ajoBlog Assignments Habits P-TECH

PTECH Assignment, Spring 2013

Read the 16 Habits of Mind, then pick one, reflect on how it may apply to what you do in life, in the classroom, or someplace else. Leave your reflection below as a comment. Due date is BEFORE the next workshop…

Here’s the full text for easy download, in pdf format: 16 Habits of Mind

Assignments Habits P-TECH

16 Habits of Mind Reflection

Read the 16 Habits of Mind, then pick one, reflect on how it may apply to what you do in life, in the classroom, or someplace else. Leave your reflection below as a comment. Due date is BEFORE the next workshop…

Here’s the full text for easy download, in pdf format: 16 Habits of Mind

Assignments Going Places Habits

The 16 Habits of Mind – A Summary

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

– Aristotle

Drawn from research on human effectiveness, descriptions of remarkable performers, and analyses of the characteristics of efficacious people, we have presented descriptions of sixteen Habits of Mind. This list is not meant to be complete but rather to serve as a starting point for further elaboration and description.

Assignments Going Places Habits

Habit # 16 – Learning Continuously

“Insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

– Albert Einstein

Intelligent people are in a continuous learning mode. Their confidence, in combination with their inquisitiveness, allows them to constantly search for new and better ways. People with this Habit of Mind are always striving for improvement, always growing, always learning, always modifying and improving themselves. They seize problems, situations, tensions, conflicts and circumstances as valuable opportunities to learn.

A great mystery about humans is that we confront learning opportunities with fear rather than mystery and wonder. We seem to feel better when we know rather than when we learn. We defend our biases, beliefs, and storehouses of knowledge rather than inviting the unknown, the creative and the inspirational. Being certain and closed gives us comfort while being doubtful and open gives us fear.

From an early age, employing a curriculum of fragmentation, competition and reactiveness, students are trained to believe that deep learning means figuring out the truth rather than developing capabilities for effective and thoughtful action. They have been taught to value certainty rather than doubt, to give answers rather than to inquire, to know which choice is correct rather than to explore alternatives.

Our wish is for creative students and people who are eager to learn. That includes the humility of knowing that we don’t know, which is the highest form of thinking we will ever learn. Paradoxically, unless you start off with humility you will never get anywhere, so as the first step you have to have already what will eventually be the crowning glory of all learning: the humility to know–and admit–that you don’t know and not be afraid to find out.

Questions: Will you continue to be a life-long learner? How so?

Assignments Going Places Habits

Habit # 15 – Thinking Interdependently

“Take care of each other. Share your energies with the group. No one must feel alone, cut off, for that is when you do not make it.”

– Willie Unsoeld, Renowned Mountain Climber

Human beings are social beings. We congregate in groups, find it therapeutic to be listened to, draw energy from one another, and seek reciprocity. In groups we contribute our time and energy to tasks that we would quickly tire of when working alone. In fact, we have learned that one of the cruelest forms of punishment that can be inflicted on an individual is solitary confinement.

Assignments Going Places Habits

Habit # 14 – Finding Humor

Where do bees wait? At the buzz stop.

– Andrew, Age 6

Another unique attribute of human beings is our sense of humor. Laughter transcends all human beings. Its’ positive effects on psychological functions include a drop in the pulse rate, the secretion of endorphins, an increased oxygen in the blood. It has been found to liberate creativity and provoke such higher level thinking skills as anticipation, finding novel relationships, visual imagery, and making analogies. People who engage in the mystery of humor have the ability to perceive situations from an original and often interesting vantage point.

Assignments Going Places Habits

Habit # 13 – Taking Responsible Risks

“There has been a calculated risk in every stage of American development–the pioneers who were not afraid of the wilderness, businessmen who were not afraid of failure, dreamers who were not afraid of action.”

– Brooks Atkinson

Flexible people seem to have an almost uncontrollable urge to go beyond established limits. They are uneasy about comfort; they “live on the edge of their competence”. They seem compelled to place themselves in situations where they do not know what the outcome will be. They accept confusion, uncertainty, and the higher risks of failure as part of the normal process and they learn to view setbacks as interesting, challenging and growth producing. However, they are not behaving impulsively. Their risks are educated. They draw on past knowledge, are thoughtful about consequences and have a well-trained sense of what is appropriate. They know that all risks are not worth taking!

Risk taking can be considered in two categories: those who see it as a venture and those who see it as adventure. The venture part of risk taking might be described by the venture capitalist. When a person is approached to take the risk of investing in a new business, she will look at the markets, see how well organized the ideas are, and study the economic projections. If she finally decides to take the risk, it is a well considered one.

