181: Habits of Mind





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  • stick to a task until it is completed
  • don’t give up easily
  • analyze problems and plan approaches to solve them
  • use a big tool box to solve problems
  • use self awareness to continue (switch up) effective (ineffective) problem solving processes
Managing Impulsivity
  • thinking before acting
  • being deliberate
  • develop plan of action before getting started
  • clarify and understand instructions
  • withhold judgement in order to develop understanding
Listening to Others with Understanding and Empathy
  • active listening skills
  • think through other’s perspectives
  • restrain own judgements, opinions and prejudices in order to be open to other’s ideas
  • monitoring one’s though while actively listening to another’s words
Thinking Flexibly
  • use intuition to solve problems
  • productive pauses in problem solving
  • tolerate confusion and ambiguity in a problem
  • use variety of tools to solve problems
Striving for Accuracy and Precision
  • value accuracy, precision and craftsmanship
  • double check / proofread products
  • review instructions, criteria and constraints
  • study models of great work
  • confirm product meets criteria
Questioning and Posing Problems
  • ask questions to address need-to-knows
  • probe for info and explanations
  • ask a range of questions
Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  • learn from experience
  • look to past for guidance in solving new problems
  • use processes to face new challenges
  • abstract meanings from experiences
  • transfer knowledge and skills to novel situations
Gathering Data through All Senses
  • uses all senses to gather information
Creating, Imagining and Innovating
  • create novel, original, clever or ingenuous products, solution and techniques
  • problem solving using many angles and approaches
  • use analogies to understand and play out different roles
Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  • enjoy problem solving and learning
  • seek out challenges
  • seek out and create new enigmas
Finding Humor
  • laugh at themselves
  • provoke higher order thinking: finding novel relationships, using imagery and making analogies
Thinking Interdependently
  • collaboratively problem solve
  • understanding need for and value of collaborators
Learning Continuously
  • confidence + curiosity -> find new and better methods
  • always striving for new learning, growth and improvement
  • see adversity and other experiences as opportunities to learn
These habits of mind have strong connections to the 6 Facets of Understanding.


The following habits of mind describe the skill sets that people can practice to become excellent problem solvers.  Teachers can scaffold and assess these skills in order to develop students’ independence and to prepare them for lifelong learning and careers.


Preparation Steps
  • Evaluate knowledge and skills of the course
  • Make lists that specify how students will apply habits of mind to be successful in your course
  • Create character learning targets based on content versions of the habits of mind
  • Prepare scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the habits of mind
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding and assessments that align to character learning targets based on the habits of mind
  • Use formative assessment feedback to refine activities and to guide students to revise their understandings and products
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Collaborate with other teachers to develop vertical sequencing of instruction related to habits of mind
  • Develop routines that empower students to practice habits of mind



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