Monday, June 8, 2015

Building a Growth Mindset School Culture - Continued

How to Help Every Child Fulfil Their Potential - Carol Dweck

Here is the continuation of the steps for building a growth mindset on your campus.

This is a favorite quote of mine that I think sums up the growth mindset.

Step 4: Educate Teachers About the Brain

It is important that teachers and students have a basic conceptual understanding of how the brain works.  The basics are that neurons make new connections when you learn something new, and those connections get stronger with practice and effort.  The more connections in your brain, the denser it is.  The denser your brain is, the “smarter” you are.  To make these connections stronger, you must constantly make connections to prior knowledge and learning.

Think of these connections as creating a trail.  The more frequently the path is used, the fewer barriers stand in the way, and eventually a clear path is created.  That new path represents a clear understanding of the content.

Step 5: Teach Students About the Brain

It is important to introduce and explicitly teach students about the malleability of the brain so that they realize that intelligence is not fixed, but rather, can be strengthened or improved.  Intelligence is constantly changing based directly on their effort, persistence, and motivation.  Goldie Hawn puts it this way, “What we tell our brains, our brains will do.”  For students, you can liken it to the skill of reading.  In reading, the more you read, the better you will be able to read, and if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

Even brief lessons, first graders became more aware of how the brain works instead of just the idea that the brain helps them to think.

Step 6:  Educate Parents

Just as with teachers and students, it is critical that we educate parents about the growth mindset and the brain’s neuroplasticity.  This will be a wake-up call for many of them and will cause force them to look at school in a different light, as well their own role in their child’s learning.

Final Step:  Monitor, Evaluate, and Revise School Protocols

Now that everyone is on board with the growth mindset culture, it is time to make sure that you are in fact working toward this every day on your campus.  Establish “Look-Fors,”  observable behaviors that are evidence of a growth mindset’s presence.  Have ongoing discussions and reflections with staff and students.  Think about how students are placed in classes and instructional groups and adjust accordingly if need be.

You should now be well on your way to having a staff and student body that feel empowered with the knowledge that they are smart and getting smarter every day.

 Link up to win a copy of the MindUp Curriculum level of your choice.

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