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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Complete Essay on Habits of Mind and Critical Thinking

Complete Essay on Habits of Mind and Critical Thinking


High achievers have been noticed to possess certain qualities and attitudes that are unique to them, and which may be key attributes in the education systems of the world today. Costa and Kallick, (2000) in their article, “Habits of Mind” discuss concepts which they call Habits of Mind, which have a dimension in the possible success in life. This report looks lifelong learning, critical thinking, flexibility and creativity in problem solving as a new style of learning, and how the habits of mind outlined by Costa and Kallick assist and relate with this style.

The motivation for this research is the apparent exponential increase of information in the world. The focus is to know how, even in the face of change, habits of mind practising learners keep on top of things, being able to attain a position in the growing global village as responsible citizens. Important tools such as communication and open mindedness must be sharpened in this era.

The general message running through this report is in support of this new style of learning as the most appropriate mode of learning, not just for students, but the workforce as well. Habits of Mind encourage the application of this style by identifying important habits of mind such as persistence, thinking flexibly, applying past knowledge to new situations, thinking and communicating with clarity and precision, creating, imagining and innovating and remaining open to continuous learning among others,

The process of writing this research has involved an in deep literature review, digging into the findings other researchers have come up with. Several books, journals and web articles have been delved into, to provide the necessary insight into the findings and trends in the field. A short survey has also been carried out to give a clear picture of the current views among learners in institutions of higher learning.


New learning concepts demand that education must not just be confined to the classroom where people spend their early years learning, complete their studies at whatever level and join the workforce, where education seems to have reached the end. Rather, learning is now to be looked at as a lifelong activity, one that has no end. Also, learners are encouraged to develop other new habits such as thinking critically creatively, in addition to working competently independently and embracing teamwork. These new habits will help the learners deal with the dynamically changing affairs of the world.

This report aims to give a clear picture of these new styles of learning, showing how they are being applied. It also analyses the appropriateness of these learning methods to learners today and to the workforce. In this regard, the report queries whether these styles may adopted throughout the world as the most appropriate approaches to education.

The research methodology has been through both the use of secondary research, using material got from other researchers as seen in the literature review. It has also utilized primary data, in which a survey was done through the use of a questionnaire developed in line with the topic of research. The questionnaire developed for this study has been attached in this report as part of the appendix.

 Literature review

William Huges and Jonathan Lavery (2004) emphasize on the importance of critical thinking, saying that virtually every human activity revolves around critical thinking. Brunt, Barbara A (2005) Identify several critical thinking models, which are: Total recall, which means recollection of facts; Habits, thinking naturally; Inquiry, exploring issues in depth and inquiring those that may seem obvious; generation of new ideas and creativity, individualized thinking that goes beyond the usual and finally Knowing how you think, which is represented by Costa and Kallick as the metacognitive model,

According to the European Commission in the paper, “What is Lifelong Learning?’ the scale of current economic and social change is huge, and there’s a rapid transition to a knowledge society. These are challenges which require a new approach to education and training, which is possible in the framework of lifelong learning. Branch, Jennifer L, (2003) make another argument, that an important aspect in the learning process involves inquiry. They state that this learning style can be transferred to all areas of life, and in a great way help to promote lifelong learning. Learners should always be put in situations that demand they learn the productivity of an inquiring spirit, something they will need all through their lives.

Gerald Bannon notes that communication is a growth business, stating that as communication has improved, the world has been shrinking. A message would take three days from London to Edinburgh 1600s, yet it only takes a matter of seconds today through emails and video conferencing. Different cultures, according to him are in deeper levels of communication through business acquisitions, partnerships etc. People must therefore be prepared for cross-cultural communication in order for them to succeed in international business. Abeles (2001) observes that today’s learners have an opportunity to interact with persons from different cultures, a factor afforded by the multi-cultural nature of educational institutions.

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