The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Carol S. Dweck
As I reflect on the fact that we have quickly moved into the second month of the school year, I realize the importance of having a growth mindset. It would be so easy to feel discouraged and defensive as I realize that situations have caused me to put aside some of the things I wanted to accomplish in the first month. If I was caught in the paradigm of a fixed mindset I might be quick to lay blame on myself and others for not being where I think I should be. Instead I focus on moving forward. It would be so easy to get downtrodden and defeatist but that’s not what we do – we experience the learning and we let it direct us forward.
It’s always about moving forward – the next step. I recall this vividly from my work with secondary school students who struggled in school. Over time I realized that there are many different pathways and many different ways to approach the various pathways. For some students it seems that the pathway is clear: they appear to know where they are going and what they need to do and the next steps seem linear and highlighted for them. For others, the path is not so clear or straight and for these students the next step becomes the focus: they need to keep moving forward even though there are real or perceived barriers in the way. A growth mindset helps us support others in finding those next steps while it also helps us take those next steps ourselves.
Currently, there are challenges in public education which create situations that are not our normal way of operating; however, we need to continue to move forward and recognize that together we will get through these challenges. We need to continue to keep lines of communication open and share our thoughts, our concerns and also our best thinking on possible solutions to our issues.
In our growth mindset paradigm we are working through the challenges, we are learning from our setbacks and we are looking ahead. Through all of this we will not lose sight of the great work we do to support students, families and each other.