Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Success begins with mindset... one piece of the puzzle #SAVMP

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In this months #SAVMP prompt, Paul McGuire asks “How can you as a leader can help promote and grow the “mindset” on your campus?” In his post he shares:

“It is essential for educators to communicate that they hold a growth mind-set. Recently, we studied college sports teams. At the beginning of the year, we asked athletes to tell us how much they thought their coaches believed success came from natural talent and how much they thought their coaches believed success came from practice and hard work. The more that athletes thought their coaches believed in hard work over natural talent, the better the athletes did that year. Students know what educators value—they pick up their messages and act on them.”

This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of growth mindset, where kids, parents, teachers and leaders feel comfortable taking risks, learning, failing, and growing.

How do we promote it? Where do we start?

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it’s just one piece of a larger puzzle. How can we develop a growth mindset and a climate of risk taking? I think we have to incorporate two other things into our work as leaders-- building relationships and trust, and also inspiring curiosity and creativity with our students, staff, and families.

It’s hard work.

Students don’t always come to us with confidence, and they often hide insecurity and struggle behind a tough facade. How well do we really know our students? I love images like this one, but it’s not enough to just put up signs or posters, or even to just say these things to students.

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Some of our students come to school to be safe and to be loved. Do we really know their stories? This video tells the story of just one student, but it could be the story of many. How do we build relationships with students who may be afraid to trust and afraid to fail? How do we make them feel safe?

The work of building a growth mindset begins with creating a safe classroom and school community. This year at our school we’ve focused on empathy school-wide and started a Kind Kids Club after being inspired by a Central Valley School.

The image below is the wall in the lobby of our school, built by our school counselor. But we didn’t just post it. We’ve talked about empathy and kindness all year- with students, staff, and families, beginning at Back-to-School Night.


Currently, we’re working on building relationships with students by learning from the work of others- blog posts like this one written by Katherine Sokolowski: Classroom Management… or Should it be Mismanagement? and this one by Pernille Ripp: 5 RULES WE IMPOSE ON STUDENTS THAT WOULD MAKE ADULTS REVOLT as well as looking at work done with Restorative Practices & Love and Logic , and we will continue this work all year. Sam LeDeaux also wrote a great post about building relationships with kids and the connection to classroom discipline.

Building a growth mindset also requires inspired and curious minds. We recently watched this video shared by Adam Welcome. How can we create this sense of magic and wonder for teachers and students? What does instruction look like in classrooms to make kids feel this way? How can professional development and parent education inspire teachers and parents to try new things, to learn, and to grow? How can we as administrators say "yes" more often when teachers want to try new things and embrace the mess that is learning?

I’m still searching for tools and resources to help us on this journey to a growth mindset. I'd also like to engage our families in a conversation about the idea of mindset. I'm inspired by Eric Saibel who shared Hall Middle School's (Larkspur, California) first school blog post, written about growth mindset by guest blogger Deb Blum, a parent and Parent Ed Coordinator. How awesome is that? I'm excited about incorporating the ideas she shares here.

There are some great resources out there! Here are a few images and videos I’ve found on this topic.

We're excited to continue this journey! 

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