Book Review

Habits of Mind Across the Curriculum: Practical and Creative Strategies for Teachers

edited by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick, ASCD, Alexandria, Va., 2009, 237 pp., $26.95 softcover

Authors Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick developed Habits of Mind Across the Curriculum: Practical and Creative Strategies for Teachers based on their work with teachers, which asked educators to describe how they would like their students to work and to act. Their 16 habits evolved from what they once called “intelligent behaviors,” a collection that grew from seven to 14 items before they shifted to the new terminology.

Opening and closing chapters by Costa and Kallick surround 17 chapters by teachers from around the world. The teachers tell how they have incorporated habits of mind across the curriculum and across grade levels. Some chapters give general insights into practices that have allowed teachers to overtly teach the habits and make them the core of their programs. Others share specific applications in art, math, writing, cooking, reading, character education, foreign languages and physical education.

At the beginning of the book, the habits are clearly identified with titles, catchphrases, icons and descriptions. The current habits include these: persisting, listening with understanding and empathy, questioning and posing problems, taking responsible risks, thinking interdependently, thinking flexibly, applying past knowledge to a new situation, gathering data through all senses, responding with wonderment and awe, and finding humor.

How does a teacher squeeze in the habits of mind with all of the state curriculum standards required under No Child Left Behind? As Costa and Kallick say, “Habits of Mind, however, is not another program to be added to an already overcrowded curriculum. Rather, like a tapestry, it is woven into curriculum, instruction and assessment.”

Those who despair about standards as a disjointed checklist will appreciate the way this book shows how to connect the habits to the curriculum in ways that enhance and expand long-term student learning.

Reviewed by Bob Schultz, instructor, Brandman University, Roseville, Calif.