Week 4 Reflection – 542

Arthur Costa stated in the book Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind, “Educational outcomes in traditional settings focus on how many answers a student knows. When we teach for the Habits of Mind, we are interested also in how students behave when they don’t know an answer”(2008). I feel strongly our project assessments meet the criteria established in Key Principles of Effective Assessment. What I am more intrigued about this week is how to change culture. Assessment can play a part.

In order to make the shift in culture the tasks must be rich and challenging. The Holocaust PBL fits as it connects past to the present and future. This project will be something of interest and intrigue. That said, as I explored 16 listed Habits of Mind as learning outcomes, I realized I found something that could help. The sixteen listed Habits of the Mind are “patterns of intellectual behaviors that lead to productive actions” Costa, (2008). The list is not suggested to be complete. It does represent something teachable and able to be assessed. So the assessments and the actions of the teacher must model the behaviors I want from my students. Consequently, my assessment and my behavior should reflect the six dimensions that are integral to Habits of the Mind:

  • Value: If I want my students to value intellectual behavior over other things, I must be that model. I must value their presence and their time. My assessments must be real and an honest yardstick of their learning.
  • Inclination: I can promote student input on the type and nature of the assessment, teaching them to self-evaluate on their internal scale
  • Sensitivity: I can help model this dimension by channeling their inputs to find the appropriate time and method to chart their journey
  • Capability: I must learn all I can about assessments so I have many more tools in my toolbox. I do not have to know every answer about assessments; but I should know where to find them.
  • Commitment: I must be willing to explore my own work, analyze and modify for successful learning and communication. That includes assessments and structure I set in place. At the end of the day, I am responsible, whether or not I share the journey with students.
  • Policy: If when the going gets tough, I shift to other, less productive habits or assessments, the whole bubble bursts. Teaching teenagers is tough. They expect and demand that you walk the talk.

Costa, A. (2008). Describing the habits of mind. In A. Costa & B. Kallick (Eds.), Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success. (2008). Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108008/chapters/Describing-the-Habits-of-Mind.aspx


About "B" Bernheim
“B”, his nickname, returns to the other side of the desk after many years. Graduating from UNC-Charlotte in 1983 with a BA in Education (K-12), he entered active service with the US Army. He began teaching high school upon completion of his tour of duty. B taught Language Arts and Social Studies for one year at the middle school level. English, Composition, Public Speaking, Theater, Forensics, and Technical Theater are among the subjects he has taught in public high school settings. Most recently, he was a Strategies of Instruction teacher, Assistant Dean of Students, dorm parent, girls’ hockey coach and rock climbing instructor at The Forman School in Litchfield, CT. The Forman School is a 9-12 boarding school specifically targeting students who learn differently.

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