Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What does Growth Mindset look like?

It's one thing for a teacher to say, "Sure, I believe in growth mindset", but unless that statement of belief is accompanied by actual teaching practices that encourage growth mindset, the teacher's words are essentially meaningless.

In other words, when it comes to "Growth versus Fixed Mindset", the way I run my classroom is far more important than what I profess.

So, what does a Growth Mindset classroom look like? Sound like? Take 6 minutes to watch this wonderful 2nd grade class.

In watching this video, a growth mindset classroom has some important characteristics:

  • A focus on process rather than on product. For example, the teacher celebrated a group of students for their hard work, perseverance, and their thinking even though the group hardly solved any problems at all.
  • Lots and lots of wait time. If we want students to "grow their brains", then we need to give students plenty of time to think! Waiting has got to be the hardest thing for me to do. I want to swoop in a help...but that would only foster the fixed mindset.
  • Productive conversations. Allow students to work collaboratively, discussing their ideas and challenges. Listening to each other. By allowing students to take an active part in their own learning, we foster growth mindset.
  • Allow lessons to stretch beyond a tidy one-period timeframe. As students struggle and persevere, it may be necessary for the teacher to resist the urge to tell students what they should have learned in the lesson. Instead, growth mindset is encouraged when the teacher wraps up the day's lesson by saying "Well, we are out of time. Some groups haven't quite gotten it yet, but we'll all have more time tomorrow to keep plugging away."
  • Deliberately conduct growth mindset conversations. Ask students questions designed to get students thinking metacognitively about their own growth mindset. How did students feel as they struggled? What did they do when they got stuck? What were some challenges during the lesson? etc. 
What other characteristics did you see in the classroom?
How can you change your classroom culture to REALLY foster a growth mindset in your students?