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Harvard Graduate School of Education

Visible Thinking: Building Understanding Through Critical and Creative Thinking (VT)

Sep 16—Dec 15, 2019
USD 525

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Learn how to integrate the tools of “visible thinking” to deepen learning in any setting.


We all become more effective as learners when we become aware of our learning processes and learn to manage how we think and learn. Visible Thinking, a research-based approach developed by Project Zero and used across subjects and settings worldwide, has two goals: to deepen content learning and to cultivate students’ thinking skills and thinking dispositions.

This course explores three themes at the heart of Visible Thinking: thinking routines, thinking dispositions, and documentation of student thinking. Participants will explore relevant research, learn to integrate Visible Thinking into their curriculum and assessment, and try out practices with peers and in their own classrooms.

Course Details

The online course, developed by Project Zero’s Shari Tishman & Jessica Ross, begins with a one-week orientation, during which you will explore the online platform and get to know fellow members of the learning community. Six two-week content sessions follow, with an average time commitment of about 3-4 hours per week. In each session you will:

  • Learn new ideas
  • Review and reflect on key ideas from the previous session
  • Plan for trying and/or fully implementing course ideas in the classroom
  • Work on a project or curriculum unit
  • Reflect and share feedback with a coach and peers

Enrollment is by team, which promotes a deeper and richer learning experience and will help you sustain your use of core ideas after the course concludes. Team members will collaborate on most of the assignments, including the development of a project. Teams meet face-to-face every two weeks.

Although the sessions are structured and coach-facilitated, all the online interactions in the course are asynchronous. You and your team can decide when to work on the course materials as long as you submit the assignment(s) on or before the due dates.

This online course is not linked to a degree program. Academic credit is not available. You will be eligible for a digital certificate representing 45 professional development hours upon successful completion.


  • Learn about thinking dispositions and ways to help students develop them
  • Understand how thinking routines encourage deep thinking and learning
  • Explore the relationship between thinking routines and the documentation of student thinking
  • Explore how collegial study groups can enrich our understanding of student thinking
  • Identify thinking dispositions and thinking routines you will incorporate into your practice

Who should attend

This course requires enrollment by teams of 3-6 people. Teams need to be able to meet locally, in person, at least once every two weeks. Teams can be comprised of:

  • Teachers and school leaders
  • Museum educators and other educators in informal learning environments


Daniel Wilson is the Director of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where he is also a Principal Investigator, a Lecturer at the HGSE, Faculty on the Doctorate for Educational Leadership at HGSE, and the Educational Chair at Harvard’s “Learning Environments for Tomor...

Next dates

Sep 16—Dec 15, 2019
USD 525

How it works

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