Blogging the Habits of Mind

This past spring, I ran a workshop at the same conference at which Heidi Hayes Jacobs gave the keynote.  As part of my presenter’s “swag bag”, I received a copy of Dr. Jacobs’ Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World, a collection of essays about teaching and learning in the 21st century.

One essay by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick, “It Takes Some Getting Used To: Rethinking Curriculum for the 21st Century”, references 16 “Habits of Mind” that the authors believe are “dispositions or attitudes that reflect the necessary skillful behaviors that students will need to practice as they become more thoughtful in their learning and in their lives… [they] are necessary for success in school, work, and life” (Costa & Kallick, 2000, 2009, as cited in Costa & Kallick, 2010, p. 212).

I’m all for success in school, work, and life – particularly my own – so I thought it might be fun to blog about my own learning, both at my new job and in my new doctoral program, within this framework (see, this is what passes for fun when you get old).  I plan to do this periodically between Sept-Oct 2011 and June 2012, so stay tuned.

Here is the list of Costa & Kallick’s 16 Habits of Mind:

  1. Persisting: Stick to it!  Persevering in a task through to completion; remaining focused.
  2. Managing impulsivity: Take your time!  Thinking before acting; remaining calm, thoughtful, and deliberative.
  3. Listening with understanding and empathy:  Understand others!  Devoting mental energy to another person’s thoughts and ideas; holding in abeyance one’s own thoughts in order to perceive another’s point of view and emotions.
  4. Thinking flexibly: Look at it another way!  Being able to change perspectives, generate alternatives, consider options.
  5. Thinking about your thinking (metacognition): Know your knowing!  Being aware of one’s own thoughts, strategies, feelings, and actions and their effects on others.
  6. Striving for accuracy and precision: Check it again!  A desire for exactness, fidelity, craftsmanship, and truthfulness.
  7. Questioning and problem posing: How do you know?  Having a questioning attitude; knowing what data are needed and developing questioning strategies to generate information.
  8. Applying past knowledge to novel situations: Use what you learn!  Accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.
  9. Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision: Be clear!  Striving for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding overgeneralizations, distortions, and deletions.
  10. Gathering data through all senses: Use your natural pathways!  Gathering data through all the sensory pathways – gustatory, olfactory, tactile, kinesthetic, auditory, and visual.
  11. Creating, imagining, and innovating: Try a different way!  Generating new and novel ideas, fluency, originality.
  12. Responding with wonderment and awe: Have fun figuring it out!  Finding the world awesome and mysterious, and being intrigued with phenomena and beauty.
  13. Taking responsible risks: Venture out!  Being adventuresome; living on the edge of one’s competence.
  14. Finding humor: Laugh a little!  Finding the whimsical, incongruous, and unexpected.  Being able to laugh at oneself.
  15. Thinking interdependently: Work together!  Being able to work with and learn from others in reciprocal situations.
  16. Remaining open to continuous learning: Learn from experiences!  Having humility and pride when admitting we don’t know; resisting complacency.
(Costa & Kallick, 2010, pp. 212-213)

What do you think of this list?  Are there any glaring omissions?  Anything you would add?  Any ideas you feel need emphasis over others?



Costa, A.L. & Kallick, B.  (2010).   It takes some getting used to: rethinking curriculum for the 21st century.  In H. H. Jacobs (Ed.), Curriculum 21: essential education for a changing world (pp. 210-226).  Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


  • That’s awesome stuff. I’m throwing it into my Evernote for posterity. I’m also going to check out that book on Amazon. Interesting (ironic?) that this book isn’t available electronically.
    Rick´s last blog post ..Kindergarten/1st Grade Skills for Learning

  • Rick, email me your address; you can have my copy.

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