Hobsonville Habits – Tracking Learning Dispositions

At Hobsonville Point we believe that personal excellence and academic excellence are intricately intertwined. A part of holding high expectations is that we have a set of ‘Hobsonville Habits’ (Habits) which we use explicitly to help students engage in deeper learning and develop effective life-long learning habits.  

One aspiration of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) is that young people will be “confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners.” The Hobsonville Habits have been developed as a way to actualise this mandate. As a school we aspire to create a “stimulating, inclusive learning environment which empowers learners to contribute confidently and responsibly in our changing world.” The Habits are integral in seeing our vision realised.

In ‘Dispositions: Critical Pathways for Deeper Learning’ Costa and Kallick explain that “we must all think anew about the important outcomes of education as we prepare students for a vastly different future than that we have known in the past. The first task is to identify what we believe to be the critical dispositions of deeper learning and then suggest ways to design instructional and assessment strategies intended to cultivate the growth of deeper learners over time.”

As our Habits are an attempt to unpack what it means to be a successful life-long learner they include contributive, responsive, resourceful, reflective, compassionate, adventurous, creative, curious, purposeful and resilient. In our effort to empower learners, it is necessary to consider methods for tracking and assessing the growth of these dispositions. Margaret Carr & Guy Claxton iterate that while “no single method is adequate on its own” it is necessary to develop “instruments and approaches that integrate” different assessment methods.

In an attempt to help students assess and track habit progression, I adapted a tool initially developed by Bill Lucas, Guy Claxton and Ellen Spencer. They created a framework for teachers to assess the development of young people’s creativity, and associated processes for trialling in schools. (see Progression in Creativity)

Students choose any number of Habit cards that best represent them. On each of the Habit cards are indicator statements to help students unpack what each of the Habits might look like in practice.

Habit Cards – PDF for Printing Habit Cards

Once students had chosen their cards they used the Habit Tracking Tool to ‘map’ their strengths and goals. From the centre of the tool they highlighted segments according to how they felt they exemplified their chosen habits. The scale moves from awakening (very little), accelerating (a bit), advancer (a fair bit/most times), amplifying (a lot/regularly) and adept (role model).

Habit Tracking Tool


Students were required to self assess and then to consider what evidence they could produce to support their individual assessment. As a part of this process, students will regularly update their progress, supported by their learning story.

The outer ring was used by students to write down specific examples or goals for each of the habits. Some students completed all segments as an ‘overview’ of their current state. Others only completed segments they were prepared to focus on over the next few weeks.

The tracking tool is an attempt to help students unpack what the habits look like and to determine how they might be progressing with each of the dispositions. With this trial students felt comfortable at identifying their strengths and confident to identify aspects they wanted to work on. We will regularly update the Tracking Tool, providing new copies as necessary. Understanding that while “no single method is adequate on its own” it is a starting point. Used in conjunction with other tools it may help students to further develop as life-long learners, determined to achieve both personal and academic excellence.


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