Habits of Mind

The concept at the core of a Habits of Mind Framework, like the ideas espoused by Edward de Bono and discussed in the previous weeks’ blogs, is that thinking or patterns of thinking and, especially, different ways of thinking are skills which can be explicitly learned and with sufficient practice become a normalised and automatised part of behaviour. Coupled with this notion is the belief that, if such patterns of thinking can be learned, so, too, can they be explicitly taught.

Habits of Mind Frameworks as the name suggests, are Thinking Frameworks that identify agreed upon approaches to the explicit teaching and, more importantly, the consistent reinforcement, of particular thinking types or strategies. The consistent repetition of these thinking tools, strategies, routines (call them what you will) is essential if we are to help students make these behaviours into habits (Sizer, 1992) that is to automatise the thinking until students can carry out the routine without conscious thought.  It is a useful strategy for teachers in a school to explicitly discuss the question of “What thinking habits do we believe our students will need to best succeed in the world of their future?” 

If there is one thing we do know about the future, it is that the demands placed upon students entering school now will be very different from those facing those students who are leaving schools now.

Habits f Mind is just one Framework. However, it has the advantage of being practised in a number of schools since Sue Cunningham wrote her book Habits of Mind: Developing the Whole Child in 2004. Consequently, there is considerable evidence from many contexts, primarily anecdotal at this point, that suggest the concept works in practise. 

Academics, Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick (2000) have investigated habits of mind for years and have identified on 16 habits they consider essential. Their Framework can be explored in greater detail at the The Institute for Habits of Mind at http://www.habitsofmindinstitute.org/about-us/ .  The attached chart describing these Habits of Mind is a product of the institute and was originally found at  http://www.habitsofmindinstitute.org/wp- content/uploads/2014/05/HOM.Chart_.Horizontal.pdf


References and Suggested Reading

Barell, J. (2003). Developing more curious minds. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 

Boyes, K., & Watts, G. (2009). Developing habits of mind in secondary schools: An ASCD action tool. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 

Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (2009). Habits of mind across the curriculum. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 

Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 

Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (2000). Discovering and exploring habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 

Gunningham, S., & Victorian Schools Innovations Commission. (2004). Habits of mind: Developing the whole child. Melbourne, Australia: Victorian Schools Innovations Commission

Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. J. (2003). Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies for every teacher. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Sizer, T. R. (1992). Horace’s school. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.

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