Habits of Mind

1. Persistence
Do you sometimes say, “I just can’t do this” or “This is too hard”? Do you give up when the answer is not immediately apparent? Persistence means staying the course, taking the time to work at something until you achieve excellence.

2. Managing impulsivity
Sometimes we blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Sometimes we lack an organized strategy for approaching a problem; sometimes we make immediate value judgments about an idea before fully understanding it.
Delay gratification – it is the essence of emotional self regulation Danial Goleman

3. Listening to others with understanding and empathy
Sometimes we ridicule or put down the ideas of others in a group situation. Interrupting when someone is talking shows a lack of respect for that person’s idea. Devote your mental energy to another and invest in your partner’s ideas. Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening.

4. Thinking flexibly
Can you consider alternate ideas? Can you deal with more than one solution simultaneously? Is YOUR way of solving something the ONLY way?
If you never change your mind, why have one? De Bono

5. Thinking about our thinking (metacognition)
It is important to think about your own learning strategies and to evaluate their effectiveness. Can you explain your own learning strategies? If you were asked “Tell us what went on in your head to come up with that conclusion? Would you say, “ I don’t know I just did it”?

6. Striving for accuracy and precision
Do you turn in sloppy or incomplete work? Are you more anxious to get rid of the assignment than to check it for accuracy and precision?
A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake Confucius

7. Questioning and posing problems
Do you know that questions vary in complexity? Can you use questions as a strategy to search and find solutions? Can you use questions in science to pose problems that can be solved experimentally?
The formulation of a problem is often more essential that its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill Einstein

8. Applying past knowledge to new situations
Often students approach each task as if it were for the very first time. Its like each experience is independent, has no relationship to what has come before or what comes after. Psychologists call this an “episodic grasp of reality” (Feuerstein 1980)
I’ve never made a mistake. I’ve only learned from past experience. Thomas Edison

9. Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
Sometimes we use language that is vague and imprecise. We use words like “nice” or “ok”. In science, words must be used precisely to describe observations since subtle differences can lead to vastly different conclusions.
I do not so easily think in words. After being hard at work, having arrived at results that are perfectly clear, I have to translate my thoughts in a language that does not run evenly with them. Francis Galton

10. Gathering data through all senses
Use all your senses, stay alive, participate fully, get your hands dirty, experience it all. Don’t hold back.

11. Creating, imagining and innovating
Have you ever said “I can’t draw” or “ I was never any good at math” or “I can’t sing”? It doesn’t matter. You can still create and innovate – find a way.
The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination. John Schaar

12. Responding with wonderment and awe
Some people are “turned off” to learning. They make statements like “ When am I ever going to use this stuff” or “Why do I have to think so much” or “Does this count for a grade”. Learning can be exciting and fulfilling, if you approach it with wonderment and awe.
The most beautiful experience in the world is the experience of the mysterious. Albert Einstein

13. Taking responsible risks
Some people are very reluctant to take risks. Fear of failure is far greater than the experience of the adventure. There is a voice in their head saying, “ If I don’t try, then I cant fail”. These people are more interested in knowing if their answer is right than in the process of finding the answer
There has been a calculated risk in every stage of American development – the pioneers who were not afraid of the wilderness, business man who were not afraid of failure, dreamers who were not afraid of action Brooks Atkinson

14. Finding humor
This is not finding humor in human difference or fallibility but perhaps more the ability to laugh at ourselves, and our own frailty. Think about how you cope when you get an answer wrong in class. Are you able to pick yourself up after a bad grade and deal with it reasonably?

15. Thinking interdependently
Some people have underdeveloped social skill and struggle to work in groups. They seem unable to contribute fully in group situations and either let someone else do all the work or they hog all the work. To work in a group, you have to be willing and open to feedback, you have to be willing to learn and grow and you have to willing to give up an idea and work with someone else’s. Take care of each other. Share your energies with the group.
No one must feel alone, cut off, for that is when you do not make it. Willie Unsoeld, Mountain climber

16. Learning continuously
This requires humility. You must have the humility to know that you don’t know everything and you cannot be afraid to find out. When you talk with people, if you are humble enough to learn, there is always something to learn.
Insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results Albert Einstein