I enjoyed your succinct round-up of habits in the opening paragraph. The key word there is automatic. Then you describe habits as they relate to education. You focus on typical, and often negative, routines used by students. Here, the key word seems to be routine. In other words, there are two distinct meanings of the term ‘habit’.
I’d like to ask you about this difference. Do you think that there’s a critical difference between these two usages, or does the wider sense encompass the narrower one?
As often happens in these discussion points, there are many ways to view a single issue. It seems that routine habits (as opposed to automatic habits) are the ones that most educators think about because of the belief that if students were to adopt good study ‘habits’, their learning would improve. The goal in goal-directed actions is provided squarely by the educators rather than that goal coming from the students themselves. I would argue that ‘good study habits’ are not actually habits. They are exemplars of actions that should be followed. Common English shows this: we talk about ‘getting into the habit’ of taking notes in class, of asking questions to the teacher, of reviewing notes at home, i.e. consciously forcing oneself into a perceived better routine against one’s tendencies. Yet, until the point of automaticity is reached, these are not habits, but proto-habits. Quite likely, many students will never develop these routines fully or consistently.