By Erin Galvin – It is difficult to believe that I just finished my first week of teaching at Breakthrough Fort Worth!
The week was filled with establishing procedures, getting to know my students, observations by my MT (Master Teacher), and five days of teaching. As I reflect on my first week of teaching, there are numerous moments that stand out to me; however, I found the professional development session to be the most valuable.
In our professional development session, we discussed Carol Dweck’s research study that compared a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. For those of you who are not familiar with this terminology, a fixed mindset is when one believes that her ability is set in stone, feels threatened by challenging tasks, and gives up easily.
On the other hand a person with a growth mindset expresses a desire to learn, welcomes challenges, and believes that she can improve her skills through effort. As a Breakthrough staff, we evaluated our personal mindsets and discussed the type of mindset that we want to cultivate within our students. The consensus was that we would strive to foster a growth mindset this summer through effort-based feedback.
The idea of applauding students for their effort rather than earning a perfect score struck me as a powerful concept. When I think of my own educational experience, there were several classes in both middle school and high school that helped me to transition from a somewhat fixed mindset to a growth mindset. These teachers provided effort-based feedback along with academic rigor.
As I think about the type of teacher that I want to be this summer and beyond, I hope to promote a growth mindset through effort-based feedback.
At Breakthrough, our students are highly motivated and high-achieving students. As a teacher, I know that the curriculum is rigorous and often challenges my students in new ways. One of my goals for the summer is to increase the amount of praise that I give students in my class. As a result of this professional development session, I am making it my goal to praise students for their effort as well as recognize their hard work and perseverance.
Some strategies that I plan to use include acknowledging the time and effort that they put into their homework assignments, admitting my own mistakes, and encouraging students to recognize how their success in the classroom correlates with their effort. I am looking forward to seeing the results of effort-based feedback over the course of the next five weeks.