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Instructional update 8-27-19
Kathy House
Tuesday, August 27, 2019

As I shared last week, our walkthroughs will look a little different this year.  I have attached the tool we will engage with during our first round which will take us through September.  Each week in my instructional update, I will provide some tools to help you unpack what it means in our classrooms to have An Equitable Learning Environment-demonstrating beliefs about learning.  Walk-through tool A This is also found in the lime green section of our learner centered anchor chart that will guide our instructional practice this year. Learner Centered Anchor Chart Your principals will also be providing you with some additional tools to support you during your staff meetings.

This week I want to focus on building a growth mindset, as this is foundational to an equitable learning environment that supports all learners.

Here is a 2 min clip defining mindset and its impact on the learner…

How Can I Help Students Develop a Growth Mindset?

When students have a fixed mindset, it’s hard to get them to learn beyond where they’re at. For this reason, it’s important to understand that not only are academic traits changeable, but so are our attitudes toward ourselves. Here are just a few ways to help students develop a growth mindset.

  1. Embrace mistakes as a part of learning – failing to acknowledge that we make mistakes as human beings makes it hard to learn from them.
  2. Teach students about brain plasticity – if students don’t know that the brain is a flexible muscle capable of molding and changing, they should learn about the possibilities for growth through brain plasticity.
  3. Use the power of “yet” in the classroom – Let students know that not knowing is temporary. If they don’t get how to do something, be sure to intentionally use the word “yet” so that they know that they can reach their goals, even if they aren’t there yet.
  4. Watch the praise! While praise seems like a great thing empty praise means nothing. If you’re going to praise a student, praise for something specific and related to a behavior, not a trait. For instance instead of saying, “you’re so smart,” say, “you worked really hard on that and it really paid off!”
  5. Give students a sense of purpose. Dweck’s research said that growth mindset came with a greater sense of purpose, so help students develop a purpose by giving them specific, achievable goals, or, better yet having them come up with their own.
  6. Give praise more for growth than speed. Some students need longer to process information. Value their growth toward goals rather than the speed with which they attain them.
  7. Failure is an ugly word. Help students see failure as something else. Call it something entirely different like having “room for improvement” rather than failure. Once they fail, it’s hard to continue. Having room for improvement allows for…well…improvement.
  8. Reward hard work, not talent. All students need to feel important, not just the ones who are more quickly adept at learning a process. Value hard work, not just raw talent. This should help both the struggling learners and the accelerated learners to make greater strides.
  9. Have students learn from each other’s mistakes. My favorite mistake is a great thing to bring into the classroom. Pick a mistake a student has made and showcase it. Have students analyze the mistake and learn from it and make mistakes something students learn from rather than dread.
  10. Give students ownership of their own attitudes. Once students learn to develop a growth mindset they should own it. Allow them to own their attitudes and their mindsets. They have a great future ahead. Let them take charge of it.

Thank you for all you do for the students of Trimble County!