The article “Mind over Matter” by Louis Reynolds and Jonathon Birdwell resonates well with my current school environment. This is my first year in the school and lately the conversation has shifted to the perceived effort of the students and their lack of perseverance. This is not isolated to my school culture but many of our schools see this lack of engagement that identifies itself through students seemingly giving up, or struggling to begin a task. It seems that students have learned not to struggle through a task but at times to shut down and become frustrated with the assignment.
This frustration is devastating to the learning process and it is encouraging that mindset is being shown as a manner in which to provide students with an increased ability to try. That students can improve on their grit, persistence, ambition, resilience and self belief is encouraging. Personally I feel that this growth is centered on how we interact and speak with people. The phrasing that is used to motivate and provide feedback is crucial to the development of the right mindset. Praising effort over ability has always prompted more effort whether it was in an academic setting or just building something in the backyard.
I was quite interested to hear of the teaching of a growth mindset and how schools worked to overcome the fixed mindset culture and improve the interactions between staff and students. For our school we have identified the need of a growth mindset in our students and as we struggle to make this work, it may be best to define what we mean by growth mindset and ensure that all staff are speaking and acting in that framework.
Our action theory statement could be – If we model and teach through a growth mindset then students will develop the ability to be more resilient in their learning.