Educators struggle daily with their students taking pride and ownership in their work. When they don’t, it reflects in poor grades and attendance. This constant battle disturbs teachers to which they feel like giving up because they do not understand how to get their students motivated. But thanks to the combined works of Dr. Carol Dweck and Angela Lee Duckwork, there is hope on the horizon.
Dr. Dweck has conducted extensive work on fixed versus growth mindset and shown those interested in bettering themselves fair better than those who are close-minded. Their willingness to adapt to their environment plants success to take root which will yield a positive result. Mrs. Duckwork’s research on grit defines it as those with the most determination and perseverance succeed than those with pure national talent regardless of circumstance.
Consider what would happen if we cobbled both concepts with data? The results just might surprise you.
Mixing data with grit and growth mindset bakes the perfect recipe for someone to set goals. With teachers working with students, students would see their strengths and their weaknesses while noticing that they have the chance to change something that has had a negative impact on them before. Here teachers would coach students on how to create goals ranging from personal to academics. Students in the classes would establish several goals for the foreseeable future to the end of the year. Putting their thoughts on paper enables students to identify what supports they would need in place to make their goals a reality.
Developing action steps
Action steps follow the goal-setting stage. By developing action steps, students take their goals and factor into meaningful and logical steps. It’s recommended to have only four levels, so the process remains focused. Every step must be obtainable and connected their needs they identified.
As with any program evaluation, reflections carry power and can come in any way, shape or form. For some, data from an assessment would shed insight on weaknesses. Others may acquire some qualitative feedback that specifies a target. The essential component in step must enable the students to help develop their own personal insight. As students come up with their own initial analysis, teacher reflections should accompany a student’s thinking. Reflections empower them to see firsthand a vital piece of information they may have missed initially. Reflecting also expands a student’s ability to look at every aspect on a bigger scale. When this happens, a student is taught the correct technique which makes the cycle to continue with minimal effort.
Praising effort over ability reinforces the grit and sets the precedence that goals will be achieved with a little hard work and determination. It is also likely that mistakes will become clear. Some of the best learning that takes place occurs when we fail. Consider the number of times it took us to learn how to write and how persistently we worked on the process until we became proficient.
In the last stage, adjustments are the last link in this cycle. Without modifications, one is merely verifying Einstein’s definition of insanity by expecting a different outcome with the same input. Students return to their goals to review and reassess them all. For when the goals achieved, it’s take time to celebrate. On the goals that are continuing towards success, inquire about adjusting the action steps. If there was no definite momentum, then ask if the goal was clearly identified? Was the purpose not given enough time to develop? Did the data accurately measure what they wanted to see in their goals?
Changing the culture with this model for a school or organization is easy and is flexible enough to be applied to any facet. Whether one is trying to help improve attendance or assisting students becoming more organized, the steps remain the same and by consistently using over time will have a significant impact on every level it touches.
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