Mindsets, Resiliency, and what it means to be a learner

I read Carol Dweck’s book on Mindsets this summer, and have been wanting to write about it since. I’d put all of the links below into a draft, and left it languishing in the hopes that I’d be able to turn it all into a coherent post. Which I may be able to do eventually, but the readings for one of my classes this week covers this topic, which has only muddied my thinking (in a good way). My thoughts on this topic are still coming together, so I thought I’d just share some of the questions and ideas rattling around my brain:

  • The way teachers think about learning–and how their students learn–clearly matters. Given that, how does that change how we think about teacher preparation and professional development?
  • Content knowledge is important, and knowing how to teach content and concepts is as important as it ever was. But what about an understanding of resiliency and how students develop it? As important as content knowledge? More important?
  • I’ve been thinking about the idea of “When the student is ready a teacher appears.” But our students are in school whether they’re ready or not–and so are the teachers. How do we make our schools place where students can be ready for learning? What does that look like? What happens to the student who–for any number of reasons–isn’t ready
  • How is easy/hard is it to change the language we use with each other and our students we when talk about learning? It’s one thing to “know” these things, and another thing entirely to weave them into the culture of a school.
  • How does this change how we should think about our own learning as teachers? Do we need to be more transparent with our students about we learn and how we think about our own learning?
  • How do we embrace a growth mindset as teachers? Not just about our students’ learning, but about our own teaching? How do we keep growing as professionals?

And some of the articles I’ve found interesting as I’ve thought about this topic:

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2 thoughts on “Mindsets, Resiliency, and what it means to be a learner

  1. Excellent statement of the problem and a very cogent approach to solving it, but where does the home situation fit in? How does the teacher ensure that the daily lessons are being enforced at home and reenforced by the students studying the material. A solution is to make certain the students are challenged to the point where they want to learn more. Do you remember the old magazines that offered novels on a weekly basis? Many couldn’ wait until the next installment to see what happens next. That is the key to helping students want to learn. Imagine the angst when the TV malfunctions just before the final field goal is kicked. To what end might a football fan go to find out????

    1. Thanks for your comment! I do think the the home situation plays a role, but I also know there’s only so much we as educators can do to influence it. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how we talk about growth mindsets with parents–and with students. I think it’s important to share these ideas with all members of a school community, but I also think it’s important in a way that’s accessible and meaningful.
      And I agree completely about needing to tap into students interests for learning. I think if the goal is to teach certain skills, a lot can be gained from putting those skills in the context of a topic a student is passionate about.

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