Project Zero, a leading educational
research organization at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, has
had a decade-long relationship with WIS.
very first Project Zero conference held away from the Harvard campus was
co-hosted by WIS and the National Gallery of Art in November 2010. Since that
time, WIS teachers have presented workshops at off-site conferences in New
York, Atlanta and Clarkston, Michigan.
teachers now regularly lead in-house workshops with their colleagues and
parents on how they are using Project Zero ideas in practice.
For the 2010-11 academic year, WIS
received a matching grant from the EE Ford Foundation to establish a
consultant-in-residency program featuring Project Zero researchers Veronica
Boix Mansilla and Ron Ritchhart. Contributions from the community ensured WIS
met the match. In the 2011-12, WISPA awarded a grant that sustained this work
for another year.
these two years, the Project Zero consultants worked with teachers and
administrators to develop the skills, knowledge, and understanding connected to
a relevant global issues curriculum and its delivery. Their work entailed, but
was not limited to:
- Leading workshops for teachers;
- Observing classes and engaging the faculty in explorations of teaching and learning issues related to building a relevant curriculum for the 21st century;
- Organizing and advising professional learning groups of teachers;
- Consulting with groups of teachers in subject area and grade level groups to build interdisciplinary approaches to various topics;
- Training teachers to be trainers, so they could lead workshops and symposia as outlined above; and
- Consulting with the school’s Academic Council
and administrators on strategies to ensure success of this project.
As a result of these initiatives, the entire WIS
faculty has engaged deeply with Project Zero ideas over the past two years.
Furthermore, approximately one-third of faculty members in all three divisions
have attended a Project Zero summer institute on the Harvard campus.
What is Project Zero?
As stated on its website, “Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as in humanistic and scientific disciplines, at individual and institutional levels.” Project Zero was founded at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1967 by the philosopher Nelson Goodman to study and improve education in and through the arts. Goodman believed that arts learning should be studied as a serious cognitive activity, but that "zero" had been firmly established about the field; hence, the project was given its name. Today, Project Zero is building on years of research to help create communities of reflective, independent learners; to enhance deep understanding within and across disciplines; and to promote critical and creative thinking (read this article from the Harvard Gazette on the benefit of developing better thinking skills). Among the many important projects led by researchers at Project Zero are: