Kallick and Costa's 16 Habits of Mind | Center for Teaching and Learning in Community (2023)

Home Community Classroom Blog Posts Kallick and Costa's 16 Habits of Mind

Welcome back to the series, Ways to Think about Learning, where we explore some of the major philosophies and theories that have shaped current educational practices. In an earlier post, Understanding Kallick and Costa’s 16 Habits of Mind, we reviewed six of the habits. Today, we’ll look at four more.
I love the Habits of Mind because each one is universal in nature — it can be applied to anyone’s life at any time — young or old, student or expert. Each habit also assumes a foundation of Growth Mindset 2 , or the idea that the level of success we’re capable of is not a fixed point stamped on us at birth, but rather a ceiling that we can keep pushing up and up. The Habits can also be a helpful guide in trying times when we need a little bit of structure to get us moving in the right direction.

Transition Time

As Dr. Nicole Galante, Director at CTLC, considers the transition back to the traditional classroom for students of all ages who have been learning in virtual or hybrid environments for quite some time now, she believes:

“We have an opportunity to focus our kids and ourselves on these habits, to prepare them for a world that is uncertain, to prepare them to take responsible risks, to be creative, to pose questions that seek to solve problems, and to remain open to continuous learning no matter the circumstances.”

In this way, the Habits can act as manageable, helpful tools for educators looking to create some space for social-emotional work in the third act of this hectic school year. We all know transitions can be a challenge, for children and adults, and everyone working and learning in schools is experiencing some kind of transition right now. Depending on where you’re teaching, perhaps this year was the first since 2020 in which you had a full classroom of kids, in-person, at the same time.

Perhaps, in your district, just this month mask mandates were dropped. Whether that brings you relief or worry, it’s surely a transition for you and students. Having some moments built-in to acknowledge what you’ve all been through can maybe, just maybe, soften the transition. Hopefully, having these habits in your back pocket can support you in creating those moments for yourself and your students — you deserve them.
Kallick and Costa's 16 Habits of Mind | Center for Teaching and Learning in Community (2)

Habits of Mind

So, let’s dive in! And remember — six of the habits were already reviewed here.

(Video) 16 Habits of Mind

Questioning and Posing Problems

  • What it means: Sometimes, traditional schooling can condition students to believe that it’s their job to produce the “right” answer. While living and working as an adult person does quite often require producing the right answer, the process of finding that answer almost always starts with posing questions, and, as Kallick and Costa put it, “finding problems to solve.” 1
  • What it looks like in the classroom: One barrier to having students pose questions is that to craft a really good question about subject matter, you kind of have to be an expert in the material. Cough-cough, that’s called Socratic questioning, and teachers do it all day long. To pose a really good question about life or another person, though, you just have to have an imagination and an interest — and that’s where students can practice crafting a questioning mindset.
  • What it looks like in everyday life: From small moments, like someone at home wondering: what I tried this instead?, and coming up with a tweaked recipe, a new way of getting out a stain, or a surprisingly efficient scheduling system for a family to follow, to big, world-changing moments, like humankind wondering: how can we get to the moon? — posing questions is how progress begins.

Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations

  • What it means: The amount that educators and students have learned, pivoted, and mastered in the last two years seemed insurmountable, and was an incredible challenge, and now is a whole mountain of skills and knowledge. This habit is all about taking prior knowledge and realizing that it can be useful in navigating new scenarios as they pop up, and it’s perhaps never been more relevant than right now in classrooms.
  • What it looks like in the classroom: Students are more comfortable using technology in the classroom than ever before. That doesn’t mean that the old, tried-and-true, face-to-face modalities of learning aren’t useful — in fact, just the opposite, the large majority of people are relieved to return to that natural mode of schooling. But, it does mean that there is a host of skills among students and teachers that can be accessed and couched, where appropriate and effective, into in-person learning environments. What tech tools support more fluid in-person learning, and as you reflect on the past two years, how much more fluent are you and your students in using technology to learn together, in person?
  • What it looks like in everyday life: Being able to apply past knowledge to new situations seems like one of the major differences between adults who learn a set of functional skills and then repeat those day in and day out to make their life, and those who keep building, building, building on each skill they learn. Those in the latter group are able to make their lives a little bit “bigger” with every step, navigating a slightly taller hill with the memory of how they scaled the last, smaller hill. Just like anything else, these two groups aren’t inherently different — they were simply shown how to learn differently — one in finite terms, the other: infinite.

Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision

  • What it means: In Kallick and Costa’s words, this habit describes “striving for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding over-generalizations, distortions, deletions and exaggerations.” 1
  • What it looks like in the classroom: One of the most powerful guidelines I ever learned about teaching is this: students can learn either a new skill or new content in a single learning segment. They can’t do both. So when teaching a new skill, why not ask them to grapple with content they’re already very familiar with? For this habit of communicating with greater clarity, a writing exercise about something they’re already expert in — for one student, it may be Major League Baseball, for another, braiding hair, and yet another, working on cars — allows them to actually push their mastery of the skill. That is, you can guide them towards detail when they know what they’re talking about. Then they can do it with something they’re just learning. Plus, you get to know them better!
  • What it looks like in everyday life: As adults at work, we may only get a few minutes or interactions with our teams each day. Being prepared to convey what it is you need to communicate and posing the questions to which you need answers during those minutes is the difference between effective and ineffective work. Similarly, in quarrels with friends or family members, the outcome is only as good as we are specific. If you say “you’re just tired,” but that’s really not the problem at all — well, it’s not likely the realproblem will get solved any time soon.

Responding with Wonderment and Awe

  • What it means: I love this habit, and think it’s a great one to pause on, because it reminds us that The 16 Habits of Mind are not meant to be prescriptive. They’re not a curriculum to be rushed through. They offer guideposts for a successful, happy lifestyle — and this is one of the greats. In Kallick and Costa’s words, it is to “become intrigued, find the world awesome, mysterious, with phenomena and beauty.” 1
  • What it looks like in the classroom: In the classroom and outside of it, this is the child — or adult! — who finds the world fascinating; who sees the sky open up with snow and lifts their head to let a snowflake fall on their tongue. It’s the student who loves the process during lab class because they’re not sure what’s coming…but they’re excited to find out. Teachers work hard every day to bring opportunities to students that inspire genuine wonderment. They chase the sound of students excited to know more, whether it’s focused silence or collaborative buzz. As we all know, getting to this place isn’t easy, but combining new skills, support, and opportunities that let students be who they are while they grow into themselves can make these beautiful moments happen.
  • What it looks like in everyday life: Children, of course, are often so joyful because they radiate wonderment and awe. For them, everything is new, and when that newness is delightful to them, we see children exclaim unabashedly with awe. I remember a science unit in sixth grade that summed up with a field day where we (with a lot of teacher supervision) shot off the model rockets we had carefully crafted. We had to know: What would make one group’s rocket fly high? What would make another group’s peter out? I was awed. It was awesome. In school, every day can’t be field day, but there’s so much joy that students receive from teachers who bring their own excitement to teaching — bravo to you, for doing just that.

take a pause

We’ll pause there, with more habits to come next time. This is a good place to reflect on the habits explored today and to ask, which speaks to you the most and why? Which one jumps out as interesting for yourself? Which one do you think might speak to your students the most? How can they be integrated into planning, to give a little space and time for social-emotional work? Where can they support academic rigor?

    • Questioning and Posing Problems
    • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
    • Thinking & Communicating with Clarity and Precision
    • Responding with Wonderment and Awe

Learn More!

For more information on the 16 Habits of Mind and how to adopt the principles into your school or classroom, explore the Institute for Habits of Mind , and consider certain workshops available through CTLC that are totally asynchronous, flexible, and designed to help you integrate many principles like these into your e veryday teaching.

Explore CTLC workshops:
  • Challenge-Based Learning and Design Thinking
  • Technology Tools for Integrating Social-Emotional Learning Competencies in the Curriculum
  • The Blended Learning Classroom


Meg Kende

Meg Kende is a writer specializing in education and educational technology who holds a master’s degree in teaching English and formerly taught in New York City and on Long Island. She now writes for organizations that are cheerleaders and change-makers for schools.

(Video) Why schools should teach habits of mind, not “college readiness” | Bena Kallick | Big Think

2321 Computer Science Stony Brook, NY 11794-4434


© Admin Login 2022 Stony Brook University

(Video) Introducing the Habits of Mind


What is the importance of the 16 Habits of Mind in teaching? ›

The teaching strategies that exist within the Sixteen Habits of Mind exercise the brain to promote creativity, strategic thinking, insightfulness, perseverance, reasoning, and craftsmanship. A student who sharpens these tools will be well-equipped for successful adulthood.

What is Habits of Mind summary? ›

Habits of mind refers to dispositions possessed by many intelligent people, who utilize deductive tools, drawing on preexisting skills, previous experiences and tendencies, in order to act in a knowledgeable and insightful way when faced with a difficult problem.

What is the purpose of Habits of Mind? ›

The Habits of Mind are an identified set of 16 problem solving, life related skills, necessary to effectively operate in society and promote strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity and craftsmanship.

What is Costa's intelligent behavior? ›

When Art Costa first described what would become known as the Habits of Mind, he used the term “intelligent behaviours”. “Intelligent behaviours” he said, “are demonstrated when we are confronted with questions and problems for which we don't know an immediate answer.”

What is the importance of habits in education and learning? ›

Motivation and study habits are obviously crucial as well. Good habits are important for all students to protect investments of time and money and to achieve educational goals. After that experience your study habits are permanently altered, this will help your own preparation as you start teaching and last a lifetime.

Who created the 16 Habits of Mind? ›

The Habits of Mind were developed by Dr. Arthur L. Costa and Dr. Bena Kallick, co-founders of the Institute for Habits of Mind.

Who wrote the 16 Habits of Mind? ›

The 16 Habits of Mind identified by Costa and Kallick include: Persisting. Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision. Managing impulsivity.

What is the Habits of Mind approach? ›

A “Habit of Mind” means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems. When humans experience dichotomies, are confused by dilemmas, or come face to face with uncertainties–our most effective actions require drawing forth certain patterns of intellectual behavior.

What are the 16 intelligent behaviors? ›

16 Intelligent Behaviors
  • Persisting.
  • Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision.
  • Managing impulsivity.
  • Gathering data through all senses.
  • Listening with understanding and empathy.
  • Creating, imagining, innovating.
  • Thinking flexibly.
  • Responding with wonderment and awe.

What are the four processes of learning habit of mind? ›

There are four habits of mind that we focus on: purposeful communication, problem-solving, integrative perspective, and self-regulated learning.

What is one of the benefits of habits? ›

Fostering the habit of habit builds an infrastructure in your brain that makes virtuous behavior more automatic. The result? More success in realizing your goals and the freeing up of self-control reserves to take on more challenging goals.

What are Costa's levels of thinking called? ›

Level 1 (the lowest level) requires one to gather information. Level 2 (the middle level) requires one to process the information. Level 3 (the highest level) requires one to apply the information. Prove your answer.

Why is Costa's level of thinking important? ›

To better understand the content being presented in their core subject areas, it is essential for students to learn to think critically and to ask higher levels of questions. By asking higher levels of questions, students deepen their knowledge and create connections to the material being presented.

