Oh! The Places We Will Grow!
My inspiration for this capstone project started long before I even became a teacher. From a very young age I knew I was different for my family. I just had this feeling that there was more to life then living in poverty, surrounded by drugs and violence. I always wondered what was it about me that had this longing for something different. It was during this time I wanted to learn about the brain and what made each of us so different. So I embarked on a voyage to getting my associate and bachelors degree in psychology. I was out to answer the question of a lifetime, "why do some people preserved and thrive when coming from a difficult environment. I am proud to say that I am a first Generation graduate. I grauated with my Bachelors in 2015 and finished my Masters in 2018 along with my teaching credential.
In 2016, I got my first job teaching job as an inter. Can you say learning experience! I was struggling with how to teach my students grit and perseverance. How Could I get them to break down the walls of 'I can't" and "it's to hard" . This is when I started to look in to the topic of growth mindset I start to see a small light shining through the darkness of a fixed mindset. I needed to change my focus in the classroom. I need to stop focusing on right or wrong and focus on their growth and perseverance. I was in need of a power of YET classroom. Not a power of Now. I had to change the way my students thought about intelligence.
I began to focus wonderful world of growth mindset. According to the leading researcher in growth mindset Dweck having a growth mindset show more academic growth then those students who has a fix mind set. Those who had a growth mindset were much more likely to persevere and have a higher level of achievement in math throughout middle school. While those who held a fixed mindset made little to no growth in their math scores over a two year period (Dweck, 2008). At my school we are school we are still showing very low testing scores in both ELA and Math we just adopted a new math curriculum last school year (16-17) and are seeing some growth and we just got a new ELA Curriculum (17-18) so we will see the results. Even with new curriculum why did we see that much growth? I know that for myself when I on a have a more "positive" or Growth mindset the outcome to my situations are usually more positive.
As teacher we are usually just drilling are students to just know this information for testing but we have not given them many tools to deal with the stress of it mentally. We focus on failure as a negative things when it is actually a chance for us to grow. Wiersema conducted a study to determine if growth mindset could be taught to incoming college freshmen. In the initial weeks of the study they found that the participants had to be taught to think about what they were supposed to be thinking, or learning, about and that they actually improved their learning.
The brain and our thoughts are one of the most powerful forces we m to break down the wall posses. Why aren't we teaching our students how to train our brain and use out thoughts to benefit us instead of hinder us. If we can change the way our students look at learning and change it from such a pass/fail out look maybe our students wouldn't feel so discouraged or have a "fixed" mindset that leaves them feeling hopeless in them educational journey.