16 Necessary Habits of Mind

Decorative: "Habits of Mind" written beside a human head in profile; the head is filled with five interlocking jigsaw pieces


"16 Habits of Mind Essential for 21st Century Learners" (post) lists "habits of mind our students need to develop ... to guarantee an optimal learning experience ... cognitive processes that work at an analytic level to enhance one's mental and conceptual capacities in analysing and understanding things."

  • "Habitsofmind.org ... provides a wide variety of teaching materials and resources for ... educators."

1. "Persisting"

  • "Stick to it!" 
  • "Persever[e] in task through to completion; remaining focused."
  • "Loo[k] for ways to reach your goal when stuck."
  • Do "[n]ot giv[e] up."

2. "Managing impulsivity"

  • "Take your time!"
  • "Thin[k] before acting."
  • "[R]emai[n] calm, thoughtful, and deliberate."

3. "Listening with understanding and empathy"

  • "Understand others!"
  • "Devot[e] mental energy to another person's thoughts and ideas."
  • "Make an effort to perceive another's point of views and emotions."

4. "Thinking flexibly"

  • "Look at it another way!"
  • "B[e] able to change perspectives, generate alternatives, consider options."

5. "Thinking about your thinking (Metacognition)"

  • "Know your knowing!"
  • "B[e] aware of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings, and actions -- and their effects on others."  

6. "Striving for accuracy

  • Check it again!"
  • "Always d[o] your best."
  • "Se[t] high standards."
  • "Chec[k] and fin[d] ways to improve constantly."

7. "Questioning and problem posting"

  • "How do you know?"
  • "Hav[e] a questioning attitude."
  • "[K]no[w] what data are needed, and develo[p] questioning strategies to produce those data."
  • "Fin[d] problems to solve." 

8. "Applying past knowledge to new situations"

  • "Use what you learn!"
  • "Acces[s] knowledge."
  • "[T]ransfe[r] knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned." 

9. "Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

  • "Be clear!"
  • "Striv[e] for accurate communication in both written and oral form."
  • "[A]voi[d] over-generalizations, distortions, deletions, and exaggerations." 

10. "Gather data through all senses"

  • "Use your natural pathways!"
  • "Pay attention to the world around you."
  • "Gather data through all the senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight." 

11. "Creating, imagining, and innovating"

  • "Try a different way!"
  • "Generat[e] new and novel ideas, fluency, originality."

12. "Responding with wonderment and awe"

  • "Have fun figuring it out!"
  • "Fin[d] the world awesome, mysterious, and b[e] intrigued with phenomena and beauty." 

13. "Taking responsible risks"

  • "Venture out!"
  • "B[e] adventuresome."
  • "[L]iv[e] on the edge of one's competence."
  • "Try new things constantly."

14. "Finding humour"

  • "Laugh a little!"
  • "Fin[d] the whimsical, incongruous, and unexpected."
  • "B[e] able to laugh at oneself."

15. "Thinking interdependently"

  • "Work together!"
  • "B[e] able to work in and learn from others in reciprocal situations."
  • Cultivate "[t]eam work."

16. "Remaining open to continuous learning"

  • "I have so much more to learn!"
  • "Hav[e] humility and pride when admitting we don't know."
  • "[R]esis[t] complacency."
Habits of the Mind Chart: The information from above in chart format.


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