What habits could help me in my practice teaching? ›

10 Habits of an Effective Teacher
  • Come prepared. One of the best habits to have as a teacher is to always stay prepared. ...
  • Prioritize self-care. ...
  • Practice a positive outlook. ...
  • Seek professional development. ...
  • Be communicative. ...
  • Stay organized. ...
  • Reach out to others. ...
  • Embrace change.
Aug 3, 2021

What are habits explain with real life examples? ›

A habit is a learned behavior that becomes reflexive over time. The behavior is often triggered by a certain context. For example, you may automatically go brush your teeth after finishing breakfast as part of your morning routine. A habit can be healthy, unhealthy, or neutral.

What is the purpose of study habits of students? ›

Good study skills can increase your confidence, competence, and self-esteem. They can also reduce anxiety about tests and deadlines. By developing effective study skills, you may be able to cut down on the numbers of hours spend studying, leaving more time for other things in your life.

What are two effective study habits that can improve academic performance? ›

Good study habits include finding a quiet location to study, taking breaks, settings goals, and taking practice tests.

What are the 5 good study habits? ›

Try out some of our five favourite study habits and learn some life-long skills.
  • Make a schedule. Number one on any list of study habits has to be making a schedule. ...
  • Create your environment. This one is so important while we're on lockdown. ...
  • Study in bursts. Treat your brain like a muscle. ...
  • Find a study group.
Apr 6, 2020

Who are Costa and Kallick? ›

Art Costa founded the Institute for Habits of Mind with Dr. Bena Kallick over 25 years ago. The Institute for Habits of Mind seeks to transform schools into learning communities where thinking and Habits of Mind are taught, practiced, valued, and infused into the culture.

Who developed habit training? ›

Eleanor Clarke Slagle, considered to be the "mother" of occupational therapy, proposed habit training as a primary occupational therapy model of treatment based upon the philosophy that engagement in meaningful routines shapes a person's wellbeing.

When were the Habits of Mind created? ›

When Bena partnered with Art and brought her work with group dynamics and alternative assessments in the mid 1980s, the interplay of their ideas became the basis for honing the intelligent behaviors into 16 Habits of Mind which turned into our first book Assessment in the Learning Organization (ASCD, 1995).

What does Habits of Mind and work mean? ›

It means that we value one pattern of thinking over another, and therefore it implies choice making about which habit should be employed at which time. It includes sensitivity to the contextual cues in a situation signaling that it is an appropriate time and circumstance to employ this pattern.

How can Habits of Mind be used to guide your future life? ›

Below are some examples of each of the habits of mind can be used.
  • Persisting. ...
  • Managing Impulsivity. ...
  • Listening with Understanding and Empathy. ...
  • Thinking Flexibly. ...
  • Metacognition. ...
  • Striving for Accuracy. ...
  • Questioning and Posing Problems. ...
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations.

What makes Habits of Mind research powerful according to art costa? ›

Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision. Managing impulsivity. Gathering data through all senses. Listening with understanding and empathy.

What are the three main components of habit building? ›

A habit is an automatic behavior that initially requires conscious effort. It consists of 3 components: a cue, a routine, and a reward, which together form a habit loop.

What are the Habits of Mind dimensions of learning? ›

Habits of mind was originally developed by Marzano (1992) in dimensions of learning, which includes: attitudes and perceptions of learning (dimension 1), acquiring and integrating knowledge (dimension 2), expanding and refining knowledge (dimension 3), using knowledge in a meaningful (dimension 4), and utilize habits ...

What are the 5 scientific Habits of Mind and why are they important? ›

Those habits are curiosity, skepticism, creativity, openness, and ethics. Scientists have to be curious and inquiring about the details of the environment and how everything works and came to be.

Why brain based strategies are important in teaching? ›

Overall, brain-based learning helps students build their memories and retention. The peer-teaching principle, in particular, leads to increased memorization and understanding of information.

Why is spiritual intelligence important for teachers? ›

The Concept of Spiritual Intelligence

In education, SI unifies flexibility and emotional resilience and plays a critical role in helping students/teachers make sense of their world and construct aims and values (Zohar and Marshall, 2001).

