For most of my career, two powerful sets of habits have guided the work I do with my students. Together, the Habits of Mind and Habits of Character show children the specific traits and behaviors needed to become better thinkers, better students, and better people. These 22 habits empower children to maximize their considerable potential, and I simply cannot imagine myself teaching in a classroom without using these ideas as daily reference points.
Recently, I have noticed that a few of the behaviors included in this larger list seem to have particular power in explaining why some students consistently achieve success in school and why others haven’t yet been able to do so. Of course, factors that lie outside the control of teachers and schools most certainly impact how well children perform in the classroom, but the good news is that there are a small number of “high-leverage” behaviors that all children can learn and that all teachers can nurture and develop. With time, effort, and consistent attention paid to these five areas, every child can become a highly successful student and experience the greater confidence, higher self-esteem, and greater learning gains that result from this success.
I describe my quest to help children develop these behaviors as “The Drive for 5.” Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of blog posts that describe each of these traits. It is my hope that by giving attention to these high-leverage behaviors, we can empower all of our students to be successful in school and beyond.