The Habits of Mind

It would be beneficial to every teacher and student to concentrate on certain dispositions that would facilitate a more rigorous and thought-provoking lessons. More specifically, these dispositions are collectively called the Habits of Mind.

Art Costa and Bena Kallick in the book, Discovering and Exploring Habits of Mind, describe them as the "characteristics of what intelligent people do when they are confronted with problems, the resolutions of which are not immediately apparent." These are attributes that describe the expert problem solver, thoughtful decision-maker, and the creative thinker. These also comprise some of 21st century skills that are essential for our students to have in order compete

Let's explore the sixteen dispositions that comprise the "Habits of Mind".

  1. Persisting: Persevering in task through to completion; remaining focused; looking for ways to reach your goal when stuck; not giving up.

  2. Managing impulsivity: Thinking before acting; remaining calm, thoughtful, and deliberative

  3. Listening with understanding and empathy: Devoting mental energy to another person's thoughts and ideas; making an effort to perceive another person's point of view.

  4. Thinking flexibly: Looking at it another way; being able to change perspectives, generate alternatives and considering options.

  5. Thinking about your thinking: Being aware of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings and actions and their affects on others.

  6. Striving for accuracy: Always doing your best; setting high standards; checking and finding ways to improve constantly.

  7. Questioning and problem posing: Having a questioning attitude; knowing what data are needed and developing questioning strategies to produce those data.

  8. Applying past knowledge to new situations: Using what you learn; accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.

  9. Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision: Striving for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding over generalizations, distortions, deletions, and exaggerations.

  10. Gather data through senses: Paying attention to the world around you; using your natural pathways to discern information.

  11. Creating, imagining, innovating: Generating new and novel ideas, fluency and originality.

  12. Responding with wonderment and awe: Finding the world awesome and mysterious and being intrigued with phenomena and beauty.

  13. Taking responsible risks: Being adventurous; living on the edge of one's competence; trying new things constantly.

  14. Finding humor: Finding the whimsical incongruous and unexpected; laughing at oneself.

  15. Thinking interdependently: Being able to work with and learning from others in reciprocal situations.

  16. Remaining open to continuous learning: Resisting complacency

Now take a reflective look at yourself. Do you implement these dispositions in your daily life? If you don't, you will have a very difficult time trying to implement them within your lesson plans and trying to reiterate them with your students. Take some time to plan how you intend to reflect these habits within the long term.


Mr. Buddoo


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