Friday, 30 January 2015

Growth Mindset

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Growth Mindset is a term I came across late last year when I saw the above animation. At that time, I identified with a Growth Mindset, but was a little naive as to how crucial it really was. 

As part of our pre-induction this year, we were asked to read a chapter of Carol Dweck's work (highly recommended), and it really became clear to me that identifying with a Growth Mindset was not enough. I had to be explicitly aware of it.

To have a Growth Mindset is to have a belief that you can do something and put the effort in to achieve it. I really like in this animation that James Nottingham's 'pit theory' is referred to (perhaps unintentionally). I particularly like that the two characters at the end are making their way through a series of pits, of varying sizes - because this is what learning is like. Sometimes you do go backwards but how you learn from that becomes a crucial part of your development. 

With Growth Mindset being a big part of the beliefs at school, I have been thinking about the best way to communicate this to the children - particularly the Y1s and 2s. I think children naturally have a Growth Mindset, but it is up to the adults (teachers and parents) around that child to nurture their growth. In my last classroom I had a small poster on the wall: FAIL - First Attempt In Learning. I was amazed by the number of parents who started a conversation with me about that. So often we forget that failure is a part of learning and developing resilience. As adults we have to be very mindful of how we talk about failure to children. 

Although I've been active on Twitter for some time, I have predominately been a 'lurker' and 'retweeter'. On Thursday I plucked up the courage to participate in the #edchatnz thread on Growth Mindset. In one hour I had some of the most thought-provoking PD and challenged myself against some of the questions being asked. I have a new addiction to Twitter as a result, and will be participating in future #edchats because I can learn about anything!

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