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Faculty Insights Blog


Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences teachers and other faculty members share insights about childhood development and educational issues.

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Developing a Growth Mindset Culture

Mary Cay Ricci, Potential and Possibilities Educational Consulting LLC, author of Mindsets in the Classroom, Ready to Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom, led an interactive workshop with Barnesville teachers about components of a growth mindset learning environment. Discussion topics included deliberative cultivation of non-cognitive skills, conceptual understanding of neural networking, learning from our mistakes/failures, and growth mindset feedback.

What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is understanding that intelligence is not fixed, but rather that that you can learn through effort, and thus achievement is more a factor of practice and persistence than innate talent.

Why does it matter?

When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students.

What can teachers do to help develop a growth mindset?

Teachers can challenge students to change their thinking about their abilities and potential by focusing on critical thinking and teaching students to learn from failure.

What can parents do?

All parents want their children to be successful in school, sports, and extracurricular activities. But it's not just about giving your kids praise or setting them on the right direction. Research shows that success is often dependent on mindset. Hard work, perseverance, and effort are all hallmarks of a growth mindset. Ricci’s book, Mindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids provides parents with a roadmap for developing a growth mindset home environment.
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Adopting a Growth Mindset -- Faculty Takeaways from the 2017 NAIS Annual Conference


Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences faculty and staff spent their March in-service day at the 2017 National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference. A major topic was helping students adopt a Growth Mindset -- understanding that intelligence is not fixed, but rather that that you can learn through effort, and thus achievement is more a factor of practice and persistence than innate talent.

Following are some thoughts shared by Barnesville teachers after the conference.

Joyce Semmes, Middle School Math Teacher -- One of the programs I attended was about fixed mindset versus growth mindset. Instilling growth mindset in our students seems incredibly valuable. Not only does it support trial and error, failure as a basis for success, and reflective thinking, but at its best, growth mindset challenges students' notions of self-worth (“I can't do this. I'm stupid.”) and validates a positive work ethic.

Linda Birkholz, First Grade Teacher -- I attended “I can't do that...yet.” It presented improvement as a process, which can was illustrated through a video describing Austin's Butterfly. It talked about how we view success as a steady upward arrow, but it is actually more like an eventual upward scribble, with backward steps and learning loops.

Tara Barnhart, Middle School Language Arts Teacher -- We have to think differently and deeply…challenge the status quo. Strive for a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Teach me, and I'll teach you. Make time for play!

Ana Farach, 3rd - 8th Grade Spanish Teacher -- Due to one workshop in particular, I have now reflected on what exactly grades mean to me and what I'd like for them to communicate to my students. I therefore want to restructure some assignments and projects to better fit my vision and goals for my students. In doing so, I want to be sure that students understand that grades are one aspect of my assessment of their work and, in general, their performance over the year.

Barnesville faculty participation at the NIAS conference was funded by the Jaralyn Hough Professional Development Fund, created in honor of Jaralyn (Jeri) Hough, Head of School from 1984-2006 to provide financial support for ongoing faculty enrichment.


Posted by Jan Hyland on Monday March 27, 2017 at 02:44PM
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