"Well, I have a fixed mindset and I just can't do it," a student brazenly declared to me as she reluctantly began a challenging assignment at the start of last June. "A fixed mindset? I replied. "After all of our lessons and experiences in class for a half of a year, your "go-to" response to an activity that requires some perseverance is still, "Well, I have a fixed mindset"?
This brief classroom experience got me thinking about some questions:
1) Where did I, as a teacher, go wrong?
2) Does it take more than six months for students to change behaviors that have been part of their lives for 14 years?
3) What do I need to do differently this year to get my "wonderful" Mindset lessons to stick?
Last year, I introduced lessons about Mindset as my classes engaged in READ 180 Universal's Getting Started Workshop and worked on their first software segment titled "Mindset Matters." Equipped with lessons, posters, projects, examples, and fun games, I was certain that my struggling students would learn the Mindset lessons. And this they did! And quite successfully, I may add, but partly on a question and answer level.
Applying the Mindset concepts to their lives, both in and outside of school, presented another challenge entirely... a challenge I had to confront with my learners all year long.
Although my students could identify mindset behaviors that were either "growth" or "fixed," they struggled with the effort it took to change their daily practices to reflect a new "growth" Mindset attitude.
I also daily modeled a "growth" mindset while I taught lessons that included vastly new technology and a new curriculum to boot. My students (ready with applause) energetically acknowledged my perseverance, efforts, and success with these challenges. But when push came to shove, it was still difficult for some of them to apply the new Mindset concepts and lessons to their lives.
So this year, at Open House, I am going to present an overview of "Mindset" to my students' parents and also share this concept with the other teachers who teach my students throughout the day.
I am hoping, that with more exposure, application, modeling, consistency, examples, and experiences, that my students will internalize and apply a growth mindset in their lives this school year.
Mindset is crucial, and it is critical for our students to learn and believe that their brains and behaviors can change with effort, determination, encouragement, and persistence.
Stay tuned and share with the Community your stories about teaching Mindset to your students.
Also, read my former blog about Mindset to learn how I introduced this concept to my students.