Tag Archives: growth mindset

Growth Mindset and Jo Boaler

9 Oct

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This week as I write the Maths Faculty review, I have been doing some reading by Jo Boaler who writes about growth mindset and mathematics. Her stuff is worth a look which lead me to this week’s reflection.

 

Transformational leadership is more about moving people forward than praising them for where they are. In other words, if leaders want to transform the workplace, they must stop employing the tactic of transactional compliments such as praising people solely based on singular, isolated actions. A mindset of continuous change requires leaders to exceed praise and utilize specific feedback that celebrates growth over time.  This happens when the leader acknowledges not only where someone currently is but how far they’ve come and where they will eventually be one day.  Hence, the leader focuses his feedback on growth instead of the job.

In my role I am working on the following in Term 4.

Growth Feedback

Commenting on a person’s performance over a period of time by showing specific areas of growth helps employees transform their behaviour into more efficient and focused behaviour. Nothing transforms mindsets better than showing people how far they have come in their work. They will focus their efforts on continuing the growth that they are making.

 

Reflective Questioning

Asking reflective questions gives the employee a chance to evaluate their own performance. This also gives the leader an opportunity to gauge if the employee has a false sense of confidence or expectations that are too high. Reflective questions also help the employee see their own strengths and find ways to fix their own problems. The purpose of reflective questioning is to guide people to rate their work and effectiveness.

 

Affirmation Connected to Areas of Weakness

Some people do some things really great and other things not so well. Find opportunities to connect strategies within  the employee’s strengths to their areas of weakness. For example, “if you had done this weakness in the same way that you did the strength, you could possibly get better results”.  This feedback affirms the employee’s strengths while defining how the employee can improve their deficits.

Things to Think About

Another great way to transform people into a mindset of constant transformation is to affirm excellent work by giving them a question that challenges their great work to become even bigger and better. Asking people how they would make changes to their work when they do it again affirms quality while challenging growth.  This challenge by affirmation also tells the employee that you have a lot of confidence in their abilities and the growth they are making .

Good, Better, Best

The word good affirms the present. Better is a step up from good, but by comparing yesterday to today, it solidifies the status quo for tomorrow. Best is the only goal of a transformational mindset.  If we want every member of staff to be their best, each member must constantly know their performance every day without the leader’s input and strive to improve.

A big challenge for 10 weeks but I can only do my best. What is your challenge this term?

 

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More assessment observations

8 Sep

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I am still thinking and reading and writing and considering the ideas of assessment.

In her book Mindset: The new psychology of success, Carol Dweck writes, “…we found that the students with a growth mindset earned better grades in the course. Even when they did poorly on a test, they bounced back on the next ones. When students with the fixed mindset did poorly, they often didn’t make a comeback.”  (p. 61). Moving students forward is guided by the language we use and the example we set. The discourse we model will be internalized and replicated by students. Assessing them happens every day and is infused as a natural part of learning. Timely feedback paired with varied assessment tools supports students on the journey of learning.

When framed properly, hope and assessment are advocates, not adversaries. When assessing students as an open-ended progression, the word yet surfaces. Yet fuels hope, plain and simple. Hope is built upon the idea that setbacks and failure are an essential part of learning. When the journey is valued more than the destination, students build confidence in the process. They develop self-efficacy and believe that success is on the horizon. Once modelled, practiced, and honed, the act of assessing facilitates student learning. Success breeds success, and the result is hope.

Footnote:

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success (p. 61). New York, New York: Random House.

Grit Again

13 Jun

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GRIT and resilience are a key focus now with students and something which is used in conversation a great deal. I have been re reading  Angela Duckworth  on how to develop GRIT with students in mind.  I have discovered this is also an important trait which we need to nurture within us, as teachers.

To deliver effective teaching and learning, teachers need to develop resilience and patience. Some or any of these doubts or worries about your teaching will not only affect us but also negatively impact on the outcomes of our students. The ability to develop resilience, over the course of a year and during a career, is an important ability.

Resilience is developed through the interactions between people within schools. At different times of the year, and at different times of our careers, teachers will need to be more resilient than during previous times. I have even found a study by Patterson, Collins and Abbott (2004) which has shown that resilient teachers have the following characteristics:

  • Have personal views that guide their decision making.
  • Place a high value on professional development.
  • Mentor others.
  • Take charge and solve problems.
  • Stay focussed on students and their learning.
  • Do what it takes to help students be successful.
  • Know when to get involved and when to let go.
  • Are not wedded to one best way of teaching and are interested in exploring new ideas.

I wonder if it is possible to share best practice of resilience or mentor other teachers to be more resilient?

Mentoring others is an important aspect as this allows resilient teachers to support and guide their peers, without being judgmental. In addition, the ability of resilient teachers to stay focused on their tamariki and their learning allows those teachers to strive for the very best outcomes for their students.

Growth Mindset Inquiry

9 May

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I’ve decided to use my inquiry time as an opportunity to catch up on some long overdue reading – starting with ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck.  The theory explored in this book is that there are two types of mindset – fixed and growth.

