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Fast and furious

March 15, 2015

I started this blog midway through 2013 – and to read my first post again is slightly embarrassing as i was determined back then to post regularly. And here I am 18 months later finally writing post number 2!

We have had a fast and furious start to the year and I am sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of new thinking that constantly challenges us as educators. The new initiative of introducing 1:1 devices at OLA has been such a positive one and the staff are delighted with the energy and enthusiasm shown by the students.

I think we need to be careful we don’t attribute this energy and enthusiasm from the students to just having a device in front of them – but it is in fact more about the changes in the way the curriculum is being delivered. The Chromebook is just a tool to enable the learner to access learning in a different way. To access their learning in different way enables our students to become globally connected, it enables our students to share their work with a wider audience and most of all it enables our students to have a say in how they learn, have some choice, and learn to manage their learning. Our students are engaged in their learning! We have blogged about this and you can read more about this on Good… Great…Innovate..

Growth mindsets

So to move on … A few weeks ago I ran a parent information morning about a reading and spelling programme we run at our school. This is an individualised programme where the students work through the lists at their own pace. We are increasingly seeing students under pressure to ‘pass’. Some of the children put this pressure on themselves and some react to the pressure from their parents. No matter what we say to parents and some students we don’t seem to be able to change the culture that has developed around this programme.

I have been mulling this over for awhile, and happened across a youtube clip of Carol Dweck talking about ‘The Power of Yet’. This video really resonated with me – it was exactly what I needed – and exactly what our parents needed to listen to. Carol talks about her research into this word ‘yet’. If we could change the way our parents talk and our students self-talk about this programme – If we could change the message that our students are getting when they are tested we could really begin to change make some progress on changing this fixed mindset culture. We need to show the students that they are on a learning curve and that they will achieve skills over time and that it is not the end of the world when they need to spend more time learning a skill. Using the simple word ‘yet’ really helps with this.

Carol Dweck uses these examples – If a child says “I’m not good at Maths” – we should respond “yet” – or to relate it to our FRoGS programme – I didn’t pass ….yet – it shows that child that these are skills achieved over time and that they are on a learning curve and there is more learning to be done. It helps them move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

I need to do more reading about this and am excited to be going to hear Carol Dweck speak on Wednesday in Christchurch and will be excited to blog about my new learning in this area after that conference.

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