Saturday, March 1, 2014

Teachers' Impact on Student Mindset

I cannot begin to count the number of times I have asked myself why some students give up when work in class is difficult.  Or why they put their heads down and refuse to attempt a problem that I put on the board that is a bit challenging.  Was it the way the student was raised to just give up?   Or was the work really too difficult for their skill ability?  No matter what I thought the reason was at the time, I always felt like there was something I was doing wrong as a teacher.

After this week's DLMOOC's focus on mindset, I realized that although students can come into to my classroom with a fixed mindset, I have the ability and power to influence a growth mindset in each and every one of them.  It was not necessarily something I was initially doing in my class that made the students want to give up, but I was not doing enough to help them realize their potential.  This week's readings, videos and panel discussion had me engrossed in the topic and searching for as much additional information that I possibly could find.

As I was completing the assignments this week I found myself reflecting on my students.  In our school we split our students into groups based on their math abilities.  There are four groups and I wonder by doing this if we are feeding the growth mindset of the high group, but feeding into the fixed mindset of the other three groups that are not the high group by this simple splitting of groups.  As the teacher, it is my responsibility to ensure that all the groups' growth mindset is reached and although they are in groups based on ability, it does not demonstrate their potential.

My Storify this week focused on the mindset of students and educators.  The materials that I found extended the discussion that was provided from the DLMOOC and ED 722 resources.  In my opinion, this topic was one of the most meaningful to me as an educator.  I see many fixed mindsets in my classroom every year, especially because I teach math.  Although it is frustrating as a teacher to see this, my own growth mindset accepts the challenge and makes every attempt to tap into each and every student's academic potential.

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