Benchmark Descriptors: Habits of Mind and Heart
Habits of Mind and Heart
The school should focus on helping young people learn to use their minds well. Habits of mind and heart are ways that a school can articulate the thinking and emotional dispositions that students need, allowing it to focus its resources. Consequently, schools should not be “comprehensive” if such a claim is made at the expense of the school’s central intellectual purpose. Habits of mind are a set of thinking dispositions that help people develop their critical and creative thinking skills. They are the characteristics of what intelligent people do about problems whose resolution is not immediately apparent. That is, these are the mental habits individuals can develop to render their thinking and learning more self-regulated. The habits of mind are not designed to be thinking tools, rather they are designed to be dispositions adopted when using a thinking tool. Habits of heart are a collection of emotional dispositions designed to help people develop their social-emotional intelligence. Habits of heart help people care for, identify with, and honor others, and respect the emotions and rights of others and how they see the world. The phrase also describes an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage one’s own emotions and those of other individuals and groups.
Transforming: Student thinking and work reflects HOMH.
- Students intentionally frame their work and projects with and can articulate the benefits of shaping their work with HOMH.
- Student work and discussions (formal and informal) reflect an understanding of HOMH and provide specific examples of how a focus on HOMH has supported academic achievement and personal growth.
- Student and teacher problem solving reflects HOMH, and both transparently use HOMH language in discussion.
- Teacher planning consistently reflects HOMH components —for units and individual lessons. Rubrics for summative assessments use the HOMH as a framework to track student learning and analytical skill development.
- Assignments consistently give students experience with practicing or applying an individual habit or a combination of habits.
- Evidence of HOMH is reflected in displayed student work and footprints around the building.
Developing: Teacher work reflects a focus on embedding HOMH into student work.
- Instruction and project planning reflect HOMH components, including a metacognitive component:
- Units guided by an essential question requiring comprehensive understanding of a topic .
- Student interest and topic significance is the driving force of inquiry.
- Emphasis is placed on uncovering evidence to support a particular point of view, rather than the memorization of facts linked to a topic.
- Connections are made between content within a discipline and in related disciplines (requiring co-planning or interdisciplinary units).
- Reflection on personal development as a learner is included in student experience.
- Assignments incorporate HOMH consistently, and assessment rubrics are guided by the habits.
- HOMH footprints are clearly visible throughout the building.
- Teachers and students use HOMH language during lessons.
Early: Planning has extended from leadership to teachers.
- Staff development has occurred or been planned around HOMH.
- A visible focus on HOMH is evident around the building. Some teachers are actively using the principles in a particular unit, lesson, or assignment to test and collect data on their effectiveness for student learning.
- There is recognition by teachers that student interest is linked to motivation, understanding, and development. Teachers begin to weave student choice and interest into lessons by attempting to demonstrate significance and relevance of topics.
- Teachers purposefully choose units that have opportunities for a deeper study of the content. Lessons and assignments begin to focus on understanding the interconnectedness of ideas, rather than fact memorization.
- Teachers are beginning to design assessments that target specific thinking skills (perhaps using Bloom’s Taxonomy to craft higher-order thinking questions).
Habits of the Graduate Excerpt from the BAA 2004-2005 handbook that describes an important creative habit students develop across the curriculum at BAA.
Habits of Learning These habits of learning are used as concepts in curriculum and assessment in order to help students learn essential skills.