Teacher Development in Cultures of Thinking

MARCH 16, 2016 / News

By Phil Muir

The ‘Leading Learning and Thinking’ conference in Melbourne was a golden opportunity for our Heads of School, Teacher Academy Director and Regional Principal in charge of Professional Learning and Development to see top level educationalists from Harvard University deliver research-based findings which unpack how it looks to develop ‘cultures of thinking’ in their high performing schools. 

During the conference, we constantly heard questions such as “what does teaching look like in our school?” and were prompted to consider what we need to do to prepare our students, teachers and communities to be future ready. 

Between our team we covered a range of sessions, including:

  • Professional conversations
  • Reimagining education for a changing world
  • Learning to look at and talk about teaching
  • Leadership and learning: past, present and future
  • How we can take a number of Project Zero ideas back home and use them in our classrooms. 

Having time to build this team was invaluable, and we were able to debrief properly and contextualise ideas from the conference into our school environment.  We have a much clearer vision of how the junior, middle and senior school should work together and how we need to continue to develop professionally to be the most effective teachers we can be.

Big ‘take homes’ and questions for us to think about:

  • Are we making learning meaningful?
  • Big steps taken to consolidate the thinking routines toolkit, including such simple tools as www (what worked well) and EBI (even better if). 
  • How can we further develop the Teacher Academy – current sessions and future plans?
  • What more can we do to build a culture of thinking and learning?  Asking questions and encouraging all teachers to have and use a ‘dynamic’ toolkit of thinking routines.


About Project Zero

Project Zero was founded by the philosopher Nelson Goodman at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1967 to study and improve education in the arts. Goodman believed that arts learning should be studied as a serious cognitive activity, but that "zero" had yet been firmly established about the field; hence, the project was given its name. 

Over the years, Project Zero has maintained a strong research agenda in the arts while gradually expanding to include investigations into the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural thinking, and ethics.

See more at: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/who-we-are/about#sthash.IA0hbGHF.dpuf