Habits of Mind for Student Success


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Students who are successful have more than just academic knowledge. They have certain habits of mind that allow them to manage stress, build endurance and handle academic and emotional set-backs.

Learn six habits of mind that can be targeted for improvement and have a significant impact on student success, and explore classroom strategies to bring each one to life:

Persisting towards solutions
Working with precision
Asking questions
Working with others
Making connections
Monitoring progress and embracing learning

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Habits of Mind for Student Success

  2. 2. What is Character? 2
  3. 3. Help Where Help is Needed 3 An academic intervention program must provide explicit and systematic re-teaching of core skills. But skills gaps are NOT the only thing holding students back… Academic Struggle
  4. 4. Help Where Help is Needed Academic Struggle 4
  5. 5. Help Where Help is Needed “Pure IQ is stubbornly resistant to improvement after about age eight. But executive functions and the ability to handle stress and manage strong emotions can be improved, sometimes dramatically, well into adolescence and even adulthood.” Paul Tough, How Children Succeed “The part of the brain most affected by early stress is the prefrontal cortex, which is critical to self-regulatory activities of all kinds, both emotional and cognitive. As a result, children who grow up in stressful environments generally find it harder to concentrate, harder to sit still, harder to rebound from disappointment, and harder to follow directions.” Paul Tough, How Children Succeed 5 Academic Struggle
  6. 6. Help Where Help is Needed “A psychologist at Stanford named Carol Dweck has discovered a remarkable thing…students do much better academically if they believe intelligence is malleable….She has shown that students’ mindsets predict their academic trajectories.” Paul Tough, How Children Succeed “Dweck and others have shown that with the right kind of intervention, students can be switched from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, and their academic results tend to rise as a result.” Paul Tough, How Children Succeed 6 Academic Struggle
  7. 7. Help Where Help is Needed “The students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP. Instead, they seemed to be the ones who possessed certain other gifts, skills like optimism and resilience and social agility. They were the students who were able to recover from bad grades and resolve to do better next time.” Paul Tough, How Children Succeed “For young people without the benefit of a lot of family resources, without the kind of safety net that their wealthier peers enjoyed, these characteristics proved to be an indispensable part of making it to college graduation day.” Paul Tough, How Children Succeed 7 Academic Struggle
  8. 8. The Importance of Character  Research has shown that certain character traits are as important to a student’s success in school and beyond—if not more important—than academic skills and content. 8
  9. 9. Performance Character  The character traits identified by researchers as having profound effect on student success are not moral or ethical traits or values, but performance- related traits and values.  It’s all about how students think about and interact with their work… 9
  10. 10. What Have You Seen? 10
  11. 11. Performance Character Traits  Persisting towards solutions  Working with precision  Asking questions  Working with others  Making connections  Monitoring progress and embracing learning 11
  12. 12. Developing and encouraging grit, perseverance, and resilience can have enormous benefits in every aspect of a child’s life. Persisting Towards Solutions • Try to find places where you can give students chances to keep working on papers, projects, and even tests, so that “getting it right the first time” isn’t the only value being taught. 12
  13. 13. How Do You Teach It? 13
  14. 14. Whatever subject you teach, students should be encouraged and rewarded for close attention, careful work, attention to detail, and an insistence on excellence. Working with Precision • Giving students the chance to keep improving on work for a better score rewards precision and attention to detail. • As long as students can keep making their work better, there’s no need to display student work that has errors or is less than exemplary. 14
  15. 15. How Do You Teach It? 15
  16. 16. Do we reward our students for sitting still, remaining quiet, and simply receiving what we deliver? Or are we modeling the importance of having a restless, active, inquiring mind that wants to—needs to—know more? Asking Questions • Use “think-alouds” to model active reading and active problem-solving. Help demonstrate what active questioning looks, sounds, and feels like throughout the day. 16
  17. 17. How Do You Teach It? 17
  18. 18. Few jobs require or reward isolation, secrecy, or “eyes on your own paper.” In fact, being able to work effectively with other people, in the same room or across the world, is increasingly important. Are we teaching these skills? Working with Others • Don’t just provide opportunities for group work. Use rubrics and sample student work to model what effective collaboration really looks like. 18
  19. 19. How Do You Teach It? 19
  20. 20. If we are not explicitly helping students connect their learning to other subjects and other contexts, nothing we teach them will seem relevant or be of much use to them once they leave our classrooms. Making Connections • Look for opportunities to change formats, perspectives, and genres to help students stretch their understanding and make generalizations. 20
  21. 21. How Do You Teach It? 21
  22. 22. Is school something our students actively do? Or is it simply something that happens to them? We need to help students take ownership of their learning and track, monitor, and evaluate their progress and success. Monitoring Progress / Embracing Learning • Give students opportunities and tools to track and evaluate their work and their progress, both within projects and across the school year. 22
  23. 23. How Do You Teach It? 23
  24. 24. Help Where Help is Needed Academic Success 24
  25. 25. Useful Resources 25
  26. 26. And Don’t Forget… 26 Download Our Free eBook!