CTT Summer Institute 2019





A two week program

1ST– 6TH of July, 2019 9:00 am – 6:30 pm

8TH – 13TH of July, 2019 9:00 am – 6:30 pm

You can register for Week 1, Week 2, or both weeks!



1ST– 6TH of July, 2019 9:00 am – 6:30 pm

What do TBL lessons accomplish and how can they be designed and taught?

Many schools today have recognized that the standard instructional methodology that emphasizes memory and rote learning, reinforced by standard textbooks, is ineffective in leading to either deep or lasting learning on the part of most of their students. The first week of the 2017 CTT Summer Institute will be devoted to an in-depth examination of the instructional strategies that have made Thinking-Based Learning extremely effective as an alternative in schools around the world.

TBL will be introduced to the participants in this course through demonstrations of TBL lessons in which students are taught a number of different thinking skills that they then use to explore important curricular content in greater depth than ever achieved in memory-based instruction.

As we do this we will show how these lessons weave examples of a cluster of special instructional techniques to produce a powerful classroom methodology for TBL that yields rich thinking, deep understanding, and lasting learning.

We will give special attention to the impact of TBL on student literacy: on their reading and writing skills. We will especially focus on what teachers can do to help students translate good thinking into good writing and other forms of effective communication.

The classroom demonstrations of TBL lessons will be drawn from actual classroom practice and will include examples incorporating a number of analytical, critical, and creative thinking skills, as well as skillful decision making and problem solving infused into content instruction at different grade levels and in different subject areas. We will pay special attention to what teachers of 3, 4, and 5 year-old children have been able to accomplish in starting their students to learn how to stop and think, as well as how much teachers in the primary through baccalaureate grades have accomplished through TBL. Participants will have a chance to develop their own ideas for TBL lessons based on what they teach.

Week 1 is the first step in the process of being certified as a TBL teacher.



8TH – 13TH of July, 2019 9:00 am – 6:30 pm

In Week 2 we will extend the activity of Thinking-Based Learning in three ways. The first two will involve ways of adding techniques and material to TBL that will strengthen it. The third will be how we can extend TBL, so enriched, from the classroom into the real lives of our students in the 21st Century.

First we will explore how we can use what been called “Thinking Routines” in TBL to deepen student’s learning to be skillful thinkers. Thinking routines are special ways of helping students to stop and think introduced in a program called Visible Thinking. They are short, easy to learn mini strategies that extend and deepen thinking and loosely guide learners’ thought processes to achieve this result.

An example of a thinking routine is

“I see…, I think…, I wonder…”

Another is

“I used to think…, Now I think…”

Many teachers have thought that though these do not teach students how to do important types of thinking like critical thinking and analysis well they can set the stage for students developing and using thinking skills in ways that broaden the experience of the students. Can they? How? We want to determine what the outcomes of using thinking routines are, how these differ from the outcomes of teaching thinking skills, whether the two can work together, and how.

To facilitate this exploration we have invited Karin Morrison from Melbourne Australia to join us. She is one of the co-authors of the book Making Thinking Visible in which thinking routines were first introduced.

Second, we will also explore extending the activity of TBL by focusing not just on the important thinking skills but also a special cluster of Thinking-Related Emotions and Thinking Motivators that some have argued we all need to develop and use to drive good thinking, and without which our thinking, however skillful, would lie dormant like a chocolate cake put before someone who didn’t like chocolate. Curiosity and wanting to find the truth are examples. So what are these “cognitive emotions” and how can we help students develop them, value them, and what role do they play in our thinking? Some have suggested that they drive good thinking. What does that mean and how can we help to make that natural with our students – so our students have the disposition to use them to motivate good thinking when needed. Many have called these mental mechanisms Thinking Dispositions. But what does that mean and what can we do to bring these about in our students? After all when we teach students thinking skills we are not just teaching them so that they know how to do certain types of thinking like critical or creative thinking skillfully. That’s like knowing how to solve quadratic equations well and perhaps passing tests in algebra on how to do that. But at the same time our students may never be motivated to undertake to solve a quadratic equation after they leave school. We want them to use these thinking skills in their lives when needed and that means that we need to teach our students so that they are ready — disposed — to do so. How can we help them develop and use these motivators in a natural way in their lives? Carol McGuinness from Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, an Educational Psychologist who has worked on these issues, will join us to help us sort through these matters.

