Slow Looking: The Art and Practice of Learning Through Observation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Slow Looking

The Art and Practice of Learning Through Observation, 1st Edition

By Shari Tishman


156 pages | 23 B/W Illus.

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Slow Looking provides a robust argument for the importance of slow looking in learning environments both general and specialized, formal and informal, and its connection to major concepts in teaching, learning, and knowledge. A museum-originated practice increasingly seen as holding wide educational benefits, slow looking contends that patient, immersive attention to content can produce active cognitive opportunities for meaning-making and critical thinking that may not be possible though high-speed means of information delivery. Addressing the multi-disciplinary applications of this purposeful behavioral practice, this book draws examples from the visual arts, literature, science, and everyday life, using original, real-world scenarios to illustrate the complexities and rewards of slow looking.


"All too often, we traverse our rich and wondrous world like stones skipping across a pond. Slow Looking, Shari Tishman's brilliantly curated exploration of thoughtful attention to the things around us, celebrates the importance of sensory lingering in art, science, and our everyday lives."

—David Perkins, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA

"Shari Tishman has been at the center of Harvard Project Zero's important research in arts-based learning for many years. She has also worked directly with visual arts educators in both school and museum settings to develop practical applications that serve a diverse range of learners. Slow Looking presents relevant and important insights distilled from deep experience and thoughtful reflection. Tishman’s lively and direct prose argues for the value of slow looking through compelling examples that will make this book an inspiring and useful catalyst for those of us committed to living more slowly, seeing more deeply, and learning about our complex world."

—Ray Williams, Director of Education and Academic Affairs at the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, USA

"Slow Looking strikes the perfect balance between practicality and philosophical depth. Tishman writes fluidly and moves easily among descriptions of classroom technique, phenomenological analysis of observation, and the intellectual history of student-centered education. Slow Looking will be a continual source of inspiration in my own teaching and scholarship – it is highly recommended."

—Joshua Canzona, Reflective Teaching, 2017

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction: Slow Matters

Chapter 2 Strategies for Looking

Chapter 3 Slow in Practice

Chapter 4 Looking and Describing

Chapter 5 Look for Yourself…and Visit a Museum!

Chapter 6 Looking Goes to School

Chapter 7 Science Learns to Look

Chapter 8 Slow Looking and Complexity

Chapter 9 Conclusion: Thinking Through Slow


About the Author

Shari Tishman is Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, a research and development center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also serves as a lecturer on education. Her work focuses on the development of thinking and understanding, and learning in and through the arts.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Psychology
EDUCATION / Experimental Methods
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Science & Technology
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Arts & Humanities