Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tuesday's "Inspiration": Why Growth Mindset Matters

On the snapshot of my new 5-year journal in Tuesday's slice of life, you might have noticed that Tuesday's question was "What inspired you today?"  I LOVED this question, because I love the idea of finding something inspiring in each day.  In fact, I bet it would be a pretty good exercise to ask yourself that question EVERY day! Anyway, on Tuesday I happened to have an easy answer to record: a video clip by Rick Wormelli that my principal showed us during our staff meeting that day.

I've always been a believer in the growth mindset, so I was enthusiastically nodding my head constantly during the video.  Not to say it didn't make me think though -- Wormelli's analogies are fantastic examples of WHY these ideas are so important.  Moreover, Wormelli exudes his passion for student learning throughout the video, and it's certainly contagious.

If you're ready to be inspired, watch below:

Something I hadn't really thought about was that so many things in life can be done over and over until you've mastered them.  How many people be driving right now if we only got to take that driver's test once?  (Well I would, but that's not the point!)

Above all though, I love his conclusion that if you let a kid fail or not complete an assignment, you're basically saying "This isn't important," and then why did you assign it anyway?  This has always been my philosophy, but I never articulated it as well as he does.  I do not give zeros or D's or F's; it must be done, re-done, re-taken, whatever.  I refuse to let even the smallest homework assignment go, because I wouldn't have given it to you if I didn't want you to do it and didn't believe you would learn from it!  (This is also why my kids only have homework for me about once a week, but maybe I'll write more on that another time.)  Like he says, "I will haunt your nightmares!" I will track you down and make you do it, whether it's an incomplete homework or a quiz that needs re-taken.  (There is literally a kid right now that I've been bugging ever since before break to turn in a little homework assignment.  I don't want to give him a zero and move on, I want him to do the practice because I believe it's important!)  I believe all of my students are completely capable of doing well on every assignment.  If they don't, they need to find out why and complete the learning, not just give up and move on!

The new idea that my principal brought up after we watched the video is that maybe everyone should be allowed to re-dos and retakes -- kids who just passed your mastery mark or even kids who just missed a few little things. Should they be able to re-do too, if they want?  If they're inspired to fix their mistakes and grow in their learning, they should have the opportunity -- even if their mistakes are small or not as numerous.

How did the video inspire you?  Are these new ideas or already part of your personal teaching philosophy?

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