The Power of Habits of Mind

Charles Duhigg knows the importance of habits.  His book The Power of Habit is steeped in his extensive research into how habits are developed, how they can be changed, why they are useful, and why they are so enduring.  If you haven’t read the book, I would encourage you to do so.  It is fascinating. 

As I read the book, I wondered how we as educators might use Duhigg’s research to help students develop the repeated behaviors necessary for academic and lifetime success.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to wonder too long.  I found the work of researcher and educator A. L. Costa, whose book Learning and Leading With Habits of Mind: 16 Characteristics for Success identified and addressed a rather substantial list of habits beneficial for students, teachers, and schools.  The sixteen characteristics identified are as follows:

  1. Persisting
  2. Managing impulses
  3. Listening with empathy and understanding
  4. Thinking flexibly
  5. Thinking about thinking
  6. Striving for accuracy
  7. Questioning and problem posing
  8. Applying past knowledge to new situations
  9. Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
  10. Gathering data through all senses
  11. Creating, imagining, and innovating
  12. Responding with wonderment and awe
  13. Taking responsible risks
  14. Finding humor
  15. Thinking interdependently
  16. Remaining open to continuous learning 

Over the next few weeks we will ruminate on these and find ways that we can bring them into our classroom practice.  Our students will be glad we took the time to do so!

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