Back in 2019, I was asked by SCALE (a Stanford University center) to work on the creation of Deeper Learning modules for pre-service teachers. With support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, educators across the nation have been trying to come up with operational definitions of the Deeper Learning competencies that would lead to successful learning outcomes in the nation’s schools. The Deeper Learning competencies, which must be “teachable, measurable and evidence-based” (Farrington, 2013, p.2), are: mastery of academic content, critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, communication, and academic mindset. I was assigned to a team that was charged with the responsibility of creating a module that focused on academic mindset. We developed a module around the theme of “productive struggle.” How do you get students to take on challenging tasks and stay the course? The module is described on the CUNY TEd OER web site.
This past year, I signed up for an online community of practice facilitated by two Lehman colleagues, Stacy Katz and Sherry Deckman. The title of the asynchronous offering was “Open for Anti-Racism” (OFAR). We were introduced to how open education resources and anti-racist pedagogy could complement one another. Working with colleagues across disciplines and at different stages of their academic careers was both inspiring and humbling. While the content (which was superbly curated and organized) was not entirely unfamiliar to me, much was framed in ways that caused me to re-think how I designed courses for graduate students in the organizational leadership master’s program and how I should approach course design in the new Ed.D. program. I put Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion front and center. By doing so, I recalled the powerful notion of universal design, so much more satisfying than the notion of differentiated instruction. Central to universal design is the power of technology to enhance accessibility and to provide agency to many whose voices have not been heard.
How do these two professional experiences inform my understanding of Costa’s Habits of Mind? First, let me say that the Habits of Mind are not entirely new territory for me. As an educational psychologist, I had come into contact with Costa’s work in the 80’s but had not thought about it in some time. However, my LUTE STEM experience, paired with the SCALE work and new understanding based on the OFAR workshop, have breathed new life into the Habits of Mind for me. Listen to my podcast to find out how my thinking about the Habits of Mind has morphed and taken me to a new place.