Those of you who have read Carol Dweck’s work on changing mindsets, it may have made you wonder about your own. You will have probably found that like most people, you are a mixture of both a fixed and growth mindset, depending on certain situations.
In order to create a classroom environment that allows shifts in pupils’ mindsets, teachers themselves need to have more of a growth mindset than a fixed one. Refusing to change teaching styles, rejecting new ideas and being stuck in one’s own practice just because that’s what feels comfortable, are alarming elements of a fixed mindset one needs to shift.
“Those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw
Changing teachers’ mindsets in a school can be a challenge. Just as we teach children to continuously grow, improve and learn, so must we as educators. Below are four suggestions as to how teachers can start shifting from a fixed mindset, to a growth mindset.
Being flexible is a requirement for teaching, today. Not only are learners called to be adaptable and flexible, but so are educators. Teaching in the 21st century must be adapted to the pupils’ needs and interests of today. Technology for one has become part of our everyday life. It is important to keep up with it. Teachers who ignore it, hoping that it will just go away are doing the pupils an injustice. Embrace change and cater for today’s generation by making necessary changes and incorporating technology into their learning.
- Experiment and be innovative
How can teachers expect their pupils to think outside the box, if they themselves don’t do it in their own practice? There is no one perfect method for teaching. Educators should experiment and be innovative for effective instruction. It’s so easy to fall back on what’s familiar, but what may have worked in the past isn’t necessarily what’s best for the pupils of today. Teachers must be the change they wish to see in the children and the students will undoubtedly follow. Lead by example. Don’t expect everything to work straight away, somethings will take time and may need adjustments for them to be refined.
Only by truly evaluating and analysing how we teach will we be able to grow and improve as educators. Examining both our strengths and weaknesses help us in becoming the better version of ourselves. Settling for being mediocre just isn’t good enough. Reflecting on our teaching practice will aid us in making changes and connections for our learners.
- Collaboration and new ideas
The education system itself is forever changing. Teaching is not what it was 20 years ago, when I started teaching and it certainly isn’t what it was 40 years ago either. Keeping up to date with changes and being open to trying out new things by changing your practice to suit today’s needs is imperative. Sharing ideas and learning from your colleagues will rewire your brain to shift towards a growth mindset when using new teaching methods. Our brains adapt and change, all thanks to neuroplasticity. Change your mindset and you will change your pupils’ mindsets too!
“Unless you do something beyond what you have mastered, you will never grow.”
Ronald E Osborn
Don’t be afraid to try out new things. The education system is forever changing and us teachers need to adapt, change and evolve to best cater for our pupils.
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Till next time…
I fully agree with the 4 points you mention in your blog. Flexibility and the willingness to become learners of new ideas can be game-changers in our classroom.