Let the growth begin!
Year after year, as we strive to personalize professional learning experiences, we survey educators. Survey after survey highlights a common topic of interest: a growth mindset. Educators know that a growth mindset is linked to many benefits for their students. Stronger motivation, decreased stress and anxiety, and overall higher performance levels are just a few examples (Clark & Sousa 2018). Those are some pretty solid benefits, right? As with most things, in order to really learn how to bring this to life, we can’t just ask the kids to do it. We have to walk the walk with our own learning. Luckily, the beginning of a new year and a new decade is an optimal time to visit this topic. It is a perfect time to set some new professional learning goals for ourselves.
Recap and get growing
Growth mindset, a concept developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, is a mindset in which a person believes that his abilities can be developed through hard work, dedication, and resilience. It contrasts with what Dweck calls a fixed mindset, where a person believes that abilities are reliant on innate intelligence and talents, and that success is dependent on traits that one is born with rather than on development through hard work and practice.
Shifting your mindset to one in which you believe that your skills and abilities will continue to develop through hard work is critical to your success as a professional educator. Enter 2020 with a growth mindset. It’s easy to do, especially if you can set these three main goals to achieve your vision:
- Reflect, reflect and reflect. Our avid followers know by know that Leaderally believes in reflective practice. From our Action Research eLearning course to multiple Warm Ups, reflection is a common topic in our world and one that we believe it critical to job confidence and mastery. Reflection aligns with a growth mindset, as it allows us to celebrate victories and note questions and challenges that need to be considered deeply. An easy way to ensure reflection becomes a habit is to carve out 5-10 minutes per day to reflect on your performance in the classroom. Ask yourself the questions like these: Which behavior management strategies worked? How did that new lesson that you launched turn out? Reflect and document in an effort to grow your mind and your skills in the classroom.
- Solicit feedback. Observations are necessary. Although sometimes nerve-wracking, they are a part of the educator’s reality. Embrace it, and ask pointed questions in an effort to get specific and usable feedback. Before an observation takes place, take a few minutes to jot down questions that you feel will create a dialogue around the skills that you are aiming to improve.
- Don’t be afraid of failure. Sure, your students don’t have time for your lessons to fizzle every day (which would not happen), but some of the activities and units that you try in your classroom will not be a great success. That’s OK. As long as you take the time to reflect on what went wrong, or why things didn’t turn out as expected, you can then craft a plan to improve on the next lesson. Remember, if we want our students to know it’s ok to make mistakes, we have to model this ourselves. (Do what we do, not do what we say.)
You deserve to continue your journey as a professional educator with a mindset that reminds you each day that hard work and determination pay off. In 2020, model this great concept for your students and grow your mind!
Clark, A. & Sousa, B. (2018). Your biggest asset for academic career success? A growth mindset. Retrieved from
Social Psychology Network. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://dweck.socialpsychology.org/