The Habits of Mind is presented by Art Costa and Bena Kallick based from learning theories and researches. I tried to connect how these habits can be used to help us become self-directed and self-aware learners in our academic and professional lives. These Habits of Mind is a list of 16 habits believed to be exhibited by those people who are successful in their chosen career paths. These describe how intelligent people, think, feel and act when faced with difficult situations. If we try to employ these into our every action and thinking, we too, will continue to learn things that will enable us to succeed.
The paper aims to prove that each of the 16 habits is valuable in making us self-directed and self-aware learners. It discusses how we can invoke each appropriate habit into every situation we can possibly be in. These can’t be learned overnight, but should be part of our way of life. Introduction As we go more mature in our chosen career paths, it is important to be able to rely on ourselves to continue learning. When we were younger, other people, i. e. parents, teachers, etc. are there to guide us.
However, there will come a time when we have to learn how to pick up on ourselves when others can’t continue to teach us. We should become self-directed and self-aware learners in all aspects of our lives. Two theorists, Art Costa and Bena Kallick have presented a framework of thinking and behavior characterized by peak performers which are indicative of their professional successes. These characteristics are not necessarily found in rocket scientists only, but also in people in all walks of life, i. e. mechanics, salesmen, parents, teachers who are all successful in what they do.
Costa and Kallick call these as the “Habits of Mind”. The “Habits of Mind” is a list consisting of 16 characteristics of how intelligent people behave when confronted by problems with solutions that are not apparent. Costa and Kallick do not, however, limit the Habits of Mind into just 16 characteristics. We are all welcome to add more. It is believed that it is during the most difficult and confusing times when human beings can really show their intelligence. Habits of Mind can be best employed by always asking ourselves, “What is the most intelligent thing that can be done here? ”
Analysis and Discussion I believe Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind are useful to make us self-directed and self-aware learners, especially in both our academic and professional lives. To be capable of learning involves intelligence, but to be able to identify what we need to know and teach ourselves these, would require much more. Being a student doesn’t mean we always have to wait for whatever lesson is provided by our instructors. We need to be able to do some researches on our own on the topics that interest us, or on those that we find helpful in understanding our current lessons.
In the workplace, employers value employees who can think out of the box. Most problems encountered don’t have solutions which can be found off the bookshelves. We have to be flexible and creative enough to recognize what needs to be done to address these problems. Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind are great guidelines on how we become self-directed and self-aware learners. 1. Persisting – We have to be persistent enough to be able to get what we want. Those who give up, even at the first sight of difficulty, won’t be able to learn much. 2.
Managing Impulsivity – Impulsive actions more often beget regrets. True, we learn when we make mistakes, but intelligent people don’t rely on making mistakes to learn. We need to be able to preempt failures by deliberating before doing anything which may prove to be stupid later on. 3. Listening with Understanding and Empathy – Becoming self-aware also involves recognizing how other people see us and considering their perspectives. 4. Thinking Flexibly – Self-directed learning involves taking initiatives. Most of the time, these initiatives require us to take into consideration several changing options.
5. Metacognition or Thinking about your Thinking – In our journey to professional success, it is important for us to be aware of how our thoughts and feelings affect others. 6. Striving for Accuracy – We should not be complacent about learning. To be a self-directed learner, we should always try to find ways to constantly improve ourselves. 7. Questioning and Problem Posing – Being able to develop questions is the first step in learning. In order to find the information we need, we should be able to pose the right questions so to arrive at the right answers. 8.
Applying Past Knowledge – Also critical to our success is the ability to apply the lessons we have learned from different situations in the past to our current condition. 9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision – Communication is an integral part of learning. We should learn to be clear and precise in both our oral and written communications. 10. Gathering Data Through All Our Senses – A lot of information can be absorbed if we just use all our senses. As part of our professional growth, we need to pay attention to every detail around us because we can learn a lot from them.
11. Creating, Imagining and Innovating – We should always see to it that we are not just confined to what has been the norm. Self-directed learning involves generating and trying out new ideas. 12. Responding with Wonderment and Awe – We can learn so much if we see the beauty of solving problems and arriving at solutions. 13. Taking Responsible Risks – We have to be aware of what we are capable of, then living beyond that. 14. Finding Humor – Sometimes it may not be easy to laugh at one’s self. However, we should know that learning has some rough moments, and we better learn to enjoy them, too.
15. Thinking Interdependently – Part of the learning process is to be able to work and think interdependently. Some problems can only be solved as a team. 16. Remaining Open to Continuous Learning – Probably the most important characteristic of an achiever is admitting when he doesn’t know. Acknowledgment that he doesn’t know enough is the first step in learning. Costa and Kallick do not intend to make the above list as the only characteristics of top-performers The point, however, is that these Habits of Mind facilitate our continuous learning.
We have to learn how to see every situation, problem, etc. as an opportunity for learning. When we realize this, whatever good it is that we do which contributed to our learning is definitely one of the characteristics of Habits of Mind. Conclusion Observing the values of Habits of Mind can effectively help us become the self-directed and self-aware learners that we want to be. According to Costa and Kallick, these habits ensure peak performance in every aspect of life. When we are at the academe, we can employ these habits to become better and more receptive students.
These give us the motivation to study and the competence of applying what we have learned in whatever it is that we do. After we land ourselves a job, these habits enable us to still continue learning. Learning doesn’t stop outside of the classrooms, in fact, it is only beginning. We can’t learn in classrooms most of what we actually need to do in our jobs. We learn those at our own pace, in the actual workplace, itself. A self-directed learner sees the workplace as an extension of his university, where he is still required to continue to learn, but this time without the instructor. Recommendations
Mastering the Habits of Mind does not take overnight. This takes time and much effort. We should be consciously applying these habits in our everyday actions. Nobody, however, is expected to focus on all of the above mentioned habits at once. We can just focus on one habit at a time. For example, we can focus on persistence for now. We can reflect on how we have shown our persistence. How did we overcome the problems we’ve encountered? What did we do when our initial plan didn’t work? After our reflections on how we have shown the Habits of Mind, we will know how we can further improve on these.
To be self-directed and self-aware learners in the academe and in our professions, we need to recognize the values of these habits. We can place these Habits of Mind at the center of our journey to continuous learning. In every situation, we have to ask how we can show these values. These were known to be the characteristics of high-performers and really successful people in all their chosen fields. By using these habits, we will acquire more knowledge, which help us thrive well in both our academic and professional lives. Reference List Costa, A. and Kallick, B. (2000) Habits of Mind. A Developmental Series.
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