By Veronica Boix-Mansilla

How can we, as educators, respond to the demands of a more diverse, complex, and dynamic world, nurturing among young people the habits of mind that matter through the use of powerful pedagogies and practical tools?

We have developed a competency-based framework to describe the capacities and dispositions that will best prepare students to develop their full human potential and participate in the construction of inclusive, equitable, and sustainable societies. This work draws on Project Zero’s long-standing research on “thinking routines” to offer concrete and accessible tools that you can use to nurture these dispositions across ages, contexts (classrooms, museums, community organizations) and curricular areas disciplines.

This page links to thinking routines that are aligned to the dispositions highlighted in our framework. They can be used to support the use of any of the educational resources on our site.

The thinking routines collected here promote habits of mind such as the disposition to inquire about the world, discern local-global significance, compare stories, contexts, and cultures, take cultural perspective, and challenging stereotypes among others. They are thinking structures or malleable micro-teaching tools carefully designed to be used in a wide tange of learning spaces. Meant to be used frequently, across content, over time, and as an integral part of a learning environment, these routines are essential contributors to creating a classroom culture where learners are engaged thoughtfully and their thoughts and voices take center stage.

A few characteristics drive global thinking routines: GTRs are:

  • Cognitively elegant thinking sequences rooted in close analysis of forms of thinking embodied in each disposition
  • Open-ended, assuming no right or wrong answer but able to make learners’ thinking visible.
  • Simple in design, low threshold for use and high ceiling for growth and refinement.
  • Useful as informal or formal diagnostic and assessment tools– i.e., as micro-interventions that make students’ thinking visible
  • Usable by learners individually and in groups as structures to scaffold their own thinking and self-assess.
  • Useful for researchers as pre- and post- measures of students developing targeted capacities
  • Effective in contributing to a culture of  thoughtfulness, appreciation and social interactions
  • Inviting for teachers to inquire about their own practice.

These resources were developed in partnership with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and draws from both new and pre-existing research on thinking routines.

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