What are Habits of Mind?
Habits of Mind are a set of thinking
tools and strategies that are used by people who are found to behave
intelligently. Asking the question, “What behaviors indicate a fast
and effective thinker?” a man named Art Costa, set out on a quest to identify
the characteristics of those who are good problem solvers. First
developing a list of 12 attributes in 1991, the list has now grown to include 16
Habits of Mind. This list will continue to grow as more attributes are
The South Lyon School District actively uses the Habits of Mind in the
classrooms to encourage students to not just reproduce knowledge they learn, but
to produce it. The strategies assist students in developing a critical
stance to looking at their assignments and teach students that they can not only
have the information, they can act on it and apply the knowledge in new ways.
The purpose of Habits of Mind is to get students in the habit of behaving
intelligently. To instill thinking patterns that will allow them to
creatively and effectively solve problems both in and outside of the classroom
that will lead to productive outcomes.
The Habits of Mind are powerful tools that families can actively use at home
to continue the learning process. This area of the website will give links
to resources both on and off the Internet that can assist with developing Habits
of Mind. As a family, you can encourage the use of these thinking tools by
encouraging your child to think independently and critically and by encouraging
them to employ Habits of Mind on a daily basis.
Interested in learning more about the Habits of Mind? These are
resources you may find helpful to explore the topic further.
Teaching children persistence is important as they are bound to face
obstacles that are challenging throughout their lives. A child who is
persistent is one who sees a task through completion, remains focused, looks for
alternative ways to meet goals when stuck, and sticks with things without giving
up easily. To learn more about teaching children persistence, check out
Learning to Manage Impulsivity
Teaching children to manage impulsivity means helping them to learn to take
their time and think before acting. The focus of this Habit of Mind
is to encourage children to learn to remain calm and thoughtful. To
learn more about teaching children to manage their impulsivity, please review
Teaching Your Child to Listen
Teaching children to listen with understanding and empathy is an important
Habit of Mind. It encourages children to understand others and to make a
strong effort to perceive another person’s point of view and/or emotions.
This is not only a skill that will help them to think critically, but also to
develop social skills and compassion.
Learning to Check Work for Accuracy
Teaching children to strive for accuracy means encouraging them to check
their work again and again. Children are encouraged to always do their
best, to set high standards for themselves and to find ways that they can
constantly improve. For more information on this Habit of Mind, check out
Thinking Flexibly and Creatively
Thinking flexibly and creatively involves looking at things another way.
This Habit of Mind encourages children to change their perspectives, think of
alternatives to problems and consider several options. For further
information on developing this Habit of Mind, please see these resources.
Learning to Use all the Senses
Gathering data by using all the senses encourages students to learn to pay
attention to the world around them. Using their sense of taste, touch,
smell, hearing and sight can offer new perspectives for solving problems and can
lead to the development of new knowledge. For more information, please see
This Habit of Mind encourages children to have a questioning attitude.
Children are encouraged to know what data is needed and develop questioning
strategies to produce those data. They take an interest in learning and
are constantly finding problems to solve. For further information on this
Habit of Mind, please review these resources.
Meta-cognition means thinking about your own thinking. This Habit of
Mind encourages children to beware of their own thoughts, strategies, feelings
and actions and how their thoughts influence others. For more information
on how you can help develop your child’s meta-cognition, please see these
Precision of Language and Thought
This Habit of Mind encourages children to be clear and to strive for accurate
communication, both written and oral. It helps to promote communication
that is not over generalized, distorted and overly exaggerated. Please see
the resources below for further information on teaching precision of language
Using Appropriate Humor
Using appropriate humor means being able to laugh at oneself and knowing not
to laugh at others. This Habit of Mind encourages children to find the
unexpected delights in day to day living. For further information on this
Habit of Mind, please check out the resources below.
**More Habits of Mind will be included and more resources added on the Habits
of Mind for families to access as this resource page is worked on**