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Creating Cultures of Thinking: Environment

Resources for "Creating Cultures of Thinking: The Eight Forces We Must Master To Truly Transform Our Schools" by Ron Ritchhart of Project Zero at HGSE. [Guide by Stephen Taylor for Western Academy Beijing]

ENVIRONMENT: Using Space to Support Learning and Thinking

The physical space occupied by a group or individual, including its design, aesthetic, setup, displays, artifacts, and furnishings. As a culture shaper, the physical environment is the “body language” of an organization, conveying its values and key messages even in the absence of its inhabitants. The physical environment of a school or classroom will dictate how individuals interact, their behaviors, and performance. The physical space can inhibit or inspire the work of the group and the individual. Although most educators inherit a physical environment fashioned for an old paradigm of learning, there is still much that can be done in the design of that space to facilitate and promote a culture of thinking.   [Source: Project Zero]

Chapter Summary

Resources & Links

Development of a Culture of Thinking Self-Assessment

Steps to help you transform your classroom environment

Below is a list of five ideas to consider when creating a Culture of Thinking in your classroom 
  1. Displays in the room inspire learning in the subject area and connect students to the larger world of ideas by displaying positive messages about learning and thinking. 
  2. The space in your classroom is arranged to facilitate thoughtful interactions, collaborations, and discussion. 
  3. The wall displays have an ongoing, inchoate, and/or dialogic nature to them versus only static display of finished work. 
  4. A variety of ways are used to document and capture thinking, including technology. 
  5. A visitor would be able to discern what is cared about and valued when it comes to learning.
from Ron Ritchhart's The Development of a Culture of Thinking in My Classroom: Self-Assessment