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Online Courses

Teaching Critical Thinking through Art with the National Gallery of Art

Based on the National Gallery of Art’s popular Art Around the Corner professional development program for teachers in Washington, D.C., this five-part, self-paced online course provides everything you need to begin creating a culture of critical thinking and collaboration for any classroom, subject, or level. You do not need an art background or museum access to successfully integrate the “Artful Thinking” course materials into your teaching. Your focused attention, willingness to experiment, and commitment to trying new discussion practices with your students is all that is required.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to use Artful Thinking Routines to strengthen thinking.
  • How to facilitate meaningful conversations in your classroom using art for both artful learning and artful teaching.
  • How to help learners of all levels develop more discerning descriptions, evidence-based reasoning, and meaningful questioning habits.
  • Key strategies for using content information to push original thinking deeper.
  • Exciting, immersive activities for any type of classroom.
  • How to use learning resources from the National Gallery of Art, including downloadable Artful Thinking lesson plans.

The strategies presented in this course are adapted from Artful Thinking pedagogy, developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

When you enroll, all the resources you need to strengthen critical thinking skills with art will be immediately available. We recommend that you spend a few hours learning and practicing each section before progressing to the next. The online course environment features over 20 videos and interactive tools: including a zoom tool to examine works of art at full resolution, polls to compare your thoughts with those of other participants, and discussion boards where teachers around the world will share ideas, plans, and results. Authentic lesson demonstration videos model routines led by real classroom and museum educators with students of varying ages. Interview videos provide focal points for teachers on topics like using thinking routines with emerging language learners and making accommodations for all learners. Having access to a global network of educators who, just like you, want to hone their abilities to teach critical thinking skills will be an added and enduring bonus to your course experience.

This NGA Online Course is made possible by a generous grant from the Ruth S. Willoughby Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Mr. and Mrs. J. Bruce Whelihan.

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Join thousands of participants from over 130 countries. Register today at

Questions about this program should be directed to [email protected].

When contacting the Gallery, please provide a telephone number and the times of day when you can best be reached.