Home' Capricornus Quarterly : September 2011 Contents Reading
Here is a sampling of
authors and books in
which persistence is a
theme. For more reading
ideas please go to www.
com and click on
Bilbilography of Student
THE HABITS OF MIND: PERSISTING
by Reniece Carter, Director of Learning
Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality;
the other, a matter of time. Marabel Morgan, The Electric Woman
In his book, Habits of Mind -- Discovering
and Exploring, Art Costa states that,
"ef cacious people stick to a task until it
is completed; they do not give up easily."
As teachers, developing the habit of
persisting is crucial for student learning
both within our classrooms and for their
journey in life. The ability to persist, to
stick to a task and remain engaged in
nding the answer is the key to success.
It is important to realise that persisting
does not only mean not giving in. For
RGS students, and in fact everyone, it
means: analysing a problem or task;
developing a system or strategy to attack
a question or task; seeking and nding
appropriate help; approaching a task in
a different way; examining a question
or task from a different viewpoint; and
having a method to know how to begin
the steps involved and the data to gather
in order to assist. Students from Prep
to Year 12 will often make comments
such as "I can't do this", "It's too hard",
or write down any answer to get the
task over with as quickly as possible.
Students may 'throw in the towel'
simply due to the fact they have a limited
repertoire of problem solving strategies.
By focusing on this Habit, it is our aim as
educators to give students the ability to
look for alternatives and to know what
persistence looks like, therefore knowing
how to implement it. As Conrad Hilton
says "Success is connected with action.
Successful people keep moving. They
Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina The peddler carefully and precisely arranges his caps
repeatedly. When the caps are stolen by the monkeys, he uses
the monkeys' own tricks to get them back.
Are You My Mother?
by P. D. Eastman
A bird being hatched nds that his mother is nowhere in sight,
so he searches for her asking animals and many objects if they
are his mother.
Prep, 1, 2, 3
by William Steig
Abel, stranded on an island, learns how to survive winter on
by E.B. White
Wilbur, a lovable pig, is rescued by Charlotte, a beautiful and
by J.R.R. Tolkien
In quest of a stolen treasure, a wizard and a hobbit go through
a series of fantastic adventures.
After the War
by Carol Matas
Having survived Nazi concentration camps, Ruth Mendenberg
faces another challenge --- leading others on a dangerous
journey to Palestine.
9, 10, 11, 12
by Toni Morrison
Told in ashbacks, this historical novel deals with slavery and
its dehumanising legacy on individuals and families.
9, 10, 11, 12
make mistakes but they never quit." It is
this that all RGS teachers want to develop
and promote in our students. Pam Drillis,
Head of Home Economics, cultivates
persistence by encouraging students to
attempt all tasks and not be frightened
of being incorrect with their rst effort.
Getting students to break tasks into small
components, modelling structured answers
and encouraging students to employ the
strategy of trying something new when
one method is not working is how Karen
Krause, Head of Business Studies, applies
the habit of persisting in her classroom.
Mathematics teacher, Long Lieu, shows his
students how to break down and simplify
problems via the use of a matrix or graphic
organiser. Whilst Science teacher, Megan
Hunt, gives students the advice of 'never
give up', she also gets students to think
about other options they have in the
classroom to help them solve a problem,
such as other students, the Internet, the
teacher or reviewing examples from the
If we recall the Road Runner cartoon,
Wile E. Coyote is a wonderful example
of the use of persistence; he never gives
up, tries different methods and takes a
break before returning for another shot.
He also seeks help and maps out different
methods of attack. The movie Castaway
clearly demonstrates the art of persistence
and is often used in our classrooms as a
discussion tool for this particular Habit.
As parents, it is important to realise that
persistence, as with all the Habits are never
fully mastered, but continually practised,
modi ed, and re ned. All teachers at the
School aim to promote and model the use
of the Habits so that over their education
at our School, students learn to perform
the habits automatically and without any
Read more at: http://ww w.instituteforhabitsofmind.com
Teaching and Learning at The Rockhampton
Grammar School is based upon the
Dimensions of Learning Framework. The
School's learner-centred approach emphasises
deliberate development and use of complex
reasoning processes (or higher-order thinking)
by our students.
The fth dimension which forms part of
the framework is known as Habits of Mind.
The Habits are what people do when they
behave intelligently as they are confronted
with problems, the resolutions to which are
not immediately apparent. Developed by Art
Costa, an Emeritus Professor of Education at
California State University - Sacramento, the
Habits (16 have been identi ed) are drawn from
research on human effectiveness, descriptions
of remarkable performers, and
analyses of the characteristics of
ef cacious people.
Every quarter we bring you a
description and elaboration of
one of the Habits.
The rst Habit is Persisting.
Capricornus Quarterly September 2011 | 15
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