Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What do you do when you don't know? (Part 4)

I've already written 3 posts about aligning the IB Learner Profile and the PYP Attitudes with Costa and Kallick's Habits of Minds.  With some of these it's very easy to see how they fit together, with others it's not so simple. A couple of the ones today don't seem to readily fit into either the Learner Profile or the Attitudes, though obviously they do have an impact on how students behave when confronted with problems that they don't immediately know how to solve.

Gathering Data through all the Senses
Costa and Kallick write that information gets into the brain through the senses and that most linguistic, cultural and physical learning is derived from the environment by observing or taking in through the senses:  "students whose sensory pathways are open, alert and acute absorb more information from the environment" when compared with students who do not use all their senses.

Creating, Imagining and Innovating - PYP Attitude:  Creativity
The PYP Attitude of creativity is defined in the following way:  "being creative and imaginative in their thinking and  in their approach to problem solving and dilemmas."  It's easy to see why Costa and Kallick have chosen this habit of mind.  Students who are faced with a problem to which the answer is not immediately apparent need to think about the problem in different ways and consider alternative possibilities.  They write that creative people are uneasy with the status quo and so take risks and push the boundaries, and that they are intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated.  They are open to criticism because they are constantly seeking to refine their technique.

Responding with Wonderment and Awe - PYP Attitudes of Appreciation and Enthusiasm
I think both of these attributes are contained in Costa and Kallick's description of this habit of mind.  The attitude of appreciation refers to the sense of wonder and beauty in the world and its people.  This leads them to be curious about the world.  The attitude of enthusiasm refers to how students learn:  enjoying learning and willingly putting effort into the process.  We want students who are creative thinkers and who care passionately about what they do.  This gets back to intrinsic motivation - these students seek out problems to solve and enjoy figuring things out by themselves.  These are the building blocks of being a lifelong learner.

Photo Credit:  Light, God's eldest daughter by Heather Katsoulis, 2007 AttributionShare Alike

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