After gaining his elementary and secondary teaching credentials from the Bay Area Writing Project and teaching in the Oakland and Berkeley public schools, David received his doctorate from UC Berkeley with continuing studies as an Exchange Scholar for two years at the Harvard School of Education. He is an international leader in the field of thinking skills development, critical reflection, and 21st century learning. His groundbreaking book in the field of education–”Visual Tools for Constructing Knowledge” (ASCD, 1996)–focused on the comprehensive, researched based practices of how teachers facilitate creativity, analytical thinking, conceptual understanding, and “systems thinking” using visual tools. David has always attempted to integrate the fields of cognitive-neuroscience, high quality collaborative teaching and learning models, and assessment into the fabric of everyday classroom teaching. ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) honored his work by distributing his visual tools book to over 120,000 educators worldwide. Recent published writings by David include insights into assessment, knowledge cartography (knowledge creation and transfer), visual representations of data and the direct facilitation of dispositions of thinking, or Habits of Mind (Costa and Kallick).
David may be best known as the developer of the Thinking Maps® model that is a dynamic, student-centered language. He authored the original primary professional development resources leading to “Thinking Maps: A Language for Learning” (and software) for implementing Thinking Maps across the United States and internationally. Since 1990, when David formalized the approach for working across schools at every level from pre-K to college, the Thinking Maps, Inc. professional development design has been based on whole schools and feeder patterns as the key unit of dynamic, sustainable, scalable change. The research on Thinking Maps is captured in the text, “Student Successes with Thinking Maps; 2nd edition” (Hyerle and Alper; editors: Corwin Press, 2010). With Larry Alper and Chris Yeager, David co-authored the new leadership guide and training, “Thinking Maps: Leading with a New Language” showing explicitly how to use the tools for school-wide leadership and organizational change. Larry, Kim Williams and David also collaborated over several years to craft “Developing Connective Leadership” (Solution Tree; 2011), a book using grounded research to reveal the ripple effects of connective thinking in schools.
Presently, David is Co-Director of Thinking Schools International, a consulting group working around the world to share an integrated approach to educational transformation in places such as Ethiopia, Norway, Brazil, the UK and Malaysia. In the U.S., David is co-director of the Designs for Thinking consulting group and founder of Thinking Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on research on thinking, leading and learning. David’s book “Visual Tools for Transforming Information into Knowledge” (Corwin/Sage Press; 2009) is a good starting place for getting to know this field. It is a highly accessible, in depth text with over 70 graphic displays that demonstrate with research and practical applications how visual tools and Thinking Maps are foundations for explicitly improving thinking, communication, problem solving and decision making, learning and leadership across organizations. This is also part of a multi-media online program: “Visual Tools for Thinking” visit: www.mapthemind.com
David is a dynamic, often playful and inspiring keynote speaker, drawing from his international and local cross-cultural experiences. He engages audiences large and small through rich video clips connected to up-to-date research, and authentic documentation from regular, inclusive, and special education classrooms from over 30 years of work in the field. He lives and plays in the snowy winter woods and the autumn colors of New Hampshire near Dartmouth College with his wife, son, dog and cats, along with occasional visits by bear, moose, deer and other wild creatures.