At the Promising Practices event on Saturday, November 5, 2016, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the conference. The key note speaker at the beginning was Robert Brooks who is a clinical psychologist, author and lecturer. At the beginning of the morning I was not sure what to expect out of this, and as soon as Mr. Brooks started speaking I was instantly engaged. He started off by telling us that his main choice in college was not psychology, that he had completed three years of a different degree before discovering psychology was what he truly wanted to do. I really appreciated him saying this because it helped me relate to him on a personal level. I too have switched around majors and will not be graduating in my expected four years, and he really helped me understand that there is nothing wrong with that. He has a very successful career today and was very inspirational to me in helping me accept the path I have chosen and know that it is right for me. One topic he talked about that really stuck out to me was the how important it is as an educator to be what he calls a "charismatic adult". He described these as people whom posses some of the following qualities: empathy, trust, connection, welcoming, problem solving, decision making, etc. I found this important to keep in mind as a future educator so that I am aware of how my actions and personality effect the children I am teaching and there success as students.
The workshop that stuck out the most to me was "Embedding Growth Mindset into Everyday Elementary School Lessons". This workshop was run by Sarah Hess (a teacher in Henry Barnard) and Makayla Calkins (an almost graduate of the FSEHD). The topic of growth mindset has always been important to me and has always been something I have strived to maintain. To relate this to my personal experiences, I thought about the activity I do called colorguard. Within this activity there are many challenges and you do not always get things the first time. Your instructors might ask you to do something you have never done before but you have to do it anyway. It is important to always maintain an open (or growth) mindset when approaching challenges like this, because if you approach it the opposite way with a closed mindset, the challenge will be almost impossible. So, the idea of growth mindset is definitely something I would like to incorporate into my classroom one day and this workshop gave me great resources on how to embed these lessons into the regular curriculum.
The idea of growth mindset can loosely connect to Lisa Delpit where she says that it is our responsibility to teach the rules and codes of power to our students, because without these rules and codes it is very hard for students to gain power. I believe that having a growth mindset is a code for gaining power in the world. Without this growth mindset, you are accepting that you have grown as much as you can in life and this is where you will stay forever. Successful people constantly are trying to better themselves and seeking ways to improve. I believe that if we did not teach this in schools early on, it will hold kids back from achieving more than they thought possible.
Here is a website that lists 30 different children's books you can use in your classroom while trying to teach children about growth mindset.
Here is a website of short inspirational videos that can be used to demonstrate growth mindset.
Lastly, here is an article that explains why it is okay to fail at something, as long as you are willing to try again.