I have always wanted to pursue a Master’s degree but didn’t really know which program I wanted to study. I have loved my work as a teacher, but I find myself thinking about making improvements to the educational environment that goes beyond my classroom. Until recently, I didn’t know that there were graduate degree options beyond counseling or administration, but when I discovered the Digital Learning and Leading program at Lamar University, I instantly knew it was for me. I’m more ready than ever, considering I am in the perfect position to apply what I learn from class to my current job situation. I am actively campaigning for a job that doesn’t even exist in my district, so I must maintain my focus and not let negativity derail my goals.
I typically embrace challenges, but I also combat a fairly strong negative voice that rises from the depths on occasion. It is that negative voice that will be my biggest challenge. In order to defeat that voice, I will need a plan. Luckily, this course has provided further study into Carol Dweck’s theory of mindsets. I recognize, now, that the negative voice is actually a response to what Dweck would call fixed mindset triggers (Dweck, 2008). Despite first feeling like an oversimplified approach to human dynamics and educational psychology, the mindset theory does have its merits. Dweck explains that our mindsets are the result of our experiences and the feedback we receive in society, school, and home. The damage caused by years and years of misguided praise can be overcome, according to Dweck.
Moving forward, I plan to adopt some of the positive aspects of the growth mindset theory as a plan and strategy for success. For starters, I must acknowledge that I, too, have a mixture of fixed and growth mindset voices. The negative voice comes from a place of fear, which is embedded in the fixed mindset. Once I can recognize this, I can begin to conquer it. Achieving a growth mindset is not a “once and done” proposition, though. It is a continual process- an exercise that must be maintained for continued results. To maintain the growth mindset, I must continue to identify and act on the growth mindset action.
Change your Mindset
Step 1: Learn to hear your “fixed” mindset voice.
Step 2: Recognize that you have a choice.
Step 3: Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.
Step 4: Take the growth mindset action.
One simple thing that I do to stay focused on shutting out the fixed mindset is to surround myself with quotes that celebrate the positive feeling of the growth mindset. I am a big fan of Me and My Big Ideas Happy Planner. This planner offers the opportunity to imbue the month with those positive messages. Additionally, I like to include these positive and inspirational quotes in my physical space. If I find a quote that I enjoy, I will typically print it and keep it nearby.
One of the most important things that I can do to help instill my own growth mindset is to begin teaching others about it. I’ve already begun putting together a staff development plan for back-to-school sessions. The most important concept that I would want to convey is that teachers often inadvertently reinforce a fixed mindset in our students. The plan will guide teachers through an examination of the mindsets and focus more on creating an overall growth mindset approach on our campus. It is the beginning of a shift in our learning environment.
In conclusion, I appreciate this course beginning with a reflection on mindset. It seems like a great idea, considering the variety of ages and backgrounds of the students in the course. Since the program seems to be structured around the students actually learning and applying information to our own situation, it makes sense that we would start by making sure we are all open to that learning.
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House., 2016. Print.