Having a growth mindset as a teacher

[podcast]

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Transcript: Having a growth mindset as a teacher

You know there’s a lot of talk in education at the moment about growth mindset, and about perseverance, and having grit, and you’ll hear terms like you know you’re in the learning pit. We want to teach our students to be able to think, and creatively solve problems, and to take risks. And we need to do that.

Have a Growth mindset for teachers

But here is a trend that I’ve noticed in myself and also in teachers when I do teacher training. I work with a business coach, and whenever I’m looking at the next part or the next phase of my business growth, or looking at you know one of my options. I come up against all this resistance and I guess inadequacies and fears. And when I talk to the business coach about that, he remarks to me and he says that out of all the different businesses that he works with if anyone has come from a teaching background, or an educational related background they are the worst people to work with in terms of business growth because we are so risk adverse. And there is something about the education system that builds that mentality that thinking into us.

There is something about the education system that builds this mentality into teachers... Click To Tweet

It’s more about following a standard operating procedure, it’s working methodically to an answer. It’s following instructions. And so on, and so we get conditioned or I guess taught to think in a certain way. And I’ve noticed this in my teacher training as well. When I get to a spot in the presentation where I ask for some feedback from the teachers I noticed some interesting psychology. If I just ask the audience to shout out some answers to me. Generally speaking the room goes very quiet. No one really wants to answer because who wants to put up their hand and be wrong in the answer that you provide. But if I let the participants speak amongst themselves in a small group and come up with a consensus as a table or as a group, and then I ask for feedback, the feedback is forthcoming.

Here is what I have noticed about teachers and growth mindset in my teacher training seminars. Do you display this characteristic? Click To Tweet

The reason is that we’ve got this confidence that other people think like us or other people have the same thoughts as us. And so therefore we feel more confident to be able to share our ideas, whether they’re right or whether they’re wrong. I think that’s something that we need to be aware of because we don’t do the same sort of thing in a business group. Generally speaking business people will put up their hand straight away or someone will answer straight away. It’s just a different thinking and a different psychology around this.

So my challenge to teachers is, we should be telling our students, and teaching students about grit and perseverance and and so on. But we need to start taking this in ourselves.

Here is a question to challenge yourself with: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” As a teacher, sometimes we don’t like to change the method because it’s working. Or we don’t like to try new things in case it fails and maybe you are dealing with a tough class, and if you let the class go just a little bit. It’s kind of like you give an inch and they take a mile.

So we kind of stop taking risks in teaching. Sometimes we don’t want to try new technology because we’re not sure if it will work or not, but we’ve really got to start to display these qualities in our own teaching if we expect students to pick up on this as well.

So my challenge and my encouragement to you as teachers today is to practice what you teach. Look for an opportunity this week to try something new, and then maybe in the comments section below this blog post you might like to tell me what did you try. Did it work? Did it not work? We’re really keen to hear from you.

Sometimes you also need a little bit of support and guidance. So we’ve created an online professional learning network where you can ask for ideas, or ask for feedback before you go live on an idea.

If you are leading change in a school, especially around technology, you might want to check out our Using Technology Better Certified Training Program, where we give you all the training and the support and the guidance you need to successfully change the technology culture in your school.

So there’s a couple of options there for you to get extra help. Let’s take the first step this week, and then let me know how you go.

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