Dimensions of Growth – an overview

Are your students using their Habits of Mind well?

This is a profound question, because if they are not using their Habits of Mind well it becomes the teachers responsibility to help them develop more mature, more effective Habits of Mind. This means teachers need to have a clear picture of what development looks like so they can set clear learning goals, create assessment and design learning experiences to ensure students are in fact developing, improving, extending and maturing their Habits of Mind.

Understanding what growth looks like for a Habit of Mind is the first step to truly infusing and sustaining your work with Habits of Mind.  Although we might recognise more mature Habits of Mind, it is often difficult to describe that development in a way that can guide curriculum design.

The Five Dimensions of Growth, described here, represent the ways in which you can get better at a Habit of Mind. Understanding these is the first step to designing curriculum that truly develops students Habits of Mind.

Pic 1Meaning: This is the WHAT of the Habit of Mind. You develop in the dimension of Meaning by increasing the richness, complexity and completeness of your understanding of what the Habit of Mind means.

Capacity. This is the HOW of the Habit of Mind. This dimension is developed by adding and refining strategies to a students repertoire. It relates to becoming more skilled and able to engage in the Habit of Mind.

Alertness. This dimension relates to the WHEN of the Habit of Mind. Each Habit of Mind is only needful in certain contexts. Learning to become more attuned to the signals, cues and indicators in the environment that alert us to the opportunity to engage in the Habit of Mind represents growth in this dimension.

Value. This dimension is a reflection of the importance a person places on a Habit of Mind. By learning to recognise the rewards that come from engaging effectively in a Habit of Mind we come to value it more highly.

Commitment. This dimension is about your personal commitment to the Habits of Mind and your ability to engage in this growth. It is reflected in an increasing ability to be self assessing, self directing and self modifying in your evaluation and growth of the Habit of Mind.

These dimensions of growth are critical to your work with Habits of Mind. They are introduced in “Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind” and expanded on in light of curriculum design in “Succeeding with Habits of Mind“. They are more full explored throughout this site and the training available in Habits of Mind.

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