The adventure part of risk taking might be described by the experiences from project adventure. In this situation, there is a spontaneity, a willingness to take a chance in the moment. Once again, a person will only take the chance if they know that there is either past history that suggests that what they are doing is not going to be life threatening or if they believe that there is enough support in the group to protect them from harm. Ultimately, the learning from such high-risk experiences is that people are far more able to take actions than they previously believed.

It is only through repeated experiences that risk taking becomes educated. It often is a cross between intuition, drawing on past knowledge and a sense of meeting new challenges.

When someone holds back from taking risks, he is confronted constantly with missed opportunities. Some students seem reluctant to take risks. Some students hold back games, new learning, and new friendships because their fear of failure is far greater than their experience of venture or adventure. They are reinforced by the mental voice that says, “ if you don’t try it, you won’t be wrong” or “if you try it and you are wrong, you will look stupid”. The other voice that might say, “if you don’t try it, you will never know” is trapped in fear and mistrust. They are more interested in knowing whether their answer is correct or not, rather than being challenged by the process of finding the answer. They are unable to sustain a process of problem solving and finding the answer over time, and therefore avoid ambiguous situations. They have a need for certainty rather than an inclination for doubt.

We hope that students will learn how to take intellectual as well as physical risks. Students who are capable of being different, going against the grain of the common, thinking of new ideas and testing them with peers as well as teachers, are more likely to be successful in this age of innovation and uncertainty.

Questions: How do you address the risks in your life? Are you willing to take risks, both physical and mental? Are you risk averse? How do you manage your risk? What does taking risks get you?

Assignments P-TECH

P-TECH Reflection # 3

How do you think technology will impact teaching and learning in the next 5, 10 years? What do you think the average day will look like, and what role will the teacher play? How will students engage with the content, curriculum, and assessments? Do you think the learning environment overall will be more or less open, as compared to today? Do you think we, as a society, will change to a different model of instruction all together?

Assignments Going Places Habits

Habit # 12 – Responding with Wonderment and Awe

The most beautiful experience in the world is the experience of the mysterious.”


– Albert Einstein.

Describing the 200 best and brightest of the All USA College Academic Team identified by USA Today, Tracey Wong Briggs (1999) states, “They are creative thinkers who have a passion for what they do.” Efficacious people have not only an “I CAN” attitude, but also an “I ENJOY” feeling. They seek problems to solve for themselves and to submit to others. They delight in making up problems to solve on their own and request enigmas from others. They enjoy figuring things out by themselves, and continue to learn throughout their lifetimes.

Some children and adults avoid problems and are “turned off” to learning. They make such comments as, “I was never good at these brain teasers,” or “Go ask your father; he’s the brain in this family. “Its boring.” “When am I ever going to use this stuff?” “Who cares?” “Lighten up, teacher, thinking is hard work,” or “I don’t do thinking!” Many people never enrolled in another math class or other “hard” academic subjects after they didn’t have to in high school or college. Many people perceive thinking as hard work and therefore recoil from situations, which demand “too much” of it.

We want our students, however to be curious; to commune with the world around them; to reflect on the changing formations of a cloud; feel charmed by the opening of a bud; sense the logical simplicity of mathematical order.

Students can find beauty in a sunset, intrigue in the geometric of a spider web, and exhilaration at the iridescence of a hummingbird’s wings. They see the congruity and intricacies in the derivation of a mathematical formula, recognize the orderliness and adroitness of a chemical change, and commune with the serenity of a distant constellation. We want them feel compelled, enthusiastic and passionate about learning, inquiring and mastering.

Questions: Do you love new enigmas? Do you still take pleasure in the sunrise and sunset? What about the concept of infinity? Does that blow your mind, and how does it make you feel? Are you curious enough to get a “street dog” from a shady vendor? When was the last time you laid on your back in the grass and looked at clouds? Does it blow your mind that a leaf on a tree can be described in a precise mathematical formula?

NOTE: If you had me for econ of hist last year, and you remember me and the math book – this is what I’m talking about. Remember how I reacted to those stories? (and if you didn’t have me, ask someone who did, and they’ll tell you!)

Assignments Going Places Habits

Habit # 11 – Creating, Imagining, Innovating

“The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”

John Schaar, Political Scientist, University of Santa Clara Author, Loyalty in America

All human beings have the capacity to generate novel, original, clever or ingenious products, solutions, and techniques—if that capacity is developed. Creative human beings try to conceive problem solutions differently, examining alternative possibilities from many angles. They tend to project themselves into different roles using analogies, starting with a vision and working backward, imagining they are the objects being considered. Creative people take risks and frequently push the boundaries of their perceived limits (Perkins1985).