The Habits of Experts

You should know what “experts” are if you have ever used the word near my father, because he has immediately told you: “Experts – ‘ex’ is a has-been, and ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure.” Most of us have listened carefully to former drips under pressure and profited thereby.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about “habits” since coming into the classical framework of Christian education. Lately it has led me into the works of Charlotte Mason. I recommend her work on this topic highly. But I saw something in Educational Leadership today that struck some similar chords of harmony with what Mason has been teaching me. I am just throwing this little list out for more discussion and thought.

In an article titled, “The Strive of It” (Educational Leadership, Feb 10, p. 52ff) there is a call out box titled simply “the Habits of Experts.” It contains the following habits common to all experts:

  • Ask good questions
  • Break problems into parts
  • Look for patterns
  • Rely on evidence
  • Consider other perspectives
  • Follow hunches
  • Use familiar ideas in new ways
  • Collaborate with others
  • Welcome critique
  • Revise repeatedly
  • Persist
  • Seek new challenges
  • Know yourself

Not a bad list, though I might argue some with a few of them. Any of those strike home at what is going on in your classroom? Are these some of the habits we are cultivating in our students?


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