Posted on 04/11/2013 at 11:56 AM by Global Reach

It Takes Some Getting Used To: Rethinking Curriculum for the 21st Century
Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick, Chapter 13, “Curriculum 21” 2010

“Our students are in the 21st century, and they are waiting for the teachers and the curriculum to catch up.  Changing our mental models about what we teach, how we teach it, and how we assess students’ learning growth will take some getting used to.  Such changes require open-mindedness, flexibility, patience, and courage.  Changing curriculum is about changing your mind first and then forming some new habits and routines as you abandon old ones.  As educators, we are all really futurists because we are trying to prepare students for the present and, at the same time, for a future that does not yet exist.” (pg.211)

“This vision reflects a curriculum of processes that serve as leverage for learning any content.  It is a curriculum that gives students practice engaging with complex problems, dilemmas, and conflicts whose resolutions are not immediately apparent.  And what is most significant about these processes is that they are as significant for adults as they are for students.” (pg. 212)  Costa and Kallick offer 16 Habits of Mind that will be essential to school in school, work and life.  They are:
1.    Persisting: Stick to it!  Persevering in a task through to completion; remaining focused.
2.    Managing impulsivity:  Take your time!  Thinking before acting; remaining calm, thoughtful, and deliberative.
3.    Listening with understanding and empathy:  Understand others!  Devoting mental energy to another person’s thought and ideas; holding in abeyance one’s own thoughts in order to perceive another’s point of view and emotions.
4.    Thinking flexibly:  Look at it another way!  Being able to change perspectives, generate alternatives, consider options.
5.    Thinking about your thinking (metacognition):  Know your knowing!  Being aware of one’s own thoughts, strategies, feelings, and actions and their effects on others.
6.    Striving for accuracy and precision:  Check it again!  A desire for exactness, fidelity, craftsmanship, and truthfulness.
7.    Questioning and problem posing:  How do you know? Having a questioning attitude, know what data are needed and developing questioning strategies to generate information.
8.    Applying past knowledge to novel situations:  Use what you learn!  Accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.
9.    Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision:  Be clear!  Striving for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding overgeneralizations, distortions, and deletions.
10.    Gathering data through all senses:  Use your natural pathways!  Gathering data through all the sensory pathways – gustatory, olfactory, tactile, kinesthetic, auditory, and visual.
11.    Creating, imagining, and innovating:  Try a different way!  Generating new and novel ideas, fluency, originality.
12.    Responding with wonderment and awe:  Have fun figuring it out! Finding the world awesome and mysterious, and being intrigued with phenomena and beauty.
13.    Taking responsible risks: Venture out!  Being adventuresome; living on the edge of one’s competence.
14.    Finding humor:  Laugh a little!  Finding the whimsical, incongruous, and unexpected. Being able to laugh at oneself.
15.    Thinking interdependently: Work together!  Being able to work with and learn from others in reciprocal situations.
16.    Remaining open to continuous learning:  Learn from experiences!  Having humility and pride when admitting we don’t know; resisting complacency.

When we make the students conscious of these behaviors, we are leading them up the staircase to greater capacity for independence with the habits.” (pg. 212, 213)

The list above is pretty long and somewhat overwhelming.  If you could pick 3-5 of these Habits of Mind to infuse into your course content which would they be and how would you assess their mastery in the lives of your students?

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