At the same time we will make the context for these two ways of extending TBL how we can help our students to transfer the thinking skills they are learning and using in the classroom to issues they will be confronting in their lives. The use of TBL in the classroom is mainly to deepen their engagement and learning about important curriculum themes, rather than just memorize some things about these themes. How can these techniques and the spirit of TBL be extended to our lives outside school?

So we will start the week with a short video produced for this year’s Summer Institute by David Perkins, from Project Zero at Harvard University. David can’t travel to Spain this week but is delighted to help us focus on this basic issue about instruction in this century – something that whatever we teach we need to address. What special content and skills do we need to help students develop through the way we teach now to prepare all students for a largely unknown, but challenging future in this century that will affect us all. Is that already addressed by transforming instruction through TBL or prompting students to regularly think with thinking routines? Or do we need to do more? If so what? David will share some ideas with us and give us a context through which we can each think through these issues.

Now this all sounds like it will be very theoretical. Well, that is not our style. It may be nice to talk about these things but for us these discussions have little value unless they can be translated into classroom practice. So we will make the base of this week of the institute the practice of TBL in your classrooms.

What do we mean by that? Well, first, this week of the summer institute in all its richness is open to teachers from teachers of infants through the upper grades of bacchleratto, and in any subject area, but there is a restriction in who we advise to attend. Certainly this week of the summer institute will build on what we do in Week 1, which will be basic TBL focusing on the design of lessons in which students use specific thinking skills to engage with important content issues. So we want those who attend to lesson and activities in which their instruction is student-centered instruction in which active learning will take place based on the use of relevant thinking skills focused on curricular content but extended to real-world issues. And Week 2 will certainly also speak to others who teach in schools that have transformed learning using the TBL model as well. The new book on TBL Lessons by Robert Swartz we be made available to participants in Week 2 and these can serve as models for your own TBL lesson designs in Week 2. These contexts will provide you with contexts in which we will raise those basic questions about thinking routines and cognitive emotions.

But we are also inviting those who will be attending the workshops we will be doing in May on how to construct long-term instructional units that are problem-solving and project oriented PBL units, but also cluster together in these units a series of important thinking skills that revolve around skillful decision-making or problem-solving. For example creative projects, like one on saving the bees, surviving the effects of global warming, or making broad social use of new technologies to enhance communication in a social group can all also be used as the base of our exploration of where we can use thinking routines and emphasize cognitive emotions to make these projects work better.

So to summarize, in Week 2 TBL teachers from more introductory level classrooms can work with the standard structure for TBL lessons, and can use that as the basis for determining the role of thinking routines, cognitive emotions, and thinking dispositions in these lessons. But teachers from more advanced grades can make PBL/TBL units the basis for applying the ideas we develop in the Institute about these new focal points for TBL.

We believe that Week 2 of this year’s summer institute will be a rich and expansive experience for everyone who has found TBL a way not only of bringing out the best in our students but helping them develop habits and dispositions of good thinking that will stay with them for the rest of their lives – and will be ready to use in facing the challenges of the rest of this century. And we will work with you so that you will be ready to start this process when you get back to your classrooms.

Robert Swartz and the 2019 Summer Institute team.

2019 CTT Summer Institute General Information:


This year’s summer institute will be held in Madrid. The Location is as follows:

Colegio María Virgen de Madrid

C/ Padre Damián nº 20,

28036, Madrid, Spain

Cómo llegar/ How to get there: Metro/ Metro Station: Santiago Bernabeu

Bus: EMT Línea/ Line 150

Web page: https://www.jesuitinasmariavirgen.es/

Phone number: 91 344 01 63


CTT will provide translation services from English to Spanish for anyone who needs it.



The cost of the 2019 program depends on when you register and for how many weeks. We are also providing discounts for teachers who teach at TBL Certified schools! The full cost of each week is 750€ per week. If you select both weeks when you register you will receive a discount of 55€. If you register before June 1, 2019 you will also receive a discount of 55€. In addition, if you are a teacher in a TBL certified school you will receive a discount of 100 euros as long as you register by the 1st of June 2019. Discounts cannot be combined.


