Shaping the Cultural Forces to Promote Visible Thinking: Language and Routines


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Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart describes a theory of creating an environment in classrooms in which students are encouraged to vocalize their thinking process. According to Richhart’s theory, there are eight cultural forces, which are evident in all classrooms, that assist in creating this necessary environment. They include opportunities, expectations, routines, interactions, environment, language, modeling, and time. Ritchhart’s theory is beneficial to the classroom as it creates a connection between teachers and students as they work together to uncover and discuss their thinking processes. This in turn will assist the students in developing and expanding their critical thinking habits. The study that informed this thesis explored how the classroom teacher intentionally influences and shapes language and routines to promote visible thinking. It also sought to validate whether their practices were aligned with the ideas presented by Ritchhart. The study relied primarily on observations within classrooms with the intent of uncovering the techniques and strategies that the teachers utilized in terms of language and routines in order to create a “visible thinking” classroom environment. The secondary source of data was provided through interviews with the participants at the end of the observations. This was where I was able to share my research findings and emerging themes with my participants in order to ensure that my data was credible. As a result of this thesis, current and future teachers will have awareness as to what it looks like when teachers influence the cultural forces to create a classroom where vocalizing the thinking process is valued.



Education, Cultural forces, Visible thinking, Language, Thinking routines, Classroom culture, Making thinking visible