You may be asking yourself,” What is this hubbub about Habits of the Mind?” Why are they important? When you look at the information about jobs, 5-10-15 years from now, you’ve heard that many of the jobs haven’t even been invented yet. There is also information that states that by the time a college student finishes his/her junior year, over 1/3 of what was learned in the first three years will be obsolete. This is staggering. And if it’s true, and I don’t doubt that it is, preparing youth with specific content that will no longer be relevant isn’t an answer for the 21st Century Work Place. That’s where the Habits of Mind come in. If we intentionally work on the Habits of the Mind—using the content we currently have as “practice” fuel, then we can address both the present and the future.
In the old model of education, America benefitted because we needed workers in a factory who had information and knowledge, but we really didn’t expect them to think deeply and resolve workplace problems. Early on young people were divided into those who were academically gifted (in other words they thrived in the world of the classroom) and those who needed to receive vocational training. These folks certainly needed a basic reading, writing, and arithmetic education, but we didn’t believe we needed to focus on collaboration, creativity, communication skills, global citizenship, and critical thinking. However business is telling us that this sort of education is not what is needed in the current market place. They need us to transition to the 5 Cs (listed above) and help youth acquire what some identify as the “soft skills” but are really the keys to success in the future.
Like any learning, the way you become proficient is to “exercise those muscles.” If we want youth to be proficient at collaboration, we have to give them plenty of opportunities to work together. If we want youth to communicate clearly and precisely, we need to provide them with opportunities to speak more than 90 seconds a day (the average amount of time English Learners speak during the school day.) You get the point. You learn to be creative, practice global citizenship and dig deeply into critical thinking when you are given the opportunity to practice, and this is in line with afterschool and our enrichment, project-based learning, and youth development approach.
Consult 4 Kids is prepared to help youth workers and youth-serving organizations transition to supporting Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and learning that is focused on also mastering the Habits of the Mind. Check out our comprehensive staff development at www.consultfourkids.com