ritchhart does a wonderfuljob of relating the fine-scale details of what happens in classrooms tothe high-level goals of education. We see how our use of languageinfluences our students' views of what schools are for, the importanceof thinking carefully about time and space, and how ultimately,nurturing our relationships with our students and our colleagues areessential elements in creating schools that nurture thinking, ratherthan compliance.  Any teacher, wherever they are in their career, willlearn from this book, and be prompted to reflect on their practice."

 - Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment
University College London

"This is not just a book about creating "thinkingclassrooms." At its core, it is a book about classrooms as a place for studentsand teachers to be fully human together--a place where teaching is lifting theprospects of every student, a place where learning is discovering the mind, aplace that dignifies and enlivens the concept of education.  The book is a reminder that many of us havelost our way as educators.  It is a guidefor re-setting our compasses."


-  Carol Ann Tomlinson, Ed.D., William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor & Chalr
   Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy
   Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

From the Back Cover

Let's build dynamic learning communities that engage students, promote deep understanding, and sustain a lifetime of inquiry.

Once again we are in the throes of curriculum reforms designed to transform education. However, these efforts generally neglect the vital role classroom and school culture play in promoting learning. Any curriculum, good or bad, will sink or float on the culture of the classroom in which it is enacted. Culture matters not only to realize curricular goals, but also as a shaper of students' development as powerful thinkers and learners.

Creating Cultures of Thinking, written by leading Harvard University researcher Ron Ritchhart, builds the case for "enculturation" as the key to deep learning and the development of the habits of mind and dispositions needed in a changing world. He demystifies the process of creating dynamic learning communities by first identifying and then walking us through the eight forces we must marshal to build strong group culture. Case studies, practical guidelines, self-assessments, and inquiry projects enable teachers and administrators—as well as anyone interested in fostering group learning—to understand and shape powerful learning communities.

Praise for Creating Cultures of Thinking

"Ron Ritchhart makes a powerful argument that building a 'thinking culture' within our schools is the key to better learning, greater student engagement, and more happiness all around. This book includes not only a thorough discussion of the elements of a successful school culture, but also activities to elicit contributions from students and teachers. And who knows? If the lessons in this book are put into practice, a culture of thinking might escape the classroom walls and spread to the wider world. Wouldn't that be something?"
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human

"This book builds on the excellence of Making Thinking Visible and gets to the heart of the eight forces that truly make a difference to learning—and in particular, to the mind frames of the teachers, leaders, and students that allow a sustained, contemplative, and powerful impact on learning. . . . If your aim is to go beyond the surface, this is the perfect book. You can 'hear' Ritchhart thinking as you read this tour de force."
—John Hattie, director, Melbourne Education Research Institute; author of Visible Learning

"Books in education tend to be either presentations of a few big ideas, scholarly reviews of relevant literature, or guidebooks to effective practice. Creating Cultures of Thinking is a rarity—a seamless blend of all three genres. Whether you teach kindergarteners or graduate students, you will learn much from this book."
—Howard Gardner, author of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 9, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118974603
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118974605
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you had to select one, just one, book on education, because you were hoping to get a sense for what we can do to bring out the LIFE in learning for all students--and teachers, of course as well--then choose this book. It is a profound read, an unusual combination of high level educational research combined with practical what-to-do-now ideas for launching into a whole new and much better plan for learning in classrooms. Learning with meaningfulness, depth, bustling energy, and full participation. We’re talking about meaningful for everyone: students, teachers, administrators. Parents who want their children to be deeply engaged in learning. People who value learning. People who look to education to nurture the development of thoughtful adults and life-long learners.

This is the book. Likely to rise quickly to the best book in education of our time, this book--and way of thinking about learning--launches us into a new and much more vibrant, hopeful, and (at the very highest level) purposeful way of going about things in education. Let’s get beyond “testing cultures” and into “learning cultures.” Let’s develop intellectual character; let’s encourage habits of mind, intellectual passions and thinking dispositions that nurture the highest development of all. We do this by creating our own cultures of thinking, designed from within, designed by educators and members of the learning communities.

The messages from Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools are not superficial. What Ritchhart is having us think through will not lead to a quick fix. But what he writes about can be enacted immediately.
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Phenomenal writing. As an administrator it gives me a wonderful approach to embrace teaching for understanding. It's a great compliment to Ritchhart's MAKING THINKING VISIBLE. This book gives the philosophy and necessity behind the need for thinking routines. I love the breakdown of the book. This makes it easier to grasp the 8 components of culture in our schools and classrooms.
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Format: Paperback
Admittedly, books that inspire my growth as a teacher are some of my favorites, so you'll have to trust me when I tell you that Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools takes that love to a whole new level. Creating Cultures of Thinking is the latest installment in a decade-long conversation that began for me in 2004 with Intellectual Character: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Get It, and continued with Making Thinking Visible in 2011. In this trilogy Ron Ritchhart creates a vision of teaching, classroom culture, and intellectual life worthy of our highest aspirations.

Creating Cultures of Thinking also works as a stand-alone title. It's Low Threshold High Ceiling professional development. No matter the career stage, there are entry points here for all teachers passionate about honing their craft. In the midst of intense and multi-faceted pressures relentlessly pulling our attention and energy in other directions, Creating Cultures of Thinking dives into the complexity of creating transformation, of anchoring our daily classroom interactions in the "promotion of the dispositions needed for students to become active learners and effective thinkers eager and able to create, innovate, and solve problems"(34).

Committing to a culture of thinking requires submitting to vulnerability. Ritchhart acknowledges the struggle and recognizes that these changes grow only from examining and judging our own understandings, expectations, practices, and authenticity as thinkers. "It takes a degree of nerve, ambition, and fortitude to steadfastly and honestly work to uncover the story of learning one is telling students.
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Ron Ritchhart's latest book builds on his previous two and provides a strong theoretical argument for focusing on thinking in the classroom; he then backs up that argument with a wealth of practical applications of the theory. This is Project Zero bridging the idea-action gap, as David Perkins terms it, at its best. Ron has been doing important work in schools around the world, and it shows in this book and in Making Thinking Visible, its predecessor. At my school, we will buy a copy for every teacher.
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I've been teaching for more than 20 years and this is probably one of the best educational books I have ever read. It spoke to my soul and I couldn't put it down. I read it once over the summer break and was so inspired by it that I am re-reading it now we are back at school. It is going to be my 'bible' this year and a text that I know I will refer to often. If you are serious about creating life-long learners in your classroom - buy it. You won't regret it.
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Curriculum is not delivered, it is enacted, and enculturation is the key to deep learning. By identifying the eight cultural forces that really make a difference to learning, Ron Ritchhart provides a strong antidote to the futile game of grades, competition and conformity. Each chapter superbly zeroes in on one of the cultural forces and concludes with a toolkit of next-step ideas to debate, implement, or adapt. This is the best education book I have read. It is cutting-edge.
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