The diagram below summarises the main qualities exhibited by each one:

dweck_mindset

It’s obvious to see the relevance of this to us as teachers and Dweck presents a very compelling case for it.  Whilst the theory is interesting, what I’m most interested in is what we can do in schools, in lessons, to move more of our students from a fixed to a growth mindset?  This is the real challenge of teaching. So what follows is an initial attempt to look at each of the qualities of the ‘growth mindset and some of the strategies and techniques we use as teachers to develop this in students.

 Embrace challenges

  • Tell students that they will be doing challenging learning in lessons – and tell them why you think they will be able to do it.  Build them up and show you have belief in their success.
  • Plan activities that will be ‘low stress, high challenge’ for all – so, know the abilities of your students and stretch them accordingly.
  • Use the idea of ‘extender tasks’ for the more able – so they are not just given more work to do, but specific, challenging tasks to extend their thinking.
  • Celebrate their successes when they overcome a difficult task or activity.  Discuss with them how they overcame the challenges.

Persist in the face of setbacks

  • Show students strategies they can use when they become stuck e.g. use the 5Bs:

So, when students get stuck instead of asking the teacher straight away, they are encouraged to think about it first (Brain), look in their exercise book/ text book, look on the board (or a display) and finally if they are still stuck, as a friend (Buddy).  If after all of this they are still stuck, ask the teacher (Boss).

Some reading provided me with these next steps:

  • Think carefully about your questioning.  When students are stuck, don’t just give them the answer.  Carefully scaffold your questions to support them with getting ‘unstuck’. Use exams and assessments formatively.  Most importantly, don’t let them give up.

See effort as the path to mastery

  • Praise students specifically for the efforts they are making with their learning.
  • Honesty is required. Provide them with the opportunities within lessons, or a series of lessons, to practice, consolidate  and embed skills and knowledge.  All too often we glance over things, without actually giving students the opportunity to master what they are doing. This also gives them the opportunity to see when they have mastered things – make this explicit to them and celebrate it.

Learn from criticism

  • Whilst formative feedback (written or formal) is important, it only becomes useful when students are given the opportunity to respond to it.

So, much of what great teachers already do will help to develop a growth mindset within their students – this what makes them successful teachers.  Again though, if we think about this in terms of ‘marginal gains’, we should all be able to think about small changes we can make to our classroom practice, to support and develop this even further.

Growing a Positive Mindset in Assessment

23 Aug

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This week I have been doing a great deal of planning around the 2019 academic year. Looking at student courses and special conditions. Confidence is the thing that will help students see possibility and hope It’s this intrinsic state of being that will ensure interventions lead to high achievement. It is important to establishing a positive mindset to develop confidence for students.

Framing intervention in terms of learning is vital. Verbally frame every intervention in terms of what students need to learn more about. Ensure learning targets and essential standards are written and posted on assessments. Convey to students in words and actions that the work they are doing is about learning, not just compliance or completing work. Every student should know what they are learning more about. Intervention should not be about just completing work; it needs to be about gaining skills.

The following has been a successful method for me to establish this.

1. Accurately interpret assessment evidence

Ensure that the assessment evidence that led to the intervention is thoroughly analyzed so that those facilitating or conducting the intervention with students understand the misconceptions leading to students needing this intervention. In the absence of interpreting the assessment evidence, students may get the wrong type of instructional intervention.

2.Teach and facilitate self-assessment

Ensure students are reflecting on their assessment evidence and are seeing that the intervention is helping them learn what they are strong in and also reveals what they get more time to work on. For students in the beginning stages of achieving this essential standard, they may need more support in making the connections between the assessment evidence and their learning. This must be built into the intervention process to ensure that students’ perceptions are framed around learning.

3.Use assessment evidence to check the intervention effect

Ensure that the assessment evidence used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention accurately gathers information on achievement (the essential standard) and student confidence (student perceptions). Check to see if students learned more during the intervention and also check to see if their confidence grew.

 

Inspiring Your Tamariki

6 Aug

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Grit. Perseverance. Tenacity. Growth Mindset. These are term that we use in schools.

We all know we need these qualities. We all know that students need them, too. Admittedly, each term has its own nuances to it, but when I look at them, they seem to be in the same family of characteristics that I want students (and myself) to have.

But for as much as we talk about these in our schools, it sure can seem like it’s hard to find them at times. In some educational conversations, I grow tired of the same, well worn paths being covered over and over, but not with these. Even the repetition of these ideas doesn’t bother me. In fact, it’s probably what I need most. What I need to do is remember the things that are too easy to forget.

Things like Angela Duckworth’s reminder that, “Grit is living life like a marathon, not like a sprint.” Things like the value of a growth mindset. Stuff that’s really simple, but when lived out causes a profound impact. Here are some resources that I have used with my students.

