Thinking Interdependently in Times of Crisis

The Habits of Mind were identified as the 16 habits of successful critical problem solvers by Dr. Art Costa and Dr. Bena Kallick. In this time of uncertainty, school closings, and unprecedented learning, the Habits of Mind are more relevant to children’s lives than ever before. In this series we are going to identify three Habits and the ways in which they can enrich your child’s learning and empower them in the face of uncertainty.

The ability to work on a team and Think Interdependently has become increasingly valued in education over the last twenty years.


“Problems today are so complex that no one person can solve them all. So, the future is determined by who can work together.”

-Dr. Art Costa


Today’s problems are complex. The world today is more interconnected than ever. As we’ve learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, what effects one of us has the ability to affect us all. In 2020, no person is an island. So what does this mean for the children who will grow up and lead us in the coming decades? They must be able to think and work interdependently, for that is how the world operates.

Though “working together” sounds like an easy thing to teach K-6 students, it can actually be difficult. Children under ten often do not have the cognitive abilities to easily put themselves in another person’s shoes. Because of this, they will frequently think that their point of view is the only valid one, and it is easy to imagine what that kind of thinking would do to a team.

Animation has the unique ability to help a child see and experience another’s feelings and point of view. Children are primed nearly from infancy to watch cartoons and fall in love with the characters. Because of this, it is easy for children to slip into another person’s mind through animation. Animating the Habits of Mind for kids in grades K-6 was a deliberate choice!

Over the coming weeks and months we are sure to see interdependent thinking solving the big problems that we are facing. In order for real learning to occur, children should be primed to recognize Thinking Interdependently when they witness it.