Important to cultivate growth mindset – the belief that you can improve with effort
How do you do this?
Teach kids how their brains work and what their capabilities are
Offer praise frequently
Create structures that allow learners to measure their own progress
What kind of structure can you use?
Establish a time period, generally on the shorter side, in which to measure
Assess how students feel about the material at the beginning of this
Have students set goals on where they want to be at the end
They don’t need to be experts at everything!
Complete tasks as part of the lesson, have students mark down their level of success
Work can be done independently, in groups, or with a teacher
Have students reflect
This works especially well when students are able to best measure what methods of learning work best for them
Probably the biggest parts of instilling the growth mindset are:
- Teaching students how to identify their strengths and weaknesses
- Teaching students that their weaknesses are something they can change
- Ensuring that they are resilient enough to do so
Empowering students to track their progress allows them to own their growth
The ultimate goal with any structured learning is to teach the student that they a capable of learning and that there is value to their life to do so
It’s easy for scheduled meetings to lose focus and become about structure or buzzwords
PLCs in specific often are not “led by the professionals, full of learning, or run as communities”
It’s not a PLC if there’s no control
– Must be led by group members, not bosses overhead
– Trust is required (these are adult professionals, why are they hired if they aren’t trusted)
– Any leadership should support but not order or lead the group
Coordinated work should be meaningful
– Any work that is not explicitly serving the goals of the groups will be skimmed/skipped
– We all have busy lives and other interests, if something doesn’t feel meaningful, we will not invest into it
– Allowing members to do coordinating but not identical work (like reading books on similar topics) values members differences and allows people to choose their interest
A group is not the same as a community
– Communities have norms, agreements, and rules
– Participating in these expectations is part of the minimum investment required for a well-functioning community
– Having rules posted doesn’t mean they are followed, they must be enforced by the group members
The focus is not the test scores (well, not really), it’s the understanding along the way
– The summative data we get from tests often isn’t as helpful as the formative data we are collecting daily
– Meaning that the summative data doesn’t tell us anything new, and it doesn’t fix the problem either
What’s the point if not to act?
– So much of our time is spent talking about trying things rather than actually trying them, but what good does that do?
The external structure placed on teachers can really limit what they can do, even when that external structure is not what would benefit learners the most
A lot of curricula is decided by people outside of a classroom who don’t interact with learners and can aren’t as familiar with what those specific students need
Choose materials that are more relevant to scenarios
– What’s more important? Knowing Shakespeare or being able to analyze themes?
– If learners aren’t invested in the materials, they will never really learn the skills
Confront challenging topics
– Learners need to know about challenging topics (like discrimination or politics) to navigate their real life, so learning opportunities shouldn’t skirt it
Remember that there is a narrative
– Consider who your learners are and what stories are told about them; how can you change them for the better?
– Believe in the capability of your learners
Have an answer to “Why bother?”
– If you make an effort, your learners will be able to feel it