Habits That Make Thinkers

2 mins read

What is the difference between students and learners – on the surface, it’s a matter of tone and compliance, but it also has to do with purpose – why are they learning? How much of themselves are invested in the process? And does it lead to personal change, or mere performance?

Given below are some habits or strategies, actions, or behaviors that can lead to that critical shift that moves students from mere students to learners who are able to think critically for themselves. Key issues are – Patience, Scale, and Perspective.

  1. Doesn’t always seek to please others
  2. Is a charismatic listener
  3. Can learn from anything
  4. Asks “Why?” almost annoyingly
  5. Is comfortable with uncertainty
  6. Writes for their own understanding, not performance
  7. Values questions over answers
  8. Thinks laterally, endlessly connecting this to that, here to there
  9. Uses divergent thinking
  10. Can move back and forth from micro to macro thinking
  11. Reads for pleasure
  12. Looks for patterns
  13. Studies the nuance of things (because it’s interesting)
  14. Sees every situation as something new
  15. Asks what they’re missing or haven’t considered
  16. Playfully reframes and/or improves questions
  17. Relates humility to learning, and vice-versa
  18. Can instantly separate fact from opinion
  19. Resists confirmation bias (they instead analyze then draw conclusions)
  20. Does not follow crowds
  21. Articulates their own thinking without prompting (often creatively)
  22. Designs learning pathways effortlessly–they just go
  23. Socializes thinking for collaboration rather than approval
  24. Sees learning as inseparable from living
  25. Reflects for analysis rather than judgment
  26. Uses emotion to catalyze their intellect
  27. Sees situations from multiple perspectives
  28. Plays with ideas (without being told)
  29. Can think with simplicity about complexity, and with complexity about simplicity
  30. Demonstrates an insatiable curiosity for something
  31. Seeks to be both rational and ridiculous in their thinking
  32. Shows patience (by “dwelling with” questions, texts, or problems)
  33. Finds the complexity within the mundane

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