24 Learning: June 2015

24 Learning

Sunday, June 21, 2015

James Anderson - Growth Mindsets

We worked on Thursday with James Anderson.

Image result for james Anderson growth Mindset What a great day unpacking the ideas around Growth Mindsets.

He finished up by talking about Failure. "I failed vs I am a failure." Fail is an event not a person.

Failure as a starting point rather than as a finishing point.

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

James is developing a rubric to try and describe failing well. This is something about persistence and attitude to learning.

We have been left with a challenge to think about what we want to change, when we will change this by, who we will seek support from and how we will know that we have changed.

The messages I have taken from the session seem to fall under two main strands. There are the issues surrounding my own mindset and the times I have a fixed or growth mindset and what contributes to that. The other strand is the language I use that either promotes or inhibits a growth mindset in the children I work with (and with my own children).

Now I need to go back to the

book to mull this over some more.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Skipped to chapter 7

The sports coaching chapter didn't hold my attention. And hey! What bloke wants to talk about relationships? I mean seriously. I had to skip chapter 6. So chapter 7 it is.

To be honest the first 14 pages of this chapter didn't really do much for me on first reading. The message seemed to be about caring for children, giving them messages of valuing learning rather than judgement of performance and "not measuring up".

On page 201 under the heading "Growth-Minded Teachers: Who Are These People?"  was a quote from Seymour Sarason a professor of Carol Dweck. He said, "There's an assumption that schools are for students' learning. Well, why aren't they just as much for teachers' learning?" Carol's reflection was that she thinks about what she finds fascinating  and what she would love to learn more about and that makes her a fresh and eager teacher, even after many years.

I read this and immediately thought about my first year teaching a Year 7 class at South New Brighton School. I had been learning about collaborative learning, habits of mind, integrating ICT into learning, how to engage learners through passion projects, multiple intelligences, and how to integrate curriculum for deeper learning. I was really fortunate to be working with a Principal (Margaret Trotter) who believed in letting people try things out. She allowed me to have heaps of technology in my room (a collection of mac and PC's, cameras, video cameras etc). We experimented with the classroom layout, the furniture and the timetable. We integrated the curriculum and engaged in some lengthy projects. One fond memory is of a three week project. The class self selected groups to work with. Each group had a week (no other lessons in the timetable except sport) to complete their projects. One group made a class magazine, another group made a clayanimation movie and I can't remember now what the third group did. The level of engagement was just spectacular to watch. I wish I had the animation to show you but sadly the following week our classroom was broken into and the computer gear (including the back up drive with the movie on it) was stolen. We were gutted at first. We stayed out of our classroom and went to the library while we waited for the police to come and fingerprint the crime scene. When they didn't show up for two days and then we got the message that they weren't coming we decided to do our own crime scene investigation. We traced the drops of blood from the broken window. Speculated on what they had used to break open the computer cabinet. Inspected the bloody fingerprint left on a shelf. Not quite the ending I had imagined to our movie making venture but great learning in itself.

Anyway... That diversion down memory lane was my mental link to "following your interests." I had been learning about clayanimation, showed the kids what I had learnt and then let them get on with it.

Carol Dweck describes a violin teacher, Dorothy DeLay, and gives examples of her growth mindset influence on her pupils. She says, "Dorothy DeLay was an extraordinary teacher because she was not interested in teaching. She was interested in learning (p.202)."

Right ho! Back to chapter 6...

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Teaching Philosophy

Well I found this a bit tricky actually. I haven't really had to articulate my philosophy of teaching for a long time. In the spirit of my last post I think short is better so here it is...

The aim of teaching and learning is wisdom.
Wisdom is mostly gained through experience... therefore...teaching should mostly be about creating experiences with the learner. The more memorable the experience the better the learning.

Learning by doing is better than learning by listening. (Project based learning beats sage on the stage)
I learn more by trying to teach someone else.
Talking about my learning helps me modify my understanding.
Learning should be fun. (Not easy but fun. If I am interested in it and can see that it is relevant to me and it is fun, then I will stick at new learning much longer.)
Learning together is better than learning alone. (mostly)
If I understand myself as a learner I can become a better learner.
Positive relationships are really important.
I need to know the learners I am working with.  (ZPD, Learning Muscles, Habits of Mind, Passions, Scaffolding, Next Steps, What do they think is fun?)
Almost anyone can learn almost anything.

Of course I do realise that the next question is, "So how does this look in your teaching practice?"

Mmmmm. Honestly? Sometimes really aligned with this. At other times not so much. Good to be reminded about what I believe in though.

So help me out here. What have I left out? I am sure there are really deep important things about the teaching and learning complexity that I have missed.

Share your ideas...

Rising above the ordinary

So... I sat down to write a post of my teaching philosophy for an upcoming staff meeting. We are developing our school vision and the phrase that has come to the top so far is "Rising above the ordinary". A google search on that brought up this great poem from SYL65

We must bear the treasure of sacred trust

And believe we have found something profound

Unlike the experiences of past ghosts

We have stepped out of the ordinary

To build with soft hands and open hearts

The world can be crazy sometimes

I believe though, we are strong enough

To not get caught up and tossed about

Love and hope will be our anchor

Together, we can make it through anything

Phew! This speaks volumes.

So then I got distracted by this trending video on youtube 


It is only 1 minute 18 seconds long. Just do it.

Which reminded about a favourite of mine. Stop It

Which has pleasantly filled in a 20 minute distraction from the task at hand which was to write my teaching philosophy in one paragraph.

Now that I have got that far I think I will come back to it.