Thave been exposed to the idea of the growth mindset throughout the courses I have completed at Jewell. I agreed with 7 out of the 7 growth mindset questions and I agreed with 0 of the fixed mindset questions on the growth mindset quiz. Though it seems that my current thinking favors the growth mindset I am unsure that I applied this in my classroom. When | think back on my classroom this year I am not confident I was fostering a growth mindset. After reading, “The Secret to raising smart kids,” “Even geniuses work hard,” and “Academic Tenacity” Thave a better idea of how to support a growth mindset within my classroom.
In this reflection I am going to start by talking about my current mindset and how that applied to my classroom this year. Then I will finish with my ideas for the upcoming year and the strategies I would like to try in my classroom to ensure short term and long-term student success. This year I worked at a school labeled as low-income or title I. My students had very specific social, academic, and basic needs. I started the year with a very positive attitude. I had a great year the previous year and I was ready to carry on into the year.
As the year went on I noticed how much different this group of students was compared to my last group. I’m not sure why this was a shock because this was of course an entirely new group of students. After reflecting on the growth mindset a couple things became very clear. About 4 of the students in my classroom seemed to struggle with everything academically and socially. They obviously felt completely powerless and I did not do a good job challenging them in the right way. They wanted very badly to prove that they were worthy and smart.
I sometimes attempted to encourage my students by saying “thank you for showing me your work you are very smart! ” Dweck believes that this type of praise does not foster a growth mindset. The focus on performance goals within my classroom was also an issue. Too much focus was put on meeting performance goals (benchmark scores, reading levels, summative assessment scores) in my classroom. When students did not meet these goals it did not create any academic tenacity. It created a sense of bitterness and discouragement. I tried to encourage my students, we tracked our progress in data tracking notebooks.
This did make student learning more visible and my students were very excited and motivated to track their progress. However, I did not explicitly teach or model the idea of learning as a process or the importance of growth and challenges. In the article, “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” Dweck presents the idea of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. The idea individuals with a fixed mindset want to look smart and want others to think they are smart and capable without looking like they are putting forth much effort stuck out to me.
Last year | had two students in my classroom that I saw having this issue. One was a very intelligent student and one was a student that struggled academically. Both students wanted to show they were smart. The struggling student was desperate to get one math question correct to show the class he could do it. When we would look at his strategy together or when his answer was not quite correct he would shut down and decide he was done with math for the day. The very intelligent student, who did not struggle mastering fourth grade skills would speed through her work and be done.
When I would ask her about the strategies she used or check her work she would get very defensive. I created a plan to challenge her hoping she would eventually be able to challenge herself. When the activities became “too hard” she would decide she was done. I would like to help my students develop a growth mindset so all students will feel the benefits of learning as a process, no matter their current ability level. Dweck looks at the long-term benefits of having a growth mindset in the article, “Even Geniuses Work Hard. ” The idea that aving a growth mindset can lead students to become life long learners was inspiring. Not only will students be successful when they are in the classroom, but this is something they can carry with them forever. This can be very powerful to teachers and students. I want my students to have a positive attitude towards learning and always look for opportunities to grow.
Dweck believes that creating meaningful work and encouraging students to enjoy challenges is one way to build that life long love for learning. “Lets solve this mystery! is one of the ideas that Dweck shared in, “Even Geniuses Work Hard. ” I want to use this in my classroom. When I am faced with a challenge and my students are faced with a challenge it is fun to look at it like a mystery. Mysteries are exciting and challenges should be exciting too. By looking at challenges in a different way I hope to encourage my students to build a love for learning. Dweck also talked about the importance of using the word “yet. ” Students may not have a skill “yet” however they are working on learning and growing so they can master this skill.
By using the word “yet” or “not yet” teachers are recognizing learning as a process that takes time. Encouraging students to be patient and continue to show great effort is important to learning and growing over time. When reading, “Academic Tenacity: Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning” | reflected on a couple important teaching strategies I would like to apply to my classroom. One that stood out to me was the idea of setting up cooperative goals within a learning community.
The importance of growing and working together towards a common goal can help students feel motivated and increase the feeling of belonging (Dweck, Walton & Cohen). The sense of belonging is very powerful. It stood out to me that minority students value cooperative goals over individual goals as well as value other students who favor cooperative goals (Dweck, Walton & Cohen). Creating cooperative goals can also lead to a powerful sense of belonging and pride of the learning community.
Students need o feel like they belong socially and academically. In my classroom I am good at giving students attention and building a relationship, but this year I want to work on viewing our learning community as a team. We are working together to learn and grow. Overall these three articles gave me a lot of strategies to implement in my classroom. I am interested to see the difference in my student’s mindset this year after focusing on a growth mindset. I have not been fostering a growth mindset in some areas of my instruction.
I would like to refer back to the growth mindset and focus on the implementation and how it will look in my classroom. I know developing a growth mindset will positively affect my student’s short term and long-term success. Thope to reflect on these questions as I move through the year: Will my students become life-long learners? Will my students be more willing to practice skills outside of school? Will my students show a greater motivation to learn? Will my students feel like they belong?