Habits of Mind

Success in this class begins with an interest in what you are doing. Once you get interested you will be ready to think about what and how you are learning in school. Effective writing is a product of interest and engaged learning and below you will find five areas of work for you to consider as you write.

Intellectual Habits Consider first the intellectual habits that are most often at work in any process of learning:

  • Curiosity – the desire to know more about the world.
  • Openness – the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world.
  • Engagement – a sense of investment and involvement in learning.
  • Creativity – the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating, and representing ideas.
  • Persistence – the ability to sustain interest in and attention to short- and long-term projects.
  • Responsibility – the ability to take ownership of one’s actions and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others.
  • Flexibility – the ability to adapt to situations, expectations, or demands.
  • Metacognition – the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge.

These “habits of mind” will help you as you work to formulate and share your understanding through the thinking, reading, and writing in this course:

  • Rhetorical knowledge – the ability to analyze and act on understandings of audiences, purposes, and contexts in creating and comprehending texts;
  • Critical thinking – the ability to analyze a situation or text and make thoughtful decisions based on that analysis, through writing, reading, and research;
  • Writing processes – multiple strategies to approach and undertake writing and research;
  • Knowledge of conventions – the formal and informal guidelines that define what is considered to be correct and appropriate, or incorrect and inappropriate, in a piece of writing; and
  • Abilities to compose in multiple environments – from using traditional pen and paper to electronic technologies.

These intellectual habits, ways of knowing, and ways of writing were developed by the Council of Writing Program Administrators, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project. For a more detailed account of the habits of mind and experiences read the complete “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing.”

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