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Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series, HABITS OF MIND Annual Academic... · PDF file 2013-06-11 · Habits of Mind are performed in response to those ... flexibility, metacognition,

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  • HABITS OF MIND (After Arthur L. Costa and Bena KaIlick, Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series, Copyright © 2000)

    The Habits of Mind are an identified set of 16 problem solving, life related skills, necessary to effectively operate in society and promote strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity and craftsmanship. The understanding and application of these 16 Habits of Mind serve to provide the individual with skills to work through real life situations that equip that person to respond using awareness (cues), thought, and intentional strategy in order to gain a positive outcome.

    1. Persisting: Sticking to task at hand; Follow through to completion; Can and do remain focused. 2. Managing Impulsivity: Take time to consider options; Think before speaking or acting; Remain

    calm when stressed or challenged; Thoughtful and considerate of others; Proceed carefully. 3. Listening with Understanding and Empathy: Pay attention to and do not dismiss another

    person’s thoughts, feeling and ideas; Seek to put myself in the other person’s shoes; Tell others when I can relate to what they are expressing; Hold thoughts at a distance in order to respect another person’s point of view and feelings.

    4. Thinking Flexibly: Able to change perspective; Consider the input of others; Generate alternatives; Weigh options.

    5. Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition): Being aware of own thoughts, feelings, intentions and actions; Knowing what I do and say affects others; Willing to consider the impact of choices on myself and others.

    6. Striving for Accuracy; Check for errors; Measure at least twice; Nurture a desire for exactness, fidelity & craftsmanship.

    7. Questioning and Posing Problems: Ask myself, “How do I know?”; develop a questioning attitude; Consider what information is needed, choose strategies to get that information; Consider the obstacles needed to resolve.

    8. Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations: Use what is learned; Consider prior knowledge and experience; Apply knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.

    9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision: Strive to be clear when speaking and writing; Strive be accurate to when speaking and writing; Avoid generalizations, distortions, minimizations and deletions when speaking, and writing.

    10. Gathering Data through All Senses: Stop to observe what I see; Listen to what I hear; Take note of what I smell; Taste what I am eating; Feel what I am touching.

    11 Creating, Imagining, Innovating: Think about how something might be done differently from the “norm”; Propose new ideas; Strive for originality; Consider novel suggestions others might make.

    12.Responding with Wonderment andAwe: Intrigued by the world’s beauty, nature’s power and vastness for the universe; Have regard for what is awe-inspiring and can touch my heart; Open to the little and big surprises in life I see others and myself.

    13. Taking Responsible Risks: Willing to try something new and different; Consider doing things that are safe and sane even though new to me; Face fear of making mistakes or of coming up short and don’t let this stop me.

    14.Finding Humor: Willing to laugh appropriately; Look for the whimsical, absurd, ironic and unexpected in life; Laugh at myself when I can.

    15. Thinking Interdependently: Willing to work with others and welcome their input and perspective; Abide by decisions the work group makes even if I disagree somewhat; Willing to learn from others in reciprocal situations.

    16.Remaining Open to Continuous Learning: Open to new experiences to learn from; Proud and humble enough to admit when don’t know; Welcome new information on all subjects.




    We have We refer We Students

    In my classroom: not to this practice monitor touched behaviour this their

    HABITS OF MIND on this on behaviour own use behaviour occasion regularly of this


    1. Persisting

    2. Managing Impulsivity

    3. Listening With Understanding And Empathy

    4. Thinking Flexibly

    5. Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition)

    6. Striving for Accuracy

    7, Questioning And Posing Problems

    8. Applying Past Knowledge New Situations

    9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and P recis i on

    10. Gathering Data through All Senses

    11. Creating, Imagining, Innovating

    12. Responding with Wonderment and Awe

    13. Finding Humour

    14. Taking Responsible Risks

    15. Thinking Interdependently

    16. Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

    From Blue Ribbon Award, Wasatch Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah

  • The 16 Habits of Mind identified by Costa and Kallick include:

    • Persisting

    • Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

    • Managing impulsivity

    • Gathering data through all senses

    • Listening with understanding and empathy

    • Creating, imagining, innovating

    • Thinking flexibly

    • Responding with wonderment and awe

    • Thinking about thinking (metacognition)

    • Taking responsible risks

    • Striving for accuracy

    • Finding humor

    Questioning and posing problems

    - Thinking interdependently

    - Applying past knowledge to new situations

    - Remaining open to continuous learning


    Arthur L. Costa, Ed. D. and

    Bena Kallick, Ph.D.

    By definition, a problem is any stimulus, question, task, phenomenon, or discrepancy, the explanation for which is not immediately known. Thus, we are interested in focusing on student performance under those challenging conditions that demand strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity, and craftsmanship to resolve a complex problem. Not only are we interested in how many answers students know, but also in knowing how to behave when they DON’T know. Habits of Mind are performed in response to those questions and problems the answers to which are NOT immediately known. We are interested in observing how students produce knowledge rather than how they merely reproduce knowledge. The critical attribute of intelligent human beings is not only having information, but also knowing how to act on it.

  • A ‘Habit of Mind” means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known. When humans experience dichotomies, are confused by dilemmas, or come face to face with uncertainties--our most effective actions require drawing forth certain patterns of intellectual behavior. When we draw upon these intellectual resources, the results that are produced through are more powerful, of higher quality and greater significance than if we fail to employ those patterns of intellectual behaviors.

    Employing “Habits of Mind” requires a composite of many skills, attitudes cues, past experiences and proclivities. It means that we value one pattern of thinking over another and therefore it implies choice making about which pattern should be employed at this time. It includes sensitivity to the contextual cues in a situation which signal this as an appropriate time and circumstance in which the employment of this pattern would be useful. It requires a level of skillfulness to employ and carry through the behaviors effectively over time. It suggests that as a result of each experience in which these behaviors were employed, the effects of their use are reflected upon, evaluated, modified and carried forth to future applications


    • Value: Choosing to employ a pattern of intellectual behaviors rather than other, less productive patterns.

    • Inclination: Feeling the tendency toward employing a pattern of intellectual behaviors. • Sensitivity: Perceiving opportunities for, and appropriateness of employing the pattern of


    • Capability: Possessing the basic skills and capacities to carry through with the behaviors.

    • Commitment: Constantly striving to reflect on and improve performance of the pattern of intellectual behavior.


    When we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

    Wendell Berry

    What behaviors are indicative of the efficient, effective problem solver? Just what do human beings do when they behave intelligently? Research in effective thinking and intelligent behavior by Feuerstein (1980), Glatthorn and Baron (1985), Sternberg (1985), Perkins (1985), and Ennis (1985) indicates that there are some identifiable characteristics of effective thinkers. These are not necessarily scientists, artists, mathematicians or the wealthy who demonstrate these behaviors. These characteristics have been identified in successful mechanics, teachers, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and parents—people in all walks of life.

    Following are descriptions and an elaboration of 16 attributes of what human beings do when they behave intelligently. We choose to refer to them as Habits of Mind. They are the characteristics of what intelligent people do when they are confronted with problems, the resolutions to which are not immediately apparent.

    These behaviors are seldom performed in isolation. Rather, clusters of such behaviors are drawn forth and employed in various situations. When listenin