Ron Ritchhart has been a researcher at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education since 1994. His research focuses on understanding how to develop, nurture, and sustain thoughtful learning environments for both students and teachers. His interest in “cultures of thinking” has lead him to conduct research in such areas as intellectual character, mindfulness, thinking dispositions, teaching for understanding, creativity in teaching, and the development of communities of practice.
Ron’s research is classroom and school-based, believing that teaching is a complex art and science that must be understood in context. A strong theme of learning from best practice runs throughout much of Ron’s work. On many of the projects on which Ron has worked, he has produced videos of best practices related to teaching for understanding, creative and innovative teaching, and the use of thinking routines.
Prior to joining the Project Zero research group, Ron taught for fourteen years. He began his teaching career in New Zealand teaching 35 six and seven year olds in a state school in Christchurch as part of a teaching internship program. From there he taught art in Indiana before moving to Denver, Colorado where he taught third and fourth grade. Frustrated with the way he was teaching mathematics, Ron pursued a mathematics education degree and later taught middle school mathematics. In 1993 he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Mathematics Teaching.
Ron earned his Ed.D. degree (2000) in human development and psychology from Harvard University. Ron’s research on how teachers create thoughtful learning environments that support the development of students’ intellectual character was the basis for his book: Intellectual Character: What it is, Why it matters, How to get it. His framework for understanding group culture detailed have been influential in shaping education in schools and museums throughout the world. His book, Making Thinking Visible, explores how teachers around the world have been using the ideas of Ron and his colleagues at Project Zero to improve students’ learning.
Prior to attending Harvard, he earned an Master or Arts degree (1990) in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Indiana University.
Ron's latest book 'Creating Cultures of Thinking' (2015).