On July 10 & 11 the administrators of the Mineola UFSD spent two days developing professional development around growth mindset, while developing our own growth mindset. The day began with a kick off by our Superintendent, Dr. Nagler (@NaglersNotions), who shared with the team an email from "Amelia." Amelia, a student of his from 1999, sent an email thanking him for stopping a bully from tormenting her in middle school. 1999!!!!... "you never know the impact that you will have on your students" was the message Dr. Nagler conveyed.
Mr. Gaven (@mattgct), our Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Technology then outlined the year of work ahead of us all. The professional development cycle this year will focus on teaching all teachers about growth mindset while also affording teachers choice throughout the year in the areas of feedback, classroom management, engagement, advanced literacy, and Tier I interventions.
Jennifer Maichin (@Jennmaich) then began with an overview (and in-depth look) at Growth Mindset, reminding the group that you are not one or the other. WE all have areas of growth and fixed mindsets. Growth mindset is a way of thinking, it is a strategy for dealing with all sorts of challenges that you face in your life. Students put themselves in categories of what they can and cannot do well.
"Growth Mindset is the understanding or belief that a person can develop their intelligence & abilities..... period."
- When we don't know the answer or feel we don't have the ability to do something
- When we make an error, reveal deficiencies, or try to hide a mistake
- When we are criticized, feel threatened, get defensive
- When we experience failure or do poorly compared to others
- When we are anxious or in conflict with peers, in "fight or flight" mode
- When we are overconfident
As individuals, we took the mindset survey. One half of the room tried to answer with a fixed mindset, while the other half answered with a growth mindset. Some of the survey statements were:
- No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it a good amount.
- You can learn new things, but you cannot change your basic amount of intelligence.
- I like learning something new when it challenges me and makes me think hard.
You must constantly hear your fixed and growth mindset voice.
"If a child believes that failure is a result of not being smart enough or not having enough ability, they often avoid challenges or give up easily."
"If a child believes that failure is a reason to increase the amount of effort needed for success, they often embrace challenges and succeed."
To hear that voice, we heard "Sophia" and "Tristan" in Interviews with Lisa Blackwell. We heard Sophia talk about limits on her learning and not being "good" at something. She also talked about her perception of what a smart person looks like. Tristan was a sharp contrast. "Trying makes me smart." "I never put myself down."Participating and doing my best makes me feel smart." His growth mindset was clear!
Can we intentionally develop a growth mindset in students? Repeated studies of all ages of children across all socio-economic status and all levels of intelligence show that "praise for effort has dramatically different results for kids than does praise for intelligence."
Carol Dweck reminds us that "Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control, and they come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child's control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure."
The Effective Effort Rubric assesses the learning process and the effective effort that a learner applies. Learning to hear your fixed, mixed, and growth mindset voice is important when addressing the following seven needs of all learners.
- Taking on Challenges
- Learning from Mistakes
- Accepting Feedback and Criticism
- Practice and Applying Strategies
- Perseverance (focus on task)
- Asking Questions
- Taking Risks
Our work as a district will be ongoing. The parallel tracks we will follow will focus on professional development, classroom materials (videos), a year-long documentary, and teacher resources. We will continue to model life-long learning as we improve the experience of school for our students. We are also lucky to have Eduardo Briceno for our opening day Keynote in September! As a leader at Mindset Works, which helps people develop as motivated and effective learners through training and resources to foster growth mindset beliefs and behaviors, he will push our learning to the next level.