By James Anderson
Measure and Map the development of your Habits of Mind!
Last week, we discussed the critical shift from using to improving your Habits of Mind. This is the tipping point that puts schools onto a path of continuous development, and it is the change in mindset that ultimately results in significant improvements in student learning outcomes.
This week, I introduce you to a way of guiding and measuring that development: the Habits of Mind Profile Tool.
The Habits of Mind Profile Tool allows you to:
- Measure the development of your Habits of Mind.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Target specific Habits for development.
- Design explicit experiences to foster that development.
- Measure and report on the growth of your Habits of Mind.
Have you ever been the victim of a personality test?
Many profiling tools seek to define you, claiming to measure some enduring part of who you are. You take them once, and their results are used to categorise you as a particular “type” of person; someone who is “suited” to some roles or tasks, but not others.
This is not what the Habits of Mind Profile Tool does.
The Habits of Mind Profile Tool takes a snapshot of your current level of development of the Habits. This helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, representing them in a beautiful graphic display.
You then use the profile tool results to inform your plan for developing the Habits of Mind.
Far from being a once-off measure, the Habits of Mind Profile Tool is designed to be used over and over again to guide your journey of continuous development. It shows where you are progressing and what you need to work on. As you target areas for development, your Habits of Mind Profile changes, and the profile tool maps your progress.
The Habits of Mind are never achieved
The Habits of Mind Profile Tool is unique in that it doesn’t try to measure the Habits directly. There are no rubrics that tell you what behaviours to look for. Rather, the profile tool measures your development relative to the success you experience when encountering problems that require a certain Habit.
This approach gives the Habits of Mind Profile Tool the extraordinarily powerful feature of being open ended. You never become a Habits of Mind “expert”. You never master them. Instead, your strengths are relative to the level of difficulty and complexity of the problems you currently face.
As you stretch yourself and attempt more difficult problems, you expose areas requiring further development. This is why the results of the Habits of Mind Profile Tool are not measured on a scale of beginner to expert. Rather, the profile tool reports on your development as a vulnerability –> strength. When your development is strong, it means you’re succeeding at problems that demand the mature application of that Habit.
Because the profile tool measures the development of the Habits of Mind relative to the level of difficulty of the problems you face, it is as relevant to children as it is to adults. Each time you challenge yourself with more difficult tasks, like when you go up a year level, you “reset” your profile. This “resetting” of your Habits of Mind Profile gives a clear and powerful focus on the need for ongoing development in order to succeed at increasingly difficult problems.
A whole-school game changer
The Habits of Mind Profile Tool is an absolute game changer when it comes to your whole-school strategy with the Habits of Mind. This powerful tool can be used to guide not only individual student development, but also curriculum development.
If you’d like to start using the Habits of Mind Profile Tool and take your work with the Habits to the next level, I invite you to join me in my new online course, “Succeeding with Habits of Mind,” beginning 15th October. Individual and whole-school options are available. To find out more, please go to https://www.jamesanderson.com.au/Succeeding-with-Habits-of-Mind
And watch Art Costa, Bena Kallick and myself as we discuss the Habits of Mind Profile Tool: https://youtu.be/Lopvzp4dpS0
A Brand New Learning Opportunity
I look forward to going on this journey with you.
This post is part four of a series.
Part One: Teaching Habits of Mind is Not Enough
Part Two: How the Habits of Mind become a Shared Language of Learning
Part Three: The Tipping Point for Succeeding with Habits of Mind
Part Four: Introducing the Habits of Mind Profile Tool
Part Five: Your Whole School Approach to Habits of Mind