Habits of mind – good habits to have!

I went to a workshop today to learn about Art Costa’s Habits of Mind. James Anderson ran the workshop and took us through each of the Habits of Mind with examples and suggestions for use of them in our classrooms. (I’ve just looked at his about page and realised he worked in the same bookshop I worked at when I was young – he started the year after I left. How’s that for six degrees of seperation!) I like the messages they are relaying to both our students and ourselves as teachers. The Art Costa Centre for Thinking lays out the 16 habits;

The habits of mind is the work of Dr. Arthur L. Costa, professor emeritus of the California State University. He has identified a total of 16 habits that successful people exhibit as cognitive as well as character traits.


The 16 habits are;

  • Remaining open to continuous learning

  • Persistence

  • Striving for accuracy

  • Thinking flexibly

  • Thinking interdepently

  • Creating, imagining and innovating

  • Metacognition

  • Finding humour

  • Listening with understanding and empathy

  • Responding with wonderment and awe

  • Gathering data through all senses

  • Managing impulsivity

  • Applying past knowledge to new situations

  • Precision of language and thought

  • Questioning and posing problems

  • Taking responsible risks

The 16 habits are available as posters with graphics representing each habit. They would be effective displays in classrooms; I’d like to have them on display in my classroom next term. I’d envisage taking the students through the habits and using them as a reference point for discussion and reflection as we work through class tasks. I saw them in use at Belmont Secondary College recently and liked how the students were encouraged to think of these Habits of Mind as they approached, worked through and reflected on   learning tasks.

Reading them today made me reflect on how many of these Habits of Mind have been modelled in this blogging journey. I definitely feel like I’ve persisted, responded with wonderment and awe, have taken responsible risks, been creative, imaginative and innovative, have thought and communicated with clarity and precision etc, etc. Most certainly I’ve remained open to continuous learning. It also made me think how easy it would be to marry these habits of mind with the integration of ICT into our classrooms. So many of them fit perfectly into the idea of establishing learning networks.  It’s important for us as teachers to model these behaviours for our students; we are all life long learners!

4 Replies to “Habits of mind – good habits to have!”

  1. We use these habits of mind at our school. We are very transparent with students about when we use them and when they should use them. We also evaluate students on a few of them on projects and midterms. I think they are brilliant.

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