What You Need To Know: Culture of Thinking in Classrooms 


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Culture of thinking transforms learning in the classrooms according to Ritchhart, author of Making Thinking Visible and Creating Culture of Thinking. 

Ritchhart implores schools and organizations to master the 8 Forces of Culture so we can transform learning in the classrooms.

I have been immersed in Ritchhart’s book Creating Culture of Thinking and learning about 8 Forces of  Culture. I am writing a series of blog on the topic. 

8 Culture Forces that Define Our Classrooms

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8 Cultural Forces represent tools or leverage we have for transforming our school and classroom culture.

I will discuss each force in both what and how each force contributes to the culture of the classroom.

Before I do taht, I want to explain how Ritchhart came up with the 8 Forces of Culture.



People’s Experience

A culture of thinking represents our best and most productive experience as learners, according to Ritchhart. He clustered people’s experiences in culture of thinking and their responses to an exercise around a few themes:

  • A sense of purpose
  • Engagement
  • Challenge
  • Connection to Task

According to Ritchhart (2015) one of the most common responses from a group of people is a sense of purpose to learning. “This not only provides a sense of direction and a goal, but also imbues the group’s efforts with personal and collective meaning.” (pg. 4) When there is an articulated purpose, it lays the foundation for the development of commitment, both to the task at hand and to the learning of the group as a whole.

This sense of commitment and the symbiotic relationship within the group often create a community that is further enhanced to dedication to promote equity, Ritchhart states.

Once you have a sense of commitment to both the task and the group, you will have engagement. The very nature of culture of thinking, people feel propelled by the leader and group to do their best. The group accepts challenges and feels their thinking is constantly being pushed. They are not sitting back and they are learning.

When a dynamic group of people feel they are learning together and creating something greater than any individual might produce, there is a connection to the task at hand, to the topic, to the leader, to each other, and to learning.

Have you ever been in a group that was a culture of thinking? Did it make you feel energized and uplifted? Ritchhart wants educators to feel energized, uplifted, committed to the task at hand and the group because “a culture of thinking produces the feeling, energy, and even joy that can propel learning forward and motivate us to do at times can be hard and challeging.” (Ritchhart 2015 pg.5)

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