A New Mantra for Mindset

I’ve been searching for a way to deepen the connection of Student Academics, Interests, and Mindset so that we can make shifts in our school culture to support students even better. Taking the time to think deeply about this has helped me create a vision for the direction I’d like to go in and it has to do with connecting Interests and Mindset in support of Academics.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to watch Rick Miller’s thought-provoking Ted Talk called “Kids at Hope” where he argues that we need to think of kids at hope rather than kids at risk. Miller believes that Hope is a skill, like reading and writing, that needs to be taught. He described the process of having children imagine the life they want to live in the future – the kind of job they want, if they will have a family, what interests they want to have, and how they want to give back to their community – and then having the child travel back in time to the present to begin connecting the work they do now to where they want to go in the future.

I was blown away by the “simplexity” of this approach. It seems so simple to implement, but that notion doesn’t recognize the complexity of teaching students Hope. Miller emphasizes that the adults who teach students and would also be in charge of teaching students Hope and questions if that’s possible if we adults aren’t hopeful ourselves.

A couple of weeks later I revisited the book The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, by George Couros. I like returning to this great read from time to time — I speaks to my philosophy of teaching, learning and leading. I ended up coming across a YouTube video of Couros talking about the Innovator’s Mindset and one line he shared really stuck with me.

Couros said that the Innovator’s Mindset takes Growth Mindset to a whole different level. He said that we need to teach children to think, “Not only will I learn how to do this, but I am going to create something new with this new knowledge”.

And just like that, I started to see how Academics, Interests and Mindset all work together in a deep way that will help students succeed. If our mantra is “I am going to learn this and then create something new with this new knowledge”, we are unleashing a growth mindset, creativity, perseverance, and interests-based learning for our students. Connect this approach with Rick Miller’s approach to teaching Hope and I think we have a instructional approach that would help us help students achieve more and help them develop the thinking skills they need in order to be successful.

I want to continue to develop this concept to help make it more concrete so that I can hopefully help others see this vision for teaching and learning. Let me know what you think – I’d love to have your feedback!

Have a GREAT week! Here’s the Staff Update for this week.