I am currently reading Mindset – The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. The author believes that we each have a particular mindset, fixed or growth that creates our whole mental world.
- Ability is static
- Reach early plateaus
- Concerned with being judged
- Focus on outcome
- Always proving you are smart
- Effort is a bad thing because it means you are not smart
- Ability is learned
- Enjoy consistent growth
- Concerned with improving
- Value what you’re doing regardless of outcome
- More concerned with stretching yourself and learning new things
- Effort is what makes you smart and talented
When my professor introduced Dweck’s work in EDUC 401 – Issues in Teaching and Learning he made the comment that your mindset as a learner will often be your mindset as a teacher. How many current teachers were schooled in a time when a fixed mindset was encouraged or rewarded?
Last week in our breakout group of The Connected Educator Book Club someone made the comment that people in the book club were already part of the converted and they are frustrated by their work colleagues who fail to embrace connected learning. Perhaps these feet draggers have difficulty jumping on board because they operate with a fixed mindset.
These might also be the same teachers who never change schools or grades, give students the same lessons over and over each year without making modifications for student interest or ability, participate in PD because they are required to and do not advocate for sessions that would move their practice forward, or are concerned about being the “best teacher” or having the “best class” but there is no visible risk taking by the teacher nor the students.
One of the outcomes of a PLN is personal growth with a focus on self-development, self-motivation and taking personal responsibility for your own learning. In order for connected learning communities to flourish we might need to “unlearn” our belief in a fixed mindset and “relearn” a belief in a growth mindset.