Monday, October 31, 2016

What's Your Mindset?

Do you have empathy?
Are you flexible?

These are the five stances that are characteristic of a growth mindset according to Mraz and Hertz in their book, A Mindset for Learning.  My colleagues and I recently participated in this book study and have spent hours discussing how we can carry these stances into our classrooms in an effort to ensure our students have a growth mindset. 

If growth mindset and fixed mindset are new terms to you, they are really just like they sound. 
People with a growth mindset believe that if they are willing to put in the time and effort, they can be good at anything.  They can learn and grow with effort and practice!  People who demonstrate a fixed mindset believe that they are either good at something or they aren’t.  They don’t believe they change their intelligence or ability.  It is the way it is!

What we have discovered is that as adults, the language we use as we interact with our students has the power to make or break a growth mindset.  One of the worst things we can say to a child is, “You are so smart!”  Oops!  That’s something I’ve said for years and I thought I was saying something wonderfully encouraging and validating.  Just add it to my list of ways I have potentially damaged the children I was trying to help (including my own children)!

Now, I walk around practicing statements such as, “Your hard work and effort paid off!”  “I’m proud of you for not giving up when you started having difficulty!”  “I see you using the strategies we’ve talked about.  Keep it up!”    

I had the realization the other day that we are expecting to see a growth mindset in our students, but what about ourselves?  Are we consistently modeling a growth mindset in our behavior and conversation with others?  We are never going to be perfect (amen!), but I know I need to make a concerted effort to “walk the talk”…the “growth mindset talk!”

I started listening to some of the common complaints of my colleagues and began thinking of what those sentiments would sound like through the lens of a growth mindset.  Check it out below.  Which column sounds like you?

I'm on a mission to hold myself to the same standard I hold my students to.  At the end of each day, I am going to ask myself these questions:

·    What challenges gave me an opportunity to grow my mindset today?
·   How did I demonstrate a growth mindset today?

I am sure I’ll still have some “fixed mindset” moments, but I’m going to remember the wise words of Tony Robbins…

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you’re still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”


Post a Comment