Habits of Mind

The Habits of Mind are a set of thinking dispositions at the core of social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors. They are displayed by intelligent people in response to problems, dilemmas, and enigmas. The Habits of Mind were developed by Dr. Arthur L. Costa and Dr. Bena Kallick, co-founders of the Institute for Habits of Mind. The Institute's mission is to transform schools into learning communities where thinking and Habits of Mind are taught, practiced, valued, and infused into the culture. Based on research into and descriptions of the characteristics of effective thinkers and high performers, the framework focuses on the patterns of thought and behavior individuals must draw upon in order to effectively navigate complex and uncertain situations.

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Habits of Mindpersistingmanaging impulsivitylistening to others with…thinking flexiblythinking about our…striving for accuracy and…questioning and positing…applying past knowledge to…thinking and communicating…gathering data through all…creating, imagining, and…responding with wonderment…taking responsible risksfinding humorthinking interdependentlylearning continuously

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Acknowledges that there are multiple ways in which humans display intelligence and the 16 Habits of Mind listed in the framework are not intended to be exhaustive
  • Describes a variety of individual factors (skills, attitudes, sensitivity to contextual cues, past experiences, and preferences) to which Habits of Mind are sensitive
  • Notes that Habits of Mind can be used across multiple contexts and settings, including school, home, community, work; and athletic, religious, military, and government organizations

Developmental Perspective

  • Notes that habits are rarely used in isolation, but are typically deployed together in clusters
  • Describes Habits of Mind as situational and transitory; they are rarely fully attained but are dispositions toward which individuals can constantly aspire
  • Outlines the way in which the habits move from being teacher-directed to student self-directed as students learn, develop, and strengthen them
  • No learning progression provided

Associated Outcomes

  • Notes that Habits of Mind are essential to effective learning, successful relationships, productive workplaces, and lasting democracies, but does not cite evidence linking competencies to specific outcomes
  • Research on Habits of Mind book describes the positive effects of Habits of Mind on students and school staff

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • Various books describe the Habits of Mind and how to integrate them into school and district culture via curriculum development, school leadership, and staff development
  • Resources to help teachers incorporate Habits of Mind into their teaching and classroom, including lesson planning tools, teaching tips, book lists, classroom posters, school discipline resources, and more
  • Habits of Mind blog posts, including a series specifically for adolescents
  • Certified Habits of Mind affiliates may also offer additional resources and professional development opportunities
  • Provides online learning for educators

Programs & Strategies

  • Sells various books and curricula designed to develop Habits of Mind in adults and students of all ages, including 16 instructional animations (one for each habit) that come with an associated curriculum
  • Outlines specific tips and strategies for building strong Habits of Mind in students in Mindful Reminders packet
  • Provides examples of tools and strategies being used to integrate Habits of Mind into schools and classrooms
  • Certifies professional developers and schools to build Habits of Mind

Measurement Tools

  • Provides crowd-sourced PreK-12 assessment tools, including student assessment rubrics and self-assessment checklists

Key Publications

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