Practice Makes Perfect.

At the centre of our school plan is Actively Involved Learners. 



In my teaching Inquiry, I have been looking at how critique and collaboration affects resilience and outcomes of student work and creating agentic learners in creating those scenes described by our Principal of the teacher skipping out the gate at the end of the day, with the students crawling, exhausted, as opposed to the other way around. I have touched on resilience a few times, as a key factor as it is one of our school vlaues and I keep wondering how we measure it; the timed drawings in year 11 and Manaakitanga in year 12 and 13 for instance have been active examples of me trying to figure this out. Achievement is going to come about as a result of commitment and resilience in my opinion. Respect is almost an aside, though necessary, obviously. In researching resilience as a topic to explicitly teach my students, in order to improve their outcomes, I go back to this each time; Carol Dweck wrote a theory about how your mindset affects your success. We have been looking at this as a larger part of our school professional learning:


Being able to pick yourself up and have another go is success not failure. Un-resilient students see falling in the first place as failing, so don’t even try and pick themselves back up. It’s too late. Picking yourself back up is resilient behaviour. The default setting as 'hard work and effort', make this real. People with a growth mindset are already doing this. People with a fixed mindset are hiding and avoiding having to, looking for the things that they are so ‘talented’ at, that they don’t have to work hard at, so that they don't have to risk failure.
How does it come about?
According to Dweck, it is totally able to be taught. Developmental stages do not seem to mean anything in teaching ourselves to become growth mindset kinds of people.

growth mindset summary.png
This slide is from Carol Dweck’s own youtube presentation in which she elaborates further, citing a Native American school on a reservation that was the bottom of the equivalent to league tables for their state. They were pulled back up to the top using her theories of how to praise, when to praise and how to speak about the power of “yet”.

This is slightly left-field but I was watching Sesame Street with my daughter last weekend and this was on; Sesame Street is one of those mainstays of Children's TV that is well researched and cleverly sequenced together, being the first childrens' programme to systematically use research and it's own 'curriculum ' in developing it's content (Gerald S. Lesser. Children and Television: Lessons from Sesame Street. New York: Vintage Books. p. xv. ISBN 0-394-71448-2.). And look at that, this is written with direct reference to Dweck's research on "YET". It is a fantastic example of explicitly capturing children's attention with a message that teaches a growth mindset. She was singing along after less than a minute. 


There are larger social factors that are positively affected by teaching this theory to communities; aggressive reactions are lowered, teaching a growth mindset about personal qualities lowers a person's chances of reacting violently. Bullying is lowered. Dweck calls it a basic human right for children to exist in communities that allow them to develop growth mindsets. 

It seems to me that teaching agency and resilience are interlinked concepts. One doesn't easily happen without the other. Teaching students to be their own leader of change is reliant on understanding resilience and having a growth mindset. 

My next focusing questions:
  • How does this apply to Year 11 critiques and removing some, or in fact quite a lot of the scaffolding/whole-class teaching? The speed drawing methods we used earlier in the year?
  • How does that apply to Manaakitanga? What data do I have?
  • What are my next steps for Year 11? What data am I collecting?
  • What do I do differently in Year 12 regarding the Manaakitanga?
  • Is it worth making visual cues on the growth mindset for the classroom and explicitly referring to it in each class? How would I measure the impact of this?

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