The Habits of Mind

We strongly hold that having the correct attitude, disposition, behaviours toward learning and problem solving are what lend to success in its broadest sense. At Thorntree we encourage the want to learn, lend depth and deeper more meaningful learning experiences through adopting and integrating the Habits of Mind into the classroom. These habits are drawn into our teaching and learning through various ways and practiced in and out of the classroom and even at home through the support of parents.

The essential outcome is to develop and expand the dispositions of skilful problem solvers who can apply their learnings to an ever-expanding array of challenges not only in commonly taught subjects in school, but also in their communities, in their world and in their lives. These will ultimately enable young people to engage socially, to be responsible citizens, and to live healthy and productive lives. We want to prepare our students to be morally responsible, law-abiding participants in our multifaceted country.

What Are Habits of Mind?
Habits of Mind are dispositions that are skilfully and mindfully employed by characteristically intelligent, successful people when they are confronted with problems, the solutions to which are not immediately apparent.  When we draw upon these mental resources, the results are more powerful, of higher quality, and of greater significance than if we fail to employ those habits.

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 habit should be employed at which time. It includes sensitivity to the contextual cues in a situation signalling that it is an appropriate time and circumstance to employ this pattern.

It requires a level of skilfulness to carry through the behaviours effectively over time. Finally, it leads individuals to reflect on, evaluate, modify, and carry forth their learnings to future applications.  It implies goal setting for improved performance and making a commitment to continued self-modification.

While there may be more, 16 characteristics of effective problem-solvers have been have been derived from studies of efficacious problem-solvers from many walks of life. (Costa and Kallick, 2009).

The list of Habits of Mind are:

  1. Persisting
  2. Managing Impulsivity
  3. Listening with Understanding and Empathy
  4. Thinking Flexibly
  5. Thinking about Thinking
  6. Striving for Accuracy
  7. Questioning and Posing Problems
  8. Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
  10. Gathering Data Through All Senses
  11. Creating, Imagining, Innovating
  12. Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  13. Taking Responsible Risks
  14. Finding Humour
  15. Thinking Interdependently
  16. Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

Habits of Mind