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The Importance of Habits: Attributes of a FCLA Student

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

Fox Cities Leadership Academy (FCLA) engages students in intellectual activities, which develop habits that will inform and enrich their graduates' lives. A simple display of knowledge, however accurate or rich, is only a beginning. Students who can use knowledge, and who are in the habit of using it, are prepared for success in post-secondary education, work, and citizenship.

Developing such habits only happens with in-depth practice. FCLA students are immersed in
investigations and explorations that require them to pose problems, discover answers, apply their learning in new ways, and communicate with others. FCLA students experience such learning—and show evidence of that learning—by performing worthwhile tasks for real audiences and community partners.

Intellectual life is challenging, diverse, and rewarding. It requires initiative and independent thinking. Students at FCLA develop a willingness to figure things out. A diverse and engaged FCLA faculty encourages FCLA students to think and to take responsibility for their own learning. Students don’t expect to be given answers, but they know they can uncover them, and readily join in the spirit of shared inquiry.

At FCLA there are opportunities to imagine how others feel and see the world. Students respect evidence, distinguish good data from bad, and gather factual support for their ideas. FCLA students learn – often through the strong connection FCLA has with community business/industry partners -- to communicate those ideas powerfully in a variety of media, becoming skilled speakers, writers, and users of technology.

What Are These Quality Habits?

It is important that FCLA students discover and explore the rich content areas of communication (language arts/visual and performing arts), empirical reasoning (science), social reasoning (social studies), and quantitative reasoning (math) embedded in diverse professions. These explorations result in developing dispositions for learning—habits of mind, work, wellness, service, and community. Gaining key content knowledge and skills supports the development of habits. Developing these strong habits empowers students to be successful in any endeavor—long after they have graduated from high school.

Habits of Mind shapes our attitudes toward learning and the world around us. Humility allows us to acknowledge that there are things we don’t know. Curiosity and passion push us to explore, to take risks, and to find answers. Reflection helps us to discover areas to improve and to celebrate successes to duplicate in future experiences.

Habits of Work are essential to productivity. Employers seek those who can not only solve problems, but frame problems and think critically. They seek those who can work well independently and as part of a team. Being self-disciplined means doing what needs doing even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Managing time rather than being ruled by it leads to meeting deadlines with quality projects. 

Habits of Wellness ensures a healthy mind, body, and spirit for many years of productivity. Understanding real-life influences on health and making healthy choices is key. Strong self-awareness and emotional intelligence also lead to truly enjoying one’s life and work.

Habits of Service
encourage us to care and want to give back to the various communities we are a part of, to contribute to the team, to encourage others, to be involved citizens, and to breed success.

Habits of Community
guides numerous FCLA academic interactions. At various times, students act as coaches, facilitators, leaders, advocates, innovators, mediators, negotiators, designers, supporters, organizers, and ambassadors. They respect and value the worth of every individual, the value of community, and help one another to succeed!
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