Habits of Mind Essay

August 31, 2022

A Habit of Mind is having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when faced with dichotomies, dilemmas, and uncertainties whose answers are not immediately known.

The study of the Habit of Mind entails a unique ability to utilize childhood intelligence to learn related behaviors, which help explain variations in the achievement of results. If a study is conducted on pupils, a grade variance will be explained primarily by learning behaviors, while achievement test score variance will be explained by intelligence. Though descriptive terms may remain consistent after control, for demographic and behavioral variation, the variance is explained by learning behavior, intelligence, and their interaction which exceeds the contribution.

Developing children’s emotional intelligence helps develop suitable environments and reduces the number of children at risk of disaffection. Pupils who score high in emotional intelligence rarely have difficulties at school, unlike pupils who score lower in emotional intelligence since the latter are likely to have received period exclusion, are internally excluded, or are taking unauthorized absences from school.

We become self-directed and self-aware learners in our academic and professional life by changing our thinking modes. Explicit instruction in thinking and learning skills receives little attention in schools. It is much easier to improve instructional results in a new or forgotten arena than to achieve significant improvement in instructional methods that underwent decades of evolutionary improvement by trial and error.

There is little evidence of any widespread implementation of thinking skills programs at an educational system-wide level. Some approaches involve the use of published teaching thinking materials, while others involve strategies to be used with existing materials and direct teaching of thinking strategies. Other strategies involve stimulating students to develop their thinking skills through engaging in activities like rational discussions. Another strategy involves teaching thinking as a separate activity or teaching thinking through academic disciplines.

Issues that need to be considered when researching the teaching of thinking include the following: –

  1. Appropriate performance measures in this area. A wide range of measures is used across different studies. Hence it becomes hard to compare. They wonder to what extent attempts to teach thinking are restrained by the available tests; the test may also be inaccurate. Some skills acquired may differ from those set out in program objectives. Evaluations should include some general knowledge or skill component.
  2. One needs information that focuses on generalizing and how lasting the effects are, hence the need to assess outside boundaries over substantial periods. The difference between long-term and short-term effects due to changes in motivation and response is set.
  3. Teacher effects are confounded with treatment effects. With larger samples, monitoring treatment effects is very difficult. Detailed descriptions of differences between teachers and treatments need to be given.
  4. The state of theory relating to intellectual competence is still too unrefined to justify giving great weight to the underlying theory in assessing programs.
  5. Wishful thinking distorts casual observation when there may be difficulties with formal evaluation attempts.
  6. Inclusion in programs of tasks that are very similar to the criterion tests is a problem. There can be an influence due to student awareness of required responses or greater persistence.
  7. Quality teaching is a necessity. Teachers are treated as volunteers. There can be some problems with providing appropriate control for group treatments.
  8. There is a range of problems with statistical analysis, like the use of individual scores rather than classroom means as a unit of analysis; the use of several varieties of analysis rather than a single multivariate analysis; and focusing on statistical importance to the exclusion of consideration of practical significance through studying and the magnitude of differences.
  9. Analyzing programs’ goals is also vital to know whether they have any real worth in broader contexts. A program does what it claims to do, and it does not make the program a worthwhile program.
  10. There is a tendency towards premature closure. Inappropriate measurement or noisiness may contribute to a failure to find a difference between experimental and control groups. It does not necessarily demonstrate that no difference exists.

Professional thinking is an active personal process that is a dialogue between the inner self and the outside social context that enriches the self and enhances human action.

Indicators of growth in thinking abilities include;


Persistence refers to persevering when the solution to a problem is not apparent. Students give up in despair when the answer to a problem is not known. They say, ‘I cannot do this. It is too hard for me,’ or they write down any answer to quickly and easily complete the task. They don’t take the time to analyze the problem in detail and develop a systematic problem attack.

Students should develop systematic methods of analyzing a problem, knowing how to start the problem, the steps that should be performed, and the information that needs to be given and collected.

Decreasing impulsiveness

Students should choose the first answer that comes to mind rather than considering choices. As students become less impulsive, we identify them by clarifying goals, planning and exploring an alternative to problem-solving strategies, and considering the consequences of actions before they begin.

Listening to others – with understanding and empathy

Psychologists believe that the ability to listen to others, empathize with them, and understand their points of view is one of the highest forms of intelligent behavior portrayed.

Flexibility in thinking

Some students cannot consider alternative points of view or deal with several sources of information simultaneously. They want to know whether their answer is correct rather than being challenged by finding an answer.

Metacognition: i.e., awareness of our thinking

Determination of whether students are aware of their thinking is observed if they can describe what is going on in their head when they think in a way that, if asked, they can describe what they know and what they need to know. Students should be able to describe their plan of action before they begin to solve a problem.

Checking for accuracy and precision

Students are careless when turning in their completed work. The speed of getting the assignment surpasses their desire for craftsmanship.

Questioning and problem posing

The difference between humans and other life forms is our inclination and ability to find and solve problems.

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Nicholas, A, et al. (2000) Habits of Mind. IUniverse Publishers

Evans, R, (1995) Habits of Mind. Bucknell University Publishers

Allen, C, (2003) Habits of Mind: Fostering Excellence in Higher Education. Transaction Publishers

Costa, A, Kallick, B (2008) Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind. ASCD Publishers

Sire, J. (2000) Habits of Mind: Intellectual Minds. Intervarsity Press.

Fine, M (1997) Habits of Mind: Struggling over Values in American Classrooms. Jossey Bass Publishers

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