Today, organizations absolutely need employees or members that contribute in ways different from how they have done in the past. Being honset and ‘showing up’ with a good attitude will not be enough for low-skilled or high skilled workers today.
Thomas Friedan and Michael Mandelbaum in their book That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind In The World It Invented And How We Can Come Back, (2011) write that today’s employers are “looking for workers who can think critically, who can tackle non-routine, complex tasks, and who can work collaboratively with teams located in their office or globally”. They also expect the workers they hire to “think for themselves”. They want people “that not only can do their assigned complex tasks but can enhance them, refine them, and even reinvent them by bringing something extra”. p 81
There are dramatic changes that have and are taking place in the world of work for Americans. The global economy is a ‘game changer’ for many Americans. Because our country has tended to have many good paying jobs for those willing to work – many of our citizens have come to believe that it wasn’t absolutely necessary to have more than a good attitude and be willing to show up to find and keep steady employment.
As an educator, it is clear to me that our we need our schools to intentionally teach and develop thinking and collaboration within our students at levels much higher than are the current norms. The Habits of the Mind developed by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick are:
Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
Gathering data through all senses
Listening with understanding and empathy
Creating, imagining, innovating
Responding with wonderment and awe
Thinking about thinking (metacognition)
Taking responsible risks
Striving for accuracy
Questioning and posing problems
Applying past knowledge to new situations
Remaining open to continuous learning
The following is an excerpt from an article by Costa and Kallick.
A “Habit of Mind” means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known. When humans experience dichotomies, are confused by dilemmas, or come face to face with uncertainties–our most effective actions require drawing forth certain patterns of intellectual behavior. When we draw upon these intellectual resources, the results that are produced through are more powerful, of higher quality and greater significance than if we fail to employ those patterns of intellectual behaviors.
Employing “Habits of Mind” requires a composite of many skills, attitudes cues, past experiences and proclivities. It means that we value one pattern of thinking over another and therefore it implies choice making about which pattern should be employed at this time. It includes sensitivity to the contextual cues in a situation which signal this as an appropriate time and circumstance in which the employment of this pattern would be useful. It requires a level of skillfulness to employ and carry through the behaviors effectively over time. It suggests that as a result of each experience in which these behaviors were employed, the effects of their use are reflected upon, evaluated, modified and carried forth to future applications
HABITS OF MIND ATTEND TO: .
Value: Choosing to employ a pattern of intellectual behaviors rather than other, less productive patterns.
Inclination: Feeling the tendency toward employing a pattern of intellectual behaviors.
Sensitivity: Perceiving opportunities for, and appropriateness of employing the pattern of behavior.
Capability: Possessing the basic skills and capacities to carry through with the behaviors.
Commitment: Constantly striving to reflect on and improve performance of the pattern of intellectual behavior.
When students are confident and competent with strong habits of the mind they will meet and exceed the job expectations of employers today. And for that to happen, schools will have to become much more committed to students becoming able and elegant thinkers and effective collaborators.