Chapter 9- What are Some Ways School Staff Can Maintain a Growth Mindset School Culture?
In this Chapter, Mary Cay Ricci discusses the importance of the classroom environment in a Growth Mindset school culture. Classrooms that are safe, caring learning environments are integral in developing and maintaining a school culture that is steeped in a Growth Mindset. This is something I have always striven to achieve for all students. Whether it be in my Learning Assistance classroom or my Grade 5 classroom, I hope that all students feel welcome, safe and secure. How can you tell? Well, my students Grade 5 are not afraid to ask questions or ask for help. The students support each other in their learning and socially. They are there for each other. My students have made the classroom their own, adding their own personal touches (usually mess!). They are happy, cheerful and full of life when they enter the room, throughout the day, and when they leave at the end of the day. The students that come in to my Learning Assistance classroom show that they are in a safe, caring learning environment by dropping in for help when they need it. Students feel comfortable to enter the room to work in groups as well. When a child is having a difficult day, they visit to self-regulate, have a break or just to talk. My Learning Assistance classroom is also used for physiotherapy activities for one student. Even when there are numerous other students in the room, this student feels comfortable in completing her physiotherapy needs. The students are respectful, helpful and polite. They are there because they know it is a place where their needs can be met, they can get support or simply calm down from a difficult situation. It is so very important to ensure that those spaces exist for the students in our school. It is my opinion that no learning can occur when there is not comfort, feeling of safety, or of care by the people within the classroom.
The other piece to that is having a classroom that is differentiated. Ms. Ricci gives a list of “look fors” for differentiated classrooms. All of these “look fors” are fully outlined in Chapter 3. I believe that I am on my way to a differentiated classroom, but I know that I have a long way to go. Especially in the area of acceleration and enrichment. This is an area I will continue to work toward for the rest of the year.
The most important take-away from this chapter for me was when the author said ” The importance of continually reinforcing the growth mindset message every day cannot be emphasized enough. Maintaining perseverance and effort is a challenge for some students and they need to be continually reminded that they can achieve success.” I have taught the students in my class about having a growth mindset and what that means, but I do not remind them near enough. I will make more of an effort to do so, knowing that I have some very fixed mindset students within the classroom.
Chapter 10- Summary
“Educators teach students, not curriculum. It is time to meet students where they are, expect the best from all of them and provide opportunities for each and every student to succeed.”
This quote nicely sums up the entire book. Every student is capable of learning. Every student deserves to learn. Every student needs to have materials and opportunities that allow for success. Every student deserves a teacher who believes that they are capable of learning and succeeding. This goes for the students we classify as gifted to the student with the most challenges. No matter who the child is, we need to meet their learning needs in a way that allows them to be successful at the activity.
Although this is the last post for the Book Study , I truly hope that it is not the end of your journey with Growth Mindset. Continue to push yourselves in those areas in which you believe you have a fixed mindset. Remember that you can do anything you put your mind to, anything that you practice, anything into which you put effort. I personally will continue to work on my parenting skills, as well as differentiating my teaching more effectively.
- What ideas do you have for implementing a sustainable school system for maintaining a growth mindset culture in your own schools (or at least your classroom)?
- What are some “take-aways” you have brought from this book?
- Would you suggest this book to your colleagues? Why?
I wish you all very well in your endeavors! I hope that you have learned as much from this book and book study as I have. Thank you all for your time and your input!
I would also like to invite you to join us for a special luncheon at Crosscurrents. We will be meeting for lunch at Harold’s with Crosscurrents speaker Kristin Wiens, on Friday during the lunch break, to further our discussions about growth mindsets. If you are able to attend, please let me know! I look forward to meeting many of you in person!