Succeeding with Habits of Mind Blog


James Anderson first became interested in how to teach students to become better thinkers as a classroom teacher in the late ’90s. Later, as a school leader, he spearheaded a national research project focused on infusing Art Costa and Bena Kallick’s Habits of Mind into schools and classrooms.

The key finding of this project was that the Habits of Mind were only part of the solution. To see improvements in student learning outcomes, James discovered it was crucial to accompany the Habits of Mind with the development of a Growth Mindset.

James is now passionate about supporting schools and teachers to enable students to thrive in a rapidly changing, increasingly complex and highly challenging world. His learning has taken him beyond thinking skills and Mindsets to the concept of the Agile Leaner – someone who not only understands they are capable of learning to behave more intelligently, but who knows how to go about achieving it!

The foundation of James’s work is the Growth Mindset. James takes teachers beyond simple social media catchphrases to create a teaching framework that develops robust and enduring Growth Mindsets in the classroom. By challenging teachers’ own Mindsets, he equips them to nurture Growth Mindsets in their students.

James skillfully unites the Habits of Mind, Anders Ericsson’s critical work on practice and Carol Dweck’s work on Growth Mindset. In doing so, he creates a powerful combination that increases student efficacy and achieves greater learning outcomes through the development of Learning Agility.

James believes it will be human intelligence that will be the most valuable commodity in the future. Futurists predict a world that will be dominated by artificial intelligence – machines that will do our high-level thinking for us. But it’s not computers we need to develop; it’s the minds of our children. James gives teachers the pedagogy that enables their students to develop their human intelligence.

Having worked in classrooms and with schools for more than two decades, James knows that the students of today face problems fundamentally different to those of the past. Problems such as climate change, population growth and the depletion of natural resources are more global in their scope, more severe in their consequences, and more immediate in their nature. James firmly believes solving these problems requires today’s students to become smarter than the students of the past.

We don’t just need better thinkers – we need more agile thinkers. We need to teach students what to do when they don’t know what to do. We need to help them recognize that they can’t solve the problems they face with their existing skills and abilities. And we need to ensure they know how to improve their skills and abilities through Learning Agility. In doing so, we increase human intelligence. James shows you how to do this.

Explore James Anderson’s Succeeding with Habits of Mind Blog.

Read more from James Anderson.


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