Monday, January 9, 2012

8 Habits of Mind: # 8 Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations:

8 Habits of Mind

Stick to it!
Persevering in task through to completion; remaining focused.
Managing impulsivity:
Take your time!
Thinking before acting; remaining calm and deliberative.
Listening for understanding and empathy:
Understand Others!
Devoting mental energy to another person's thoughts and ideas; holding in abeyance one's own thoughts in order to perceive another's point of view and emotions.
Thinking Flexibly:
Look at it another way!
Being able to change perspectives, generate alternatives, consider options.
Thinking about your Thinking:  (Metacognition)
Know your knowing!
Being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions (& their effects on others).
Striving for Accuracy and Precision:
Check it again!
A desire for exactness, fidelity and craftsmanship.
Questioning and Problem Posing:
How do you know?
Having a questioning attitude.  Finding problems to solve.
Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations:
Use what you learn!
Accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.


When I began teaching at WRA in the fall of 2005, my department head Tom Davis at the time, fondly called T.D. by faculty and students alike, shared with me these 8 Habits of mind.  Thus, I shared it with my three sections of freshman English at the very beginning of the school year, earnestly lecturing and then returning to it throughout the year.  I shared it for a few years and as life happens, I strayed with new ideas and new openings.  We miss T.D. since he's retired, but his spirit and wisdom lives with us as a department - not to mention hundreds of past students. 

While embracing new technologies, I am going back to basics with the 8 Habits of Mind in 2012 with my sophomores and juniors.  I will also share it with the freshman as a class dean. 

And here's why - an email from a former freshman from that fall of 2005.  

I had received the email a couple years ago, but last Friday during a lively English department meeting, we were talking of TD's 8 Habits of Mind, and I was reminded me of the email and with the power of gmail search, I found it in seconds.  I read it aloud to my colleagues, and I share it with you below:

(I must confess I edited in a few missing apostrophes for contractions and added capitalization which drives me nuts - but otherwise. I changed nothing - the ps included! 
Mr. O'Brien 
I felt inclined to send you an email and make sure you're still alive and well at good ol' Reserve!  I also wanted to let you know a little information you may appreciate.  I don't know if you still do this with your freshman English class, but the first day (or something like it) you imparted the "Eight Habits of Mind" on us.  If I remember correctly, I was probably a jackass poking stifler's afro or rocking in my chair apathetically. But now I find myself at the College of Wooster wishing I'd taken that time a little more seriously.  I am writing a paper on what i have experienced in my life that has contributed to the development of my "literate self".  Long story short, I am choosing to write a portion of it on the Habits of Mind, because even though I was most likely screwing around, I was most definitely listening to that lecture, because I still find it a useful resource, especially in the coming stress's of college! 
Anyways, be safe and keep it real.   
K. E.
ps...I'm doing yoga every week.

As a teacher, and as I get older, there is nothing more inspiring than when a former student reaches out with gratitude and writes - I was listening. 

So I share this with you - and hope you're not only listening, 
but reading this blog, so you can return to these 8 Habits of Mind, again and again.  

No regrets.  Begin again, today.  # 8 Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations: 

Cheers to 2012!

Thank you, T.D. 
Thank you, K.E. 

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