What is the importance of mental health in teaching learning? ›

The emotional atmosphere in a classroom setting is important to the experiences of all students. That atmosphere is affeected by the emotional stability of the teacher. A teacher with personal mental health problems can have a detrimental effect upon all of those students who are associated with him or her.

Why is it important for teachers to have a growth mindset? ›

Teaching students in this way is the idea of a growth mindset, where individuals believe their ability and talents can improve over time with hard work and effort. By fostering a growth mindset, students are taught to embrace challenges with open arms, and failure is viewed a learning experience.

What are the six tips for brain-based learning? ›

The top six tips for brain-based learning are: (1) Create a safe climate for learning; (2) Encourage a growth mind-set; (3) Emphasize feedback; (4) Get bodies and brains in gear; (5) Start early; and (6) Embrace the power of novelty. A list of resources is included.

What are 3 ways that you can use brain-based learning to plan effective instruction? ›

Easy tips for implementing brain-based learning into the classroom
  • Set a positive tone from the beginning.
  • Establish “turn and talk” time.
  • Incorporate visual elements.
  • Break learning into chunks.
  • Get moving.
  • Marzano 13 Teaching Best Practices for Virtual, Blended, and Classroom Instruction.
Jan 15, 2021

What is spiritual intelligence in the Bible? ›

He defines spiritual intelligence as reasoning ethically and morally to live life according to Scripture through the Holy Spirit. It pulls from the concept of intelligencies, mental reasoning abilities that enable problem-solving, and combines it with spirituality from a Christian worldview.

What makes a good spiritual teacher? ›

A spiritual teacher should have Self-realization, balance, and a knowledge of comparative religions. He should be completely grounded in truth. The greatest spiritual teachers meditate a great deal in order to know the truth in any given situation. A spiritual teacher should always meditate before teaching.

How do mental health services benefit the community? ›

Community mental health care provides crisis care to people experiencing mental health challenges — often when a referral to a private therapist or clinician is impossible.

How can a teacher promote mental health in the classroom? ›

Teachers can foster feelings of safety and security by interacting and developing positive relationships with each student and using routines during the day to help children feel safe and secure.

How can you promote mental health in the classroom? ›

Engage students to create positive messages, posters and/or artwork related to mental health to display in the school. Create and support youth-led initiatives that address social and economic issues (local or global) and apply an equity and accessibility lens to all aspects of your school community.

What are 3 examples of a growth mindset? ›

Growth Mindset Examples
  • embrace new challenges.
  • are persistent and don't give up.
  • practice self-care.
  • are always learning new skills.
  • focus on the journey, as well as, the destination.
  • are inspired by others.
  • encourage others.
  • love the learning process.
May 18, 2021

What can teachers do to promote a growth mindset? ›

6 Ways to Help Develop Growth Mindsets:
  • Tip 1: Embrace Imperfection. ...
  • Tip 2: Reframe Challenges as Opportunities. ...
  • Tip 3: Provide Opportunities for Self-Evaluation. ...
  • Tip 4: Help Students Change their Language. ...
  • Tip 5: Try Different Teaching Techniques. ...
  • Tip 6: Model a Growth Mindset for Students.
May 13, 2022


1. Habits of Mind Online Course with Art Costa and Bena Kallick
(Habits of Mind)
2. Why Developing Countries Must Teach Habits of Mind to Transform Education Bena Kallick Kiran Kanwal
(Kiran Kanwal)
3. Succeeding with Habits of Mind
(Habits of Mind)
4. in.MIND talk series with the creators of the Habits of Mind!
(Escola Concept)
5. Do Habits of Mind stay with students as they move through school?
(Habits of Mind)
6. Habits of Mind Animations: Thinking About Your Thinking
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated: 08/06/2023

Views: 6200

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.