Whilst learning your brain absorbs information like a big pink sponge; It is said that if you are in the right frame of mind, learning becomes simple and you gain information with ease. If your stressed, tired or just not up for it, your brain almost repels information making it very difficult to learn anything at all. Everyone who studies have different approaches to their own style of learning, some being better than others. Habits of mind is a learning framework that has been praised as being the next step in learning, its unique technique allows students to learn at their own pace as well as enjoying the stress free atmosphere that occurs when studying. Although not considered as an official learning technique, habits of mind will soon underpin most academic styles of learning.
2.0 Literature Review
Habits of mind is a concept that has been around since the time of Aristotle, Socrates and many other ancient philosophers. Although not called Habits of mind at the time, these men established that learning can be broken down to fundamental processes of thought. A simple process would be the way we interpret the world around us; the sun burns us, so we don’t stay outside for too long, sharp edges slice our skin, so we avoid touching them. It’s the smallest pieces of stimulus that drive our existence, and it is our habits of mind that control our actions in response to these stimuli. However it is not our actions that habits of mind could have the greatest impact on, it is our capacity to learn. The following is a review of the article, “Theorising habits of mind as a framework for learning” (John Campbell). It includes detailed comparisons and variations of past and present information regarding habits of mind, to a number of different learning frameworks and concludes habits of mind as being an appropriate technique suitable for all types of learning development.
Brain researchers have found direct links between habits of mind and the brain itself, discovering similarities in the processes of the brain and the techniques used in habits of mind. One of these is the storage and recollection of data within our brain. Our brain will store new data every time we experience something, the more we experience something, the faster we can retrieve information on what we are experiencing. Habits of mind has basically the same process, as we gather data through all our senses we use this data to formulate opinions, theories, conclusions Etc. With our brain in direct link to habits of mind, it seems almost foolish that we view habits of mind as being anything but a positive framework for learning development. In the past, the development of theories, processes, hypothesis’ that have eventually lead to what we call habits of mind, have all in their own specific way, underpinned habits of mind and continue to support it as more and more people recognise the techniques associated with it.
With its popularity steadily increasing, the number of teachers that incorporate it into their daily teachings is growing exponentially. However due to the fact that it is not yet recognised as a successful framework for learning by the academic community, this is being seen as a step back from traditional learning techniques. If habits of mind does become the new learning framework for the future generation, then how will these people benefit from its unique approach to learning? Students that use the habits of mind learning framework have benefited from a many number of different things, and due to the nature of the learning, the knowledge learned through habits of mind seems to “stick” more than traditional learning techniques.
Being a student can be very stressful, especially if you’re younger dealing with the constant distraction of a social life that has been put aside for the benefit of your education. Well, habits of mind eliminates this distraction by implementing it into your study life in small amounts. You won’t be studying in dream world, or wet ‘n’ wild, but maybe at the beach or at the park. Small changes to your environment can make dramatic impacts to your stress levels while you study, some people could even learn to enjoy studying. The article in question dove into habits of mind and presented all the facts and figures necessary to consider habits of mind as a successful learning framework for the future generation of learning. It went into specific detail and outlined its good and bad points allowing the reader to make their own opinion on the subject, which is good because everyone is different and everyone has their own opinions of studying.
In order to collect some useful primary information in regards to learning styles I have devised a questionnaire that outlines a person’s learning style as well as identifies whether or not they would benefit from the habits of mind framework. The following questionnaire is set for a younger audience (university Students) and is designed to identify a students learning style, attitude towards learning and from there we can determine if habits of mind can benefit them personally.
Q1) when are faced with a problem, you:
a) Use a hands on approach to solve the problem
b) Think about the problem and devise a solution
c) Ask others for help, then solve the problem together
Q2) someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, after quickly hesitating you:
a) Answer their question to the best of your knowledge
b) Change the subject
Q3) what helps you study more?
b) Repetitive writing
Q4) the hardest thing a about studying is:
A) The workload
B) It bores you
C) How long it takes
Q5) the perfect day for YOU includes:
a) A sunny day at the beach
b) A relaxing day in the shade
c) A rainy, cosy day indoors
Q6) do you enjoy learning?
c) Depends on what I am learning
Q7) a fight is occurring between your friend and a stranger, you: a) Approach them both calmly and try to resolve the situation
b) Kick the other guy in the face, chuck Norris style.
c) Stand and watch, without intervening.
Q8) you frequently take breaks when studying because:
a) Learning is boring, so you eventually get tired and need breaks
b) To keep your mind active
c) Because you straight-up couldn’t be arsed
Q9) do you have your own study area?
c) Study area?
Q10) Read through the previous questions, what do you think this questionnaire was really about? A) How to think
B) How to study
C) How you study
D) How you think
Each of the previous questions was selected in order to fully understand how each person who took the questionnaire thinks. The following is a breakdown of each question, and what they were really asking you. Question one was a very basic learning styles question, it simply identifies if you are a cognitive, visual or auditory learner. Question two identifies how you react to problems under pressure and identifies your minds response time, in regards to withdrawing appropriate information. Question three is another basic learning styles question, again it identifies if you are a cognitive, visual or auditory learner. Question four is a probing question; it recognises what you hate most about studying.
Question five is another probing question and relates directly to question four. After being “setup” by question four asking you the hardest part about studying, it presents the option of combining your perfect day with studying, in order to make things easier. Question six gets the person to realise whether or not they actually like studying, it also begs the question, why not? Question seven is another probing question, it focuses on the strain of stressful situations and how one reacts accordingly, whether it be kicking your problem in the face, or breaking the problem into smaller more manageable pieces.
Question eight identifies your approach to learning, are you persistent? Or are you slack? Question nine quickly assesses the person’s current learning environment. Question ten is a probing question, it shows if the student was taking the test seriously and makes them think long and hard about the questions themselves, helps them to justify their answers as well as make corrections after grasping a deeper understanding of the questions.
4.0 Analysis and Discussion
Habits of mind is a concrete system of learning that incorporates learning into everyday life, it helps us to face each day with the necessary knowledge and confidence in order to excel. The most effortless of tasks as well as the mentally and physical demanding obstacles of the day become a breeze, due to the simplicity habits of mind presents to all of us.
Habits of mind will change learning in the future, that much is true, but will it change our perspective of learning? Yes, I believe that habits of mind will eventually be adopted by the academic community all over the world, eventually becoming the base of our learning process. This extremely reliable learning framework is easy to use, easy to master and makes learning enjoyable, if you let it. It’s the combination of hundreds of years of learning techniques combined into one unyielding process of learning that everyone can understand. I believe that with the appropriate application of habits of mind within students of a younger age, habits of mind will eventually become the world’s main knowledge development method.
I only have three recommendations, mainly because people don’t actually use them, they just read them agree with them and forget about them. So instead of going into detail I have selected the three most relevant recommendations that I believe will help you to study successfully.
* Evaluate your study methods, see what needs improving and find ways to make it easier, more enjoyable.
* Try. Try to study harder and for longer. Try to enjoy yourself. Play some music, go outside and study.
* Incorporate habits of mind into your learning process, it can become a very useful tool benefiting you for life.
Courtney from Study Moose
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