Learning isn’t all about “content” some of the most important things you can learn are more properly thought of as Habits. Being “successful”, “satisfied”, “happy”, “accomplished” has a lot less to do with the content of what you know and a lot more to do with these habits.
We divide them up to match up with our mission statement (to remind you: “Growing Self-Directed Learners who are Competent, Confident, and Caring.”) But honestly there is some overlap, some gaps, and a lot of stuff in between the lines. But this is a good place to get started.
You might not end up designing a custom Learning Opportunity from the ground up around one of these habits (although you could) but you can definitely combine these with other ideas and make sure that your Learning Opportunities include chances to develop and practice more or more of the habits listed below.
These are a set of habits that help you become more self-directed.
- Situational Learner
- Can you put yourself in the best position for learning? Can you adjust your setting when necessary? Do you consider the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of each Learning Opportunity so that you are in a better position for succeeding?
- Reflect on Mistakes and Grow
- Mistakes happen and are expected. Are you able to embrace your mistakes as opportunities for growth and improvement or do mistakes send into a negative spiral?
- Take Initiative
- Are you willing to stand up and speak for yourself? Can you lead when necessary? Can you be an advocate for yourself?
- Understand the mind and learning
- The human mind isn’t always logical and full of common sense. Understanding about cognitive biases, memory, motivation, and learning can help you develop strategies and mindsets that work with the mind instead of against it.
- Accept responsibility
- Do you find a way to blame everyone and everything else or do you accept that you are the one in charge of your own learning?
- Follow your curiosity, passions, and interests
- A self-directed learner has developed the habits of listening to their own curiosity and interests and being able to find interesting things and interesting questions wherever they look.
Caring Habits are all about giving proper consideration to the needs of yourself and the needs of other people.
- Contribute to the u.school Community
- Participate in Communitas, join a committee, clean up, help out a classmate, show up for Meta. Be a participant in the community of learners at u.school.
- Contribute to the Springfield Community
- We are a part of the downtown Springfield community. Do some things to make that community better. Engage with Springfield’s history, service organizations, politics, social movements, etc.
- Contribute to another community
- Contribute to a community outside of school (think…clubs, sports, online groups, gaming, church, service organization, cultural organization, politics)
- Attitudes (Savoring, Gratitude, and Forgiveness)
- Intentionally fostering certain attitudes has immediate and long term benefits. Appreciate and enjoy the things in your life.
- Awe makes us happier: Research shows that people have higher well-being on days when they have positive experiences of awe, compared to days with no awe. In another study, participants who imagined viewing Paris from the Eiffel Tower reported feeling more satisfied with life than participants who imagined viewing a plain landscape.
- Consider Others (Kindness, Altruism, Compassion, and Empathy)
- Focus your attention outwards. Get out of your own head and consider the needs of others.
- Healthy habits (Sleep, Eating, Exercise)
- Some of the easiest, least expensive routes to life satisfaction is to focus on good sleep habits, good eating habits, and regular exercise.
- Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
- Social Connection
- When researchers refer to the concept of social connection, they mean the feeling that you belong to a group and generally feel close to other people. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that this is a core psychological need, essential to feeling satisfied with your life.
Habits of confidence come from unconditional self-reflection. Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one who is a work-in-progress. Everyone is.
- Be playful and have fun as part of learning
- We know that children learn through play. Can you keep a childlike sense of playfulness and fun while you learn?
- Embrace open ended problems
- Life isn’t usually a multiple choice quiz. Many problems you will face in life are hard to define and hard to know if you are going in the right direction. Can you face an open ended problem and come up with strategies and solutions or do you only work well if someone tells you exactly how to proceed?
- Eliminate envy, jealousy, and unhealthy comparisons
- Can you assess yourself fairly? Do you tend to put yourself down because everyone else is better or can you be honest and fair with yourself?
- Growth Mindset
- Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning.
- Pursue meaning and purpose
- Do you want to make an impact in the world? Change things for the better? Do some good? Have some deeper meaning in your life?
- Seek out help, criticism, critique, and feedback
- Can you ask for help? Even if it means someone providing honest feedback or critique? Can you accept the help and feedback without spiraling into a negative feedback loop?
- Try new things or explore the unknownHow open are you to new experiences?
- Are you willing to try new things even if it might mean you aren’t very good at it, at first?
It takes time, effort, and patience to become good at something. Everyone starts at the beginning and everyone can continue to get better. Even Steph Curry practices free throws everyday.
- Chopping Wood – Practice Deliberately
- Inspiration isn’t enough. Developing skills and accomplishing goals requires regular commitment to showing up and doing the work.
- Manage an Individual or Group Project
- Managing a project requires planning, understanding the big picture and goals, coordinating people, motivating people, following through.
- Patience, Persistence, and Perseverance
- How do you respond to hurdles? Do you stop and give up or do you find a solution? Accomplishing longer term goals requires facing obstacles and continuing onward.
- Self-control and self-discipline
- Do you have to rely on someone else to remind you to do your work, act appropriately, do the right thing? Or are you in charge of your own actions?
- Signature Strengths
- Your signature strengths are those strengths that are deeply characteristic of you. Research has found that by identifying and using these signature strengths every day you can experience authentic happiness and gratification.
Explore one of these Habits in more detail or pick one of these.