What's Your Mindset?

At a recent inservice date in my district, a comment was made by a teacher that students haven't changed in the 37 years he has been teaching. Hear! Hear! Shouted a voice from the back of the room - they are lazy and unmotivated!!

The other 20 participants turned to look at me for a response - and I was torn. First, I wanted the other teachers in the room to jump in and debate that point. Second, I was trying to figure out the point that the teacher was trying to make with that comment. Third, I was stunned that someone who felt that way was still in education after 37 years.

So I've been thinking hard about who is called to the teaching profession and who just shows up expecting a hefty paycheck and summers off. What does that have to do with my current ponderings on blogs?

My Director recently shared the Motivation Matters blog with me and I am hooked! This one in particular caught my eye:

Dweck, who served as a featured guest in August for an Education Week chat, "Student Motivation: What Works, What Doesn't," writes about how children or adults who operate under the fixed mindset see success as confirmation of their innate intelligence or creativity and failure as proof that they are not smart or creative, according to the review. Those who are growth oriented, on the other hand, see success as confirmation of their progress or improvement and failure as a learning experience.

The conflict between these two mindsets gets at the very heart of what motivates people...I think most of us prefer to operate under the growth mindset, but are often held back by the fixed one.

The teachers that supported the "students haven't changed" opinion are fixed - those who are willing to challenge themselves, take risks, and learn from the inevitable mistakes will grow. Those are the ones who will take Web 2.0 tools and run with them - will see that they need to change as our students have changed. Those are the folks who when they are asked to reflect on their practice and are pushed to think about how they do things, can articulate changes they would like to make. They accept that life in not about constant kudos and pats on the back, but about putting yourself out there as a learner. These folks can articulate why they were called to the profession - and these are the ones I want teaching kids!

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