Spirit to Soar is about Charlotte Brown, a Texas high school pole vaulter whose vision has deteriorated to the point that she is legally blind. Yep. You read that right. She’s a blind pole vaulter. Undaunted in the face of what many would consider insurmountable challenge, Brown’s story is pretty incredible. It’s a great one to share with students as they approach the end of a semester, and part of the story really lends itself to conversation about what we listen to and what we allow to distract us. I think those are always conversations worth having.

Catching Kayla is another track and field story, but this one focuses more on the power of relationships and the ways we can support students as educators. Kayla excels as an athlete, but she does that in the face of medical conditions that allow her to continue to compete, but prevent her from even having the strength to stand after finishing her races. It’s a great reminder of the power of giving it our all and the importance of knowing our limits. I think it’s a great reminder of the value of having someone who is there to help when we have given all we have. A great lesson for students and educators alike.

 

 

Being a Growth-Mindset Leader

27 Jun

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This week I made that mistake that is one of the worst. The greatest mistake you can make as a leader is believing that you are better than anyone else; better than you really are.

This week I found myself falling into this trap. I must fight against it, my ego wanting to be fed. Sometimes (ok it is rare) I think that because I am leader I have to be the font of all knowledge, the wisest person in the room, the judge, jury and executioner. I fall into the trap of believing in my own abilities rather than drawing on the collective wisdom and experience of those around me.

According to Carol Dweck, author of “Mindset”, fixed mindset leaders live in a world where some people are superior and some are inferior. They must repeatedly affirm that they are superior.

Leaders with a fixed mindset do not admit or correct their mistakes or deficiencies. They’re constantly trying to prove they’re better than others. Fixed mindset leaders don’t want teams. They want to be the only ‘big fish’ so that when they compare themselves with others they can feel a cut above the rest. They try to intimidate people with their brilliance.

In contrast, wise leaders with a growth mindset seek out the counsel of others, seeking to hear different points of view before making a decision. They have the humility to hand over decisions that really aren’t in their expertise or ability.

Growth mindset leaders don’t define themselves by their position or the organisation they work for. They don’t fall into the trap that so many of us do, of focusing on the institution itself rather than the very purpose for its existence, with the institution and our position within it becoming a reflection of our reputation, something to protect at all costs.

This not you? Then why do we only seek the counsel of those we know will agree with us? Why do we shift the blame and never say sorry? This is my work on next term.

 

Growth Mindset

28 Feb

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My daughter is currently studying growth mindset at school and I have been inspired. We had a conversation this week and she put me onto some really good resources which are reflected here. Students with a growth mind-set achieve at higher levels because they are more likely to persist with challenging problems and have self-belief that they can achieve. But how do we encourage students to have a growth mind-set, and how does mind-set interact with issues of equity? I loved this from Carol Dweck.

As a teacher your tamariki with a growth mindset:

  • Believe that talents can be developed and
    great abilities can be built
    over time
  • View mistakes as an opportunity to develop
  • Are resilient
  • Believe that effort creates success
  • Think about how they learn

As a teacher your tamariki with a fixed mindset:

  • Believe that talent alone creates success
  • Are reluctant to take on challenges
  • Prefer to stay in their comfort zone
  • Are fearful of making mistakes
  • Think it is important to ‘look smart’ in front of
    others
  • Believe that talents and abilities are set in stone, you
    either have them or you don’t.

Doing it Better

21 Oct

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I have a lot on my plate at the moment. Last week I worked over 60 hours at school with many crucial meetings and by the time Friday came around I was tired. As a result, I made a couple of errors and let standards slip. Part of being a good leader though, is recognising when that occurs and doing something about it. And here I go doing something about it.

Yes, I know that leadership in schools in the 21st century is complex and challenging and most of the time I feel like I’m on top of things. On Friday night, it took me one km in the pool that night and a rigorous 8km run on Saturday morning to finally gain control of my emotions and to think it all through and plan a way forward.

You see, there are times when you are tested as a leader, often when you least expect it. The most important thing that I have learned as a leader is to work on your self-leadership skills. If you can’t lead yourself, then you will never, ever lead others successfully.

So what did I learn:

  • Breathe deeply and give yourself time to think. Consider that sometimes your biggest problem may be your biggest opportunity. Choose actions that will make you a better person. Actions that are aligned to your values and reflect what you love to do.
  • Use a Growth Mindset. A Growth Mindset ensures strategies to keep learning and growing. A Fixed Mindset will stall your growth and development and you will find yourself blaming others.
  • Remember that working your way through problems and frustrations will develop your resilience.
  • Remember that it’s not always about you. It’s about what you can do to help others grow and develop.
  • Always focus on learning. What am I learning and how can I improve.
  • There is always tomorrow. The staff at our school are reading one of four books over the summer holidays.

Growth Mindset

2 May

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I have been doing reading by Carol Dweck. I assume that you know what Dweck’s Growth Mindset is all about. If you don’t, have a peek at this video of her explaining its essence.

Dweck’s research falls into the category of most of the best of our research into education, in that it merely ends up confirming the eternal truths of the classroom: turn up, work hard, study, do well; work harder, do better; believe you can improve and you probably will, believe that you can’t and see what happens.

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