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Habits of Mind: Applying past knowledge to new situations

Posted on Oct. 4, 2017

Applying past knowledge to new situations “We do not learn from our experiences; we learn by reflecting on our experiences.” -John Dewey

As K-2 classes continue to focus on our four core habits, grades 3-8 will add a new habit this month: Applying past knowledge to new situations. What does this look like? When confronted with a new and perplexing problem, people who have honed this habit will draw forth experiences from their past. They often say, "This reminds me of …" or "This is just like the time when I …" They explain what they are doing now with analogies about or references to their experiences. We know that students can sometimes struggle to connect life events or learning to what has come before or what will follow. Our work will aid them in calling upon their store of knowledge and experience as sources of data to support, theories to explain, or processes to solve each new challenge. 

Common language for this habit includes: Know your resources, just like the time when…, recall, bridge, remember, use again, prior knowledge. Books and movies are often a powerful way to explore the Habits of Mind.

Feel free to explore these resources related to our current habit: download an Elementary Reading List, download a Middle School Reading List, or watch a video illustrating this habit.