What Are Positive Learning Dispositions, Habits of Learning and Learning Mindsets?

What Are Positive Learning Dispositions, Habits of Learning and Learning Mindsets?

July 30, 2021

Learning dispositions, or habits of learning, are the different characteristics with which children approach the learning process. More specifically, some have referred to dispositions as enduring habits of mind and action, and the tendency to respond to situations in characteristic ways. A child’s disposition to learning affects the attitude with which they learn. This, in turn, directly affects the effort that they are willing to put in. Positive learning dispositions goes a long way to creating positive learning outcomes.

For children to have a positive approach to learning, we need to explicitly teach them how to learn. We need to help our students understand that different habits and ways of thinking can make learning easier. Yu Neng Primary School has identified four key learning dispositions to focus on, namely Reflectiveness and Readiness (categorised as habits of mind); Resourcefulness and Relatedness (categorised as habits of action). The first disposition under each category are personal dimensions, while the second are team dimensions. As all four are equally important and can only be effective learners when we have developed both habits of mind and action, along both the personal and team dimensions, as learning is both a personal and social undertaking. Teachers are encouraged to diligently plan learning experiences that help children acquire skills and the dispositions to use those skills.

Key learning dispositions

Key Learning Dispositions

Learning Mindsets are similar to learning dispositions and habits of mind. Different schools develop their own approaches based on their own contexts.  Staff of Bukit View Secondary, for instance, have developed a set of four learning mindsets  which are integrated them with their school values, expected student behaviour and school outcomes.  They have also incorporated the learning mindsets into Teaching and learning documents, including lesson planning and lesson observation templates. To support the learning strategies used in the classroom, teachers built in Positive Relationships and Positive Engagement within the classroom so that students feel they belong to a learning community, and that their ability and competence can grow with every effort. They weave Positive Purpose into lessons so that students know every piece of work has value for them. Teachers also scaffold their lessons, differentiate learning materials and set achievable targets for individuals so that students “can succeed” (Positive Accomplishment).

The effectiveness of the strategies hinge on the training that was conducted for teachers to help them understand and develop character strengths, set clear learning goals and avoid normative comparisons of students.  Teachers were coached to provide actionable feedback to students, and help students understand the purpose of feedback and how to take feedback positively.

Positive Learning Roadmap

The content above is summarized from some of the feature articles on this website.

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