Growth mindset in my 7th grade classroom
I am fairly new in the field as I am in my third year of teaching. I so much enjoyed your presentation, and felt that it really spoke to me, that I had to just send you an e-mail to thank you for it.
Let me explain why I felt so touched by your workshop. In my small time in the classroom, I have been doing a lot of what you were talking about. Making kids believe that they could, and that their "smarts" are not stagnant. I have had some unbelievable success with boys who other teachers got nowhere with. I try to help each child succeed, with whatever their capabilities are - and to give the "handicapped" ones, the extra help to get there. I have always [since my first day in the classroom] allowed boys to retake any test which they failed, and I count that retest as their grade. [I just tell them I may change the questions on the test to make sure they really know the material and don't memorize the answers of the old test - I have only done that on rare occasions, but the threat alone accomplishes that they really study the material I want them to know.] And my students know that there is no such thing as they can not. I encourage them to call me on my cell phone if they get stuck while doing their homework and I explain it to them. I even set up a voicemail box where the boys can call in and listen again to the material being taught if they need extra review and practice. I want to give them all the tools they need to be successful. It really works!
Because I have been doing this - but have not understood exactly the research and logic behind it, or why exactly my methods have been working, hearing your presentation gave me renewed energy and a more keen understanding of why things have been working, so I can now focus on doing and implement more of your methods which can further assist my students in feeling that with their effort and diligence they will succeed.
I will just leave you with one small anecdote which happened yesterday, but really encapsulates what I try to make my students believe. I told a boy [who is having his first successful year in a couple of years - his father told me he is a different child than before] to do a certain assignment. He said to me "I can't!" I gave him a stern look and wagged my finger at him and he said "you are right, I don't want to do it" - I smiled and said to him "that is the truth. Because you know if you wanted to do it, than you could". He agreed.
So thank you for reinforcing my commitment to your tremendous ideals, and helping me understand better and hopefully better implement this type of teaching!
Posted by seventh grade teacher who attended a recent workshop on how teachers and leaders can foster a Growth Mindset in their schools.