School Articles

Cultures of Thinking (Visible Thinking)

Without a doubt, the process of learning, thinking and understanding is profoundly a social endeavor, taking place in a cultural context and occurring within the constant interaction among groups and the individual. Social interactions that provide experiences in communicating one’s own point of view as well as opportunities to understand others’ perspective is what defines the creation of a Culture of Thinking. Additionally, an individual who belongs to a Culture of Thinking is one who is possessing thinking skills and has the disposition to use them in different context. Developing a disposition toward thinking enhances the possibility that one can efficiently use one’s abilities in new situations. Thereafter, the experiences that occur within the culture of the classroom teach students what it means to learn and think and outlining the new role of educators which is to teach students how to learn and ways of thinking flexibly.

The need of creating and living within Cultures of Thinking in the 21st century is considering essential and necessary, especially in regards to the field of education. Undoubtedly, with the abrupt and rapid development of technology, us as educators we teach our students for a future with so many unknowns. Hence, education needs to shift focus from the traditional perspective and open new horizons in learning and teaching how to think. Through the use of structures, routines, form questions and document process we can definitely foster better learning and thinking for our young learners.

Based on theory, practices, experiences and findings Visible Thinking is a broaden Culture of Thinking that aims to create the ultimate thinkers of the 21st century. Visible Thinking is implementing daily in schools through a variety of thinking strategies including but not limited to the use of: thinking routines, thinking keys, concept mapping, the development of a variety of habits of mind, enhancing certain behaviors and values and all the above in harmony to the eight cultural forces. Time, opportunities, routines and structures, language, modeling, interactions and relationships, physical environment and expectations are powerful forces that successfully lead us to achieve our mission.

Our findings reveal that our classrooms are Cultures of Thinking for students, our schools are Cultures of Thinking for educators and Visible Thinking is a Culture of Thinking for all!

  • Cultural Forces
  1. Time
  2. Opportunities
  3. Routines and Structures
  4. Language
  5. Modeling
  6. Interactions and relationships
  7. Physical environment
  8. Expectations
  • Habits of Mind
  • Persisting
  • Managing Impulsivity
  • Listening with Understanding and Empathy
  • Thinking Flexibly
  • Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition)
  • Striving for Accuracy
  • Questioning and Posing Problems
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  • Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
  • Gathering Data through All Senses
  • Creating, Imagining, Innovating
  • Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  • Taking Responsible Risks
  • Finding Humor
  • Thinking Interdependently
  • Remaining Open to Continuous Learning
  • Thinking Keys
  • Connection
  • Change
  • Reflection
  • Form
  • Function
  • Responsibility
  • Viewpoint
  • Cause and Effect
  • Behaviors
  • Tolerance
  • Empathy
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Imagination
  • Independence


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