Saturday, January 9, 2016

Even this Teacher Can Have a Growth Mindset!

Growth Mindset- when it first was discussed at staff meetings- I didn't pay much attention, and dismissed Growth Mindset as another educational fad! Then I opened my "seasoned teacher" brain and read a couple articles, and decided to embrace it!
Persevere, make mistakes, try a strategy, don't give up! 
Growth mindset follows what I believe about specific praise, Multiple Intelligences, and All Children Can Learn! My special education students and their families have inspired me to appreciate the baby steps of learning. I live in a smallish town, and it is a thrill to run into a former student at the grocery store, and see an adult who has conquered obstacles of drug abuse, learning disabilities, abandonment and poverty. Growth mindset was not in my vocabulary when I had this student 15 years ago, but she is living proof that persevering, making mistakes, and continuing to try a new strategy to beat the odds really works! And lucky teacher that I am- I see success in my former students much more than the failures! This is a child who has truly beaten the odds!
Part of my philosophy as a mom of four and special ed teacher of 35 years, is that you have to accept children(and all people) as who they are. Don't compare. Don't put too much emphasis on the milestones, standards, and benchmarks for typical growth. Build on what they have, and allow learners to backslide, regroup, and try something new. 
I want to explore Growth Mindset more and see where sports come in, working on strength and interest areas of each child, and parenting strategies. 
In the meantime, I created a little reader about Growth Mindset for you to use in your special education and general education classrooms. I have discovered that by using kid-friendly language and the opportunity to illustrate these readers, the students tend to enjoy and take ownership of their reading progress!

Enjoy this little reader that I have created!

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