learn how to cultivate the dispositions
they will need to persist and succeed
in all subject areas. We have identified
16 such dispositions, which we’ve
called habits of mind, or “the attributes
that human beings display when they
behave intelligently” (Costa & Kallick,
2008, p. 15):
4 Do your questions
n Thinking and communicating with
clarity and precision.
n Managing impulsivity.
n Gathering data through all senses.
n Listening with understanding and
n Creating, imagining, and
n Thinking flexibly.
n Responding with wonderment and
n Thinking about thinking
n Taking responsible risks.
n Striving for accuracy.
n Finding humor.
n Questioning and posing problems.
n Thinking interdependently.
n Applying past knowledge to new
n Remaining open to continuous
When they’re designing and posing
questions, teachers have the oppor-
tunity to not only lead students to
deeper understanding of subject
matter but also help them develop
specific habits of mind. Here are a few
n To help students learn to think
flexibly, ask open questions that have
multiple answers, such as “What
might be some alternatives?” and
“What hunches do you have in mind
that might explain . . . ?”
n To help students develop persis-
tence, ask, “As you read, what do you
do when your mind wanders but you
want to remain on task?”
n To encourage students to respond
with wonderment and awe, ask, “As you
reflect on our field trip, what intrigued
you so much that you’ll continue won-
dering about it?”
“We do not learn from experience. . . .
We learn from reflecting on experience.”
Reflection is more complex than
simply remembering. Reflection means
not only drawing on and distilling past
knowledge, but also applying or trans-
ferring that knowledge to new situa-
tions. Therefore, encouraging students
to be reflective is an essential part of
helping them become metacognitive
thinkers and learners. Consider the
power of such questions as these:
n Considering what you’ve dis-
covered about your learning style,
what might you do when you find
yourself in an incompatible learning
n What metacognitive strategies
did you use to manage and monitor
your listening skills as you worked in
n How did striving for accuracy and
precision improve your product?
n In what other classes would it be
important to be accurate and precise?
n How did thinking interdepen-
dently help you accomplish your task?
n In what other situations beyond
school would you need to think
n While you were reading, what
was going on inside your head? How
were you able to monitor your under-
standing of the story?
n As you talked to yourself about
this problem, what new insights did
n When your group got stuck,
how did you react? How did your
awareness of your reaction help you
reach a resolution?
n How did your group decide to
Notice that all these questions invite
students to examine and take charge
of their own thinking processes—their
problem solving, decision making, and
creative thinking. By using such questions frequently, teachers can lead students to internalize the habits of mind
and consciously apply them to all their
5 Do you pose long-range
Students in a focus group commented
on how the questions they experienced