Guest Blog: Preparing Students for Life by Bena Kallick and Art Costa

Apr 26, 2021

Many educators are more aware than ever that Habits of Mind are essential learning skills for school and for life.  However, too frequently they treat the habits as if they are separate from academic teaching.  We then hear the familiar, “I would love my students to have these habits BUT I don’t have time to teach them.”  And yet, if we are truly preparing students for life, making the time to intentionally embed  practicing skills like listening with understanding and empathy, communicating with clarity and precision, and persistence are non negotiables. Here are 3 tips on how to include some of the habits in your curriculum and lesson design—you don’t need to introduce all of the habits at once.

  • When you are building curriculum around a standard that asks for evidence to support a claim, try adding  an outcome such as: “I can think and communicate with clarity and precision .” This can create a wonderful opportunity to dialogue with students about what effective communication sounds like in practice. 
  • When you state your learning targets for a lesson in which you will expect collaboration, include listening with understanding and empathy. Encourage students to practice self-reflection and social awareness as part of the activity.
  • When designing a reflection prompt after completion of a learning goal, try asking students questions such as—what were some strategies that you used to persist as you worked on this project? How might you use those same strategies when persisting in other areas?

Use this chart to help you consider which Habits of MInd can be introduced as a key component to your instruction and have fun. 

Finally, we often ask this essential question:  “Are we preparing students for a life of tests or for the tests of life”?  Maybe you don’t need to make that choice if you embed the habits in your curriculum design and lesson planning! 

If you are interested in learning more about Edupanet21’s curriculum design platform supported by professional learning for your school or district, contact us. To read more about the Habits of Mind Institute, visit the institute overview page.

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