A Whole Child Deserves a Whole Teacher
Post written by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick
Much is said and written about the whole child. We often forget, however, that we should also consider the whole adult. A teacher's performance in the classroom, and the resulting performances of the students, depend on a cluster of ingredients not the least of which are the teacher's attitudes and dispositions that we refer to as Habits of Mind, which concern not only what teachers can do (abilities) but also what they are likely to do. For example,
|What is the likelihood that . . .||Habit of Mind|
|they will persevere through disappointment and challenge in their teaching, spending additional time consulting others and reviewing and revising their decisions when hoped-for results have not occurred?||Persisting|
|in the process of teaching and concentrating on the responses of an individual student, they use an eagle view of the classroom to monitor the entire class?||Metacognition (Thinking about Thinking)|
|faced with stubborn problems, they can perceive them flexibly from various perspectives of the disappointed mother, the ambitious father, or the anxious child?||Thinking Flexibly|
|they will take disappointments in stride and ask themselves how they can cope with and learn from these rather than blaming others?||Remaining Open to Continuous Learning|
|they will insist on high-quality performance from themselves and their students and accept nothing less?||Striving for Accuracy and Precision|
|they will regard teaching as a collaborative pursuit, engaging with others in applying systemic solutions to persistent problems?||Thinking Interdependently|
These are the questions that arise as teachers work in their classrooms every day. To develop the whole child, teachers need Habits of Mind that help them problem solve, become better critical thinkers, and communicate—to become whole teachers who manage their social, physical, emotional, and cognitive skills as they respond and interact with their students.
Noted educators Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick are coeditors of Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success and are the founding directors of the Institute for Habits of Mind, an international organization that is dedicated to transforming schools into places where thinking and Habits of Mind are taught, practiced, valued, and have become infused into the culture of the school and community.