What does "Habit" mean?
A few weeks ago I took a close look at the definition of the Habits of Mind. I teased it apart with an educational audience in mind. That got me wondering about how we define the Habits of Mind for children and the general public. When we talk about "Habits of Mind", what ideas do most people bring to mind?
For example, one of my students, Billy, talks about the Habits of Mind being "what famous and successful people do" and goes on to say "so if I do this, I can be successful too". I've always believed Billy showed a great deal of insight and understanding about the Habits of Mind and felt that he had "got" the Habits of Mind. Now I'm not so sure.
Now I wonder if Billy sees the Habits of Mind as something static, or something you develop and get better at? Does Billy see the Habits as something that successful people "do", and therefor he has to start doing? Or does he see them as something that successful people do well, and therefor as something he does but has to get better at?
This distinction isn't a trivial one. The first reflects a fixed mindset and creates a greatness gap. The second captures a growth mindset and gives Billy a chance to take control of his success and to grow and improve to become increasingly able to succeed.
Titles by James Anderson:
Succeeding with Habits of Mind (HB6224)
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