Jul 162014
 

I have been thinking a lot about growth mindset lately (really, what teacher is not.) But I have really been trying to come up with positive, constructive ways to model and use it in the classroom as a way to change the learners beliefs.

One way I came up with using it is to have some statements that I can use consistently when learners are struggling in class. My personal challenge when dealing with the fixed mindset is what to say, how to constructively come back with something that will start impacting beliefs. As a teacher, we hear it, but how do we respond? It has to be consistent or we lose their focus. These cannot just be quotes on the wall, but statements delivered with conviction face to face to have an impact.

So, here are some statements I hope to use in my classroom. I am going to print them out and post them where I can see them every day in the morning and before every class to remind myself to use them until I don’t need the list any more.

Learner Says or is Doing: Teacher (ME!) says:
Learner is struggling with material “If it was easy, I would not waste your time with it”
Learner whips through problem, too easy “I apologize for wasting your time, I will find something more appropriate for you.”
“This is too hard.” “What strategies have we discussed that could help you get started?”
“This is too hard.” “It is difficult now, but so was adding in elementary school. You overcame that with effort and you will overcome this with effort.”
“I am not good at this.” “The more you practice the math, the better at it you will become.”
“This is easy.” “I am glad you understand this, can you develop a more complex idea with it that challenges you?”
“This is as good as I can do.” “You can always improve, as long as you give it some more effort. What other strategy have you not used yet?”
“I made a mistake, I can’t do this.” “Mistakes are how we learn. If it was easy, you wouldn’t be learning anything new.”
“This is good enough.” “Is this your best work to show your learning?”
“I didn’t get it on the first try, so I won’t.” “So your plan A didn’t work out. Good thing there are 25 more letters. Start on plan B.”
“You are just too hard on us. We can’t do it.” “I’m giving you this assignment because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.”

 

The goal here is to have a bank of statements that reinforce growth mindset that are easy to memorize, adopt, use and believe in so that every day I am consistently changing the dialogue in the classroom. I have found that it is easy to get sideswiped by a comment and not have a positive response handy. My goal is to fix that.

 

Any suggestions? Additions? Changes?

 

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Some resources for Growth Mindset I will also use come from:

http://mathmamawrites.blogspot.com/2010/07/day-one-of-class-beliefs-about-math.html Sue is an amazing writer and teacher. Her take on this is invaluable

http://mathhombre.blogspot.com/2010/07/growth-model.html Just download John Golden’s Implict Theory of Mathematics Learning worksheet now and give it out the first week of school. I am, and you will be glad you did it too.

http://practicalsavvy.com/2012/01/31/inspiring-quotes-demonstrating-the-growth-mindset/ These are great quotes, but quotes around the room won’t cut it. It has to come from my mouth, every day.

  2 Responses to “Growth mindset in my classroom”

  1. Hi Glenn! I also introduce my students to the most powerful word in the English language – YET. I think I stole that from @fawnpnguyen :~)

    Have fun at TMC14!
    Laurie

  2. Hi, Glenn. What a fantastic list! I’m going to save it and use it, if I may. I think it works for the workplace as well as the classroom. I am a huge Mythbusters fan, and one of my favorite catch phrases of theirs is, “Failure is always an option.” It wasn’t until this year, when I met and started getting to know a new librarian that I really came to believe it. As with mistakes, failures happen. But they should be used as learning tools and as a way to grow. Just my 5 cents.

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