Thinking Flexibly - IB Learner Profile: Open-Minded, PYP Attitude: Confident
Open-minded students are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view and are willing to grow from the experience. Open-minded students are therefore flexible people who are willing to consider alternative points of view and who have the capacity to change their mind as they receive additional data. Costa and Kallick write that flexible people are able to approach a problem from new angles or are able to take different approaches and that they are confident in their own abilities as learners - they can apply what they have learned when making decisions and choices. Students who do not display open-mindedness and flexibility, however, have problems in considering different ways of doing things or different points of view - they believe that their way of solving a problem is the best or the only way of doing it.
Thinking about Thinking - IB Learner Profile: Thinkers
The Learner Profile defines thinkers as those who "exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems and make reasoned, ethical decisions". This habit of mind is metacognition, the ability to know what we know and what we don't know. Metacognition allows students to develop a plan of action, to reflect back on it and to evaluate it. It involves being aware of your own actions and how these affect others and the environment. I was interested to read that metacognition develops in children around the age of 11, and that not all adults metacogitate as they don't take the time to reflect on their experiences.
Striving for Accuracy and Precision - PYP Attitude: Enthusiasm
This habit of mind didn't really fit in with any of the attributes of the Learner Profile or the PYP Attitudes. At first I considered integrity (being honest and demonstrating a considered sense of fairness) though not being convinced that it was a good match, I went on to think about enthusiasm, which involves enjoying learning and willingly putting in effort. With this habit of mind Costa and Kallick are referring to "exactness, precision, accuracy, correctness, faithfulness and fidelity". Students who do not strive for these often don't put much effort into their work and produce work that is sloppy or incomplete - these are the students who care more about finishing the assignment than about its quality.
The next habit of mind identified by Costa and Kallick is questioning and posing problems. To me this straight away leads me to the attribute inquirers, which is at the heart of the PYP programme of inquiry. I'm going to devote a separate post to my thinking about that one.
Photo Credit: Wrought Iron Gate "Tree of Knowledge" by Enrique Vega, 2005