In addition, we will give a discount of 20% for people outside of the European Union .


You also have the option to pay 50% at the time of registration and pay the other 50% at least two weeks before the start of the Summer Institute. For this option write to workshops@teach-think.org.


For people in Spain that works in private schools, they can pay through FUNDAEFor public school teachers in Spain we have a special discount, write us at workshops@teach-think.org to know more.


Beverage breaks for each day of the program are included in the price along with all the materials for the course, including a copy of the new book Thinking to Learn, by Robert Swartz and including examples of TBL lessons developed and taught by primary grade teachers in their own classrooms, and other program materials.

We expect heavy demand for this program and we have a maximum limit to the number of participants so we urge you to register as soon as you can. If your situation changes and you need to cancel your participation we will give you a full refund if you notify us by the 15th of May, 2019.


We have secured the following accommodations for Summer Institute attendees, please contact the hotel directly and they will assist you with your reservations.



Plot of three chalets with gardens in residential area: Colonia del Viso (Pseo. De la Castellana)

  • Pere Tarrés Foundation
  • Address: C / Darro, 21 – 28002 Madrid (Colonia del Viso) behind the Santiago Bernabeu football stadium.
  • Telephone: +34 91 563 97 16
  • Email: residence@peretarres.org
  • Website: www.peretarres.org/residencia
  • Type of Residence: University
  • Means of transport: Metro: Santiago Bernabeu, Nuevos Ministerios, Argentine Republic. Buses: 14, 150, 51, 27, 147, 7. Cercanías Renfe.
  • Date: July 2018


Services that include:

  • Breakfast and dinner from Monday to Sunday. Every day of the week. Homemade food. Mediterranean diet
  • Room cleaning.
  • Services of sheets and towels
  • Internet connection by cable in the room and wifi throughout the Residence
  • Self-service laundry
  • Gym
  • Study room
  • Computer room
  • Three multi-purpose TV rooms
  • Gardens with leisure and sports areas
  • Free entrance hours
  • 24 hour surveillance


    Single room with private bathroom: € 45 / day with VAT (one week course)

    Single room with private bathroom: € 40 / day with VAT (two weeks course)

    Double Room: € 40 / day with VAT / per person (one week course)

    Double Room: € 35 / day with VAT / per person (two-week course)



    Special Message from Robert Swartz

    Like learning any skill the core of TBL involves students in learning what to do to think skillfully and well, doing this by using these skills to engage with important content they are learning, and practicing this regularly so that they use skillful thinking as a regular part of their thinking life. We will demonstrate and analyze this in Week 1.


    But this is what the students do in TBK classrooms. What do teachers do to make this happen? And are there specific techniques that have been developed in the teaching thinking movement that can be incorporated into TBL instruction to give TBL teaching real power?


    Here are some of the specific themes we will emphasize in 2019 both in Week 1 and Week 2


    • Teaching students how to develop and use explicit thinking organizers, both verbal and visual, to improve their thinking
    • Using special extended questioning techniques and “thinking routines” to help students put depth into their thinking.
    • Helping students develop thinking behaviors that create thoroughness in their thinking (“Habits of  Mind”)
    • Teaching students how to stand back and monitor their own thinking for self improvement and self-guidance ( “The Ladder of Metacognition”)
    • Helping students make thinking social by sharing it in a tive collaborative thinking groups (techniques from “Cooperative Learning”)
    • Students developing thinking motivators like curiosity, the search for truth, and the desire to communicate clearly, so that they develop the disposition to use good thinking in their lives (“Thinking Dispositions”)

    And finally

    • How to incorporate TBL techniques to respond to 21st Century challenges for good practical creativity tempered by critical thinking in extended PBL/Project work (“Project-Based Learning”)

    I have invited special guests who know some of these methodological innovations first hand to work with you. And the summer institute team will work directly with you all to incorporate these techniques into your own teaching.


    Robert Swartz, March, 2019


Bookings are closed for this event.