College Information

General College information for parents, students and staff.

Habits of Mind

What are “habits of mind”? [edit]

A Habit of Mind is knowing how to behave intelligently when you DON’T know the answer. A Habit of Mind means having a mind-set toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known.

Employing Habits of Mind requires drawing forth certain patterns of intellectual behavior that produce powerful results. They are a composite of many skills, attitudes and tendencies including:

  • Value: Choosing to employ a pattern of intellectual behaviors rather than other, less productive patterns.
  • Inclination: Feeling the tendency toward employing a pattern of intellectual behaviors.
  • Sensitivity: Perceiving opportunities for, and appropriateness of employing the pattern of behavior.
  • Capability: Possessing the basic skills and capacities to carry through with the behaviors.
  • Commitment: Constantly striving to reflect on and improve performance of the pattern of intellectual behavior.

The 16 Habits of Mind that help with learning that have been identified by Costa and Kallick include:

  1. Persisting
  2. Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
  3. Managing impulsivity
  4. Gathering data through all senses
  5. Listening with understanding and empathy
  6. Creating, imagining, innovating
  7. Thinking flexibly
  8. Responding with wonderment and awe
  9. Thinking about thinking (metacognition)
  10. Taking responsible risks
  11. Striving for accuracy
  12. Finding humor
  13. Questioning and posing problems
  14. Thinking interdependently
  15. Applying past knowledge to new situations
  16. Remaining open to continuous learning

All learners are encouraged to reflect on and develop these in their studies and wider life.


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"All materials in the Web site not specifically identified as being reprinted or secured from other sources are Copyright © 2000-2001 by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick. Permission to download and make copies for classroom or community use is granted. Reproducing or distributing any material from this Web site for commercial use, however, must have written permission from the authors."