Learning New Things

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“Mindset” has been studied by many scholars, but Carol Dweck has used her studies to identify to major mindsets: Fixed and Growth. Having a growth mindset can help everyone reach their full potential, whether they be 5 or 85, a teacher, a business owner, or a garbage man. Click on the image above to read more about the growth mindset and how it can be implemented in schools to help teachers, students, and even administration reach their full potential.

Part of the growth mind set, is the idea of “yet”.

“Yet” is how I’ve lived most of my life. I’m not the fastest runner yet. I am not the best teacher yet. I use this concept of “yet” daily in my classroom. Some questions I answer with, “We don’t know that yet.” Or “you will learn that next year.” I also reiterate this with my students when they say they can’t do it. I remind them they just haven’t mastered it yet.

Adopting a growth mindset enables continuous improvement. I believe people with growth mindset tend to enjoy learning more because they know there will be something to gain. With a growth mindset, we move away from believing we are successful due to our talents and abilities or that we are special.

When people believe that success is a result of effort, they accept feedback. The greatest praise I received as a beginning teacher was my willingness to change and implement new strategies. I continually asked for feedback from my supervisor so that my teachers, students, and myself would be more successful.

I want this same growth mindset that I have to be adopted by my entire school. This is the reason I ask teacher to have students keep track their mastery of every topic we cover. Their tracking sheet helps them determine which topic require revisiting and perseverance. With hard work, everyone can master the material (and mastery looks a little different for every student). When students begin focusing on mastery and understanding, rather than the right answer to get an A, there is less cheating and deeper mathematical discussion occur among the students.

As a teacher, I started of each unit with an anchor problem. It’s a problem that most students would have difficulty solving because they haven’t learned all the methods yet. Some students might get to an answer. Either way, after students work on the problem for a specified amount of time, we discussed what they had determined so far. I respond to all students the same, as to give validation to all students and not make one person’s method superior to another. Then we started our unit. The students were typically excited for the conclusion of the unit, continually asking when we will get to revisit the first problem so they can solve it using the new tools they have acquired.

After watching a short video of Carol Dweck (you can find many on the internet like this one), I was excited to read her book. Before the book was even required by my professor, my mentor suggested her book. My mentor has also suggested reading “The 7 Mindsets to Live Your Ultimate Life” by Scott Shickler and Jeff Waller as well as “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey. She said these would be great reads with suggestions to find areas of my life in need of growth. She suggested “Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind” by Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick as well for helping students develop a growth mindset. As I continue to learn about and development my mindset, I know I will encounter other videos such as Ted Talks and literature that will aid me in my journey to being a better leader.


I believe the graphic above is very clear on the differences between a fixed and a growth mindset. A person with a fixed mindset is focused on the perception of other people while a person with a growth mindset desires to learn. The desire to learn then leads to persistence and acceptance of challenges. With persistence, those with a growth mindset believe they will eventually master the topic and they learn from the criticism along the way. Those with a fixed mindset end up avoiding challenges and giving up. Feedback is seen as negative and it isn’t used. They are scared to lose and feel threatened by others who may succeed. Overall, people with a growth mindset are inspired by the lessons they learn and the success of others while those with a fixed mindset may never reach their full potential.

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