• A Habit of Mind is knowing how to behave intelligently when you DON'T know the answer.

  • A Habit of Mind means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known: dichotomies, dilemmas, enigmas and uncertainties.

  • Our focus is on performance under challenging conditions that demand strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity, and craftsmanship. The critical attribute of intelligent human beings is not only having information, but also knowing how to act on it.

  • Employing Habits of Mind requires drawing forth certain patterns of intellectual behavior that produce powerful results. They are a composite of many skills, attitudes and proclivities including:

    • Value:  Choosing to employ a pattern of intellectual behaviors rather than other, less productive patterns.

    • Inclination:  Feeling the tendency toward employing a pattern of intellectual behaviors.

    • Sensitivity:  Perceiving opportunities for, and appropriateness of employing the pattern of behavior.

    • Capability:  Possessing the basic skills and capacities to carry through with the behaviors.

    • Commitment:  Constantly striving to reflect on and improve performance of the pattern of intellectual behavior.




The 16 Habits of Mind identified by Costa and Kallick include:

  • 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

  • Thinking about thinking (metacognition)

  • Taking responsible risks

  • Striving for accuracy

  • Finding humor

  • Questioning and posing problems

  • Thinking interdependently

  • Applying past knowledge to new situations

  • Remaining open to continuous learning
The following article describes the 16 Habits of Mind more fully and is available for download as a PDF file: Describing 16 Habits of Mind (Adobe's free Acrobat Reader browser plug-in program is needed to view, save, or print this file.)


Copyright 2000-2001 Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick. All rights reserved.

All materials in the http://www.habits-of-mind.net Web site not specifically identified as being reprinted or secured from other sources are Copyright 2000-2001 by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick. Permission to download and make copies for classroom or community use is granted. Reproducing or distributing any material from this Web site for commercial use, however, must have written permission from the authors.

Page last revised February 26, 2001.