Tag Archives: Self-Growth

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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Learning from Coaching

22 Oct

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Football coaching for the season finished in September. With my team there were lots and of ups and downs. There were days when we didn’t play so well, while there were days when everything was clicking perfectly. As a coach it was my job to find the areas that needed improvement. Putting players in the best place for them to be successful was crucial, and in the end these decisions decided whether we won or lost. It is a real challenge taking a group of 10 year olds but I do love it.

When we win, it’s real easy to celebrate, but when we lose, it can become a challenge. Players feel defeated. There were lots of days like this in 2018. In short it is difficult to find a victory in a loss, but if the team is going to make any progress, the coach must always find victories in every loss. The best way to do that is to capitalize on the strengths of every player on the team.

So translate that into the school setting. When the scores don’t come back as you expected, how did you react as the leader or the coach? Do you see only loss, or do you see victory? We must rise above the failure of policy and move toward discovering the victory in our tamariki.

Here’s three ways to find victory when you lose

1. Growth in Student Performance.
Looking at individual students or groups of students and how much they have grown is very helpful to find victory.

2. Growth in Skill Performance
Results by skill must be analyzed to determine how much growth occurred from last year.

3. Growth in Individual Teacher Performance
Teacher performance can be analyzed to find the growth that their students experienced from the previous year as well as the skills that grew in achievement. Finding these victories are critical for leaders as this is where coaches can find experts to help other teachers who didn’t experience growth areas.

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 Mind-Set in My Class

3 Apr

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I have been thinking and reading about this this year in my class. There has been a great deal developed regarding this in our mentoring system in school. The following is a summary.

Consistent classroom discussion and modelling from mistakes.

This has concerned me for sometime. Students fear failure. They also fail to try because they make mistakes. I began this semester with a discussion about what growth mindset meant, and how we (our classroom) could use it. Each week, we talked about how “mistakes are when learning happens.” I want students that are hitting The Wall to know that failing isn’t the end and the not understanding a concept is merely the first step on the road to getting it. Creating a growth mind-set, involved lots of frank discussion about learning from mistakes.

Set-aside class time to review mistakes on assessments. 

After our discussion, I returned their first assessment of the semester and told themn(my students)  that they would have the next fifteen minutes dedicated to reviewing mistakes. I posted common errors that I saw on screen and wandered the room giving advice and help. We do this each week now and it gives students a dedicated time for reflection, a chance to access my help, and a non-stigmatized time to review errors. This is key, students will not naturally do this on their own, and I still need to prod some of mine.

Student visualization and ownership of growth.

As students wrapped up their self-assessments, I passed out a log that I had created for them to track their achievement on each of our classroom standards. They get three chances in class, and can then re-assess outside of class. Therefore, I gave them space to see how they were doing. I realized that students were not keeping track of how they were doing over time; I wanted them to see how much they had improved and have quick access to know that they needed to work on. I used to keep track of this, but found that when students have ownership of their scores, they are more apt to do something about the low ones.

Self Reflection Guide

3 Sep

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Self reflection often creates that moment helps you in the classroom. Collaborative reflection is even better. Collaborative dialogues held between teachers, between a teacher and students, or among students cause participants to share their reflections and outline their progress toward the increase of student achievement.

Time should be set aside at the end of a learning sequence—lesson, unit, school day, or year—for participants to question one another about what they have learned and how they can apply their knowledge and skills in future settings.

In an atmosphere of trust, well-crafted questions allow participants to reveal their insights, understandings, and thought processes: As you reflect on this semester’s work, which dispositions were you most aware of in your own learning? What meta-cognitive strategies did you employ to monitor your progress toward your desired outcomes? What insights have you gained that you will use in the future? The resulting dialogue allows staff and students to model and practice listening habits characterized by understanding and empathy, to communicate clearly, and to compose powerful questions.

I have found providing sentence stems might stimulate more thoughtful reflections during portfolio conferences (where reflection can be modeled) or as an option for those who need a “jump start” for reflections:

  • I selected this piece of writing because. . . .
  • What really surprised me about this writing was. . . .
  • When I look at my other journal entries, I see that this piece is different because. . . .
  • What makes this piece of writing strong is my use of . . . .
  • Here is one example from my writing to show you what I mean. . . .

Developing habits of continual growth and improvement requires self-reflection. As we as individuals, staffs, and organizations reflect on our actions, we gain important information about the efficacy of our thinking. These experiences let us practice the habit of continual growth through reflection. With meditation, trust, consistent modeling, and practice, we and our students learn to listen to the internal and external voices of reflection, and in the process, our school communities truly learn by doing.

What are you doing for self reflection in your learning environment?

My Goals in 2014

1 Jul

My NAPP experience in 2013 has taught me that a great leaders set goals and I find those easy as I have always been a prolific list maker. This list of five goals will be on my desk as a daily reminder of what I am pointing to achieve. It sits alongside my daily ten which I try to stick to every day.

1) – I will have high expectations for students, staff and myself. I will help to empower others to take control of their own learning and development by establishing an environment built on accountability and I will support and encourage those with whom I work. I will work to embrace a sharing and collaborative school culture that takes risks in an effort to do great things.

2) – I will listen more than I talk. I will use my two ears more than I use my one mouth, and I will try to learn as much as I can from others. I will make it a priority to get into classrooms to observe on a daily basis, and I will learn by listening and observing.

3) – I will communicate with and involve parents and community stakeholders as often as possible. I will work with teachers and staff to keep parents informed and up-to-date with what is going on in our school through the use of weekly newsletters, our school website and social media outlets.

4) – I will base every decision I make on what is best for students. It is difficult to not get caught up in everything that is going on, but I will make every effort to put students and their needs first.

5) – I will have a healthy balance between my professional and personal life. Though I anticipate the high level of time commitment required for this job, I do not want my job to consume my entire life. My family, friends and colleagues will all benefit from this healthy balance.
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