January 27, 2015

Supporting Classroom Instruction - Growth Mindset

A recent set of experiences have reinforced for me the importance of a growth mindset when working in education reform. The first was in a professional learning session with administrators and program coordinators in which I heard the following: "It doesn't matter if teachers understand the Common Core and the Shifts if they don't believe students can do the work". Indeed! And I would add that students also need to believe they can do the work. Co-teaching with Andrew Protz at Innovations High School, this point has repeatedly been brought home. We note that our students regularly reflect a fixed mindset - 'I can't do that', 'this is too hard for a student like me'.

How might educators support a change in mindset? Part of this work we can do for ourselves as professionals and part we can do with students.  In the coming weeks, I will post resources educators might use to build their own capacity around a growth mindset and ones they might use to build students' capacity.

As a start in our own classrooms, Andrew and I are starting to include information, research, and activities to help build a growth mindset and culture in our classroom. The first of these was a video by Sentis called 'Neuroplasticity'  (embedded below) that we paired with discussion questions (What claim does this video make about learning? What evidence does the video use to support this claim? What does this information imply about learning at Innovations High School?).

A great start to building educator capacity around a growth mindset are a suite of Teaching Chanel videos and the Ted Talk embedded below featuring Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor who has done a great deal of research around mindsets.

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