Must-Reads, Recent + Research-Based

BOMish: April 2019 {“The Power of Habit”}

Photo from Goodreads
  • The Stats: 416 Pages, published January 2014 (but online resources are consistently updated)
  • Who Should Read It: Teachers, school administrators, educational program designers
  • My Rating (out of 5 ♥): ♥♥♥♥
  • My Thoughts: As classroom educators, there are a few key pillars that ensure success during the school year. Besides student and family relationships, one of the surefire ways to elevate learning (and peace of mind) in the classroom is routine… but not just routine for the sake of routine. Excellent routines lead to habits and habits stick. Having had a classroom which relied on routines and a classroom that did not, I can surely say routines and habits are essential for teachers and students alike.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg sheds valuable light into the creation and maintenance of habits, from rising early to exercise to personal growth to marketing hacks and even teeth-brushing. Drawing from a wide range of research, Duhigg serves as a lively interpreter, translating scientific data to easily digestible stories and visuals. Habits, as boiled down by Duhigg, are a predictable cycle of cues and rewards that inevitably establish themselves into routines. These can be positive (as in the case of developing exercise routines) or negative (as in the case of avoiding exercise routines).

How can this be used in the classroom?

Habits in the classroom can also be positive or negative. We might see this with how students use the cue of free time (what are the rewards their after?) and how these eventually lead to habits (such as completing work or distracting their friends). Classroom routines are generally decided upon by teachers, however, they are only successful with student support and action. Creating classroom habits as a class is necessarily unique and curated specially for each classroom. Some examples of how to harness habit in the classroom are as follows:

CUE

  • Students struggle to focus when reviewing units in class before an assessment
  • Students have a hard time transitioning from recess and/or lunch period into academic classes
  • Students begin coming to school late and a high percentage of the class is tardy and productivity suffers

REWARD

  • An engaging, game-based activity that equally promotes learning
  • Students are given a time to transition from recess to classes in an individual, non-academic way
  • All tardies need not be punitive, but timeliness should be encouraged

 

ROUTINE

  • End-of-unit reviews include scavenger hunts and clue-based games
  • Use chime-time (a mindfulness activity), quiet music, or independent writing time after recess
  • Alter the schedule such that the day begins with choice-blocks
  • How might you use habits in your classroom?
  • How can you change existing habits?
  • What habits have been positive in your classroom?