Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Reflective Teaching and a Growth Mindset

Reflective teaching is a process where teachers think over their teaching practices, analyzing how something was taught and how the practice might be improved or changed for better learning outcomes. (study.com)

A friend and teaching colleague recently shared a blog post entitled The Growth Mindset Initiative .  In her post she shares about her struggle to answer a Twitter Chat questions about growth mindset in the classroom. She knew she was doing great things in her class, but needed to make sense of where they fell in the scheme of creating a growth mindset. I enjoyed her article; her thoughts, examples, and plans for how she has and will create a growth mindset, but the thing that struck me the most was her honest reflection.

This idea of  honest reflection really got me thinking on how closely honest reflection and growth mindset are related. Most of us enjoy reflecting on our achievements and successes in the classroom  -- celebrating our accomplishments; but when it comes to reflecting on areas where we need to grow or admitting that our plans fell short, the task of reflection can be more difficult. True reflection is honest reflection, the kind of reflection that can makes us feel uncomfortable. When we're determined to grow we will face our fears head on and learn from past challenges. We welcome new and different ideas that cause us to reflect on our teaching and broaden our thoughts.  Honest reflection, the willingness to challenge ourselves and grow, are the very essence of a growth mindset.

As educators, it is important for us to be transparent in our reflection and growth.  When others see us openly sharing our journey, our questions, and our reflections, they themselves may be inspired to take the plunge into the "reflecting pool".  Great teachers, like my friend Amanda, are not only amazing teachers, but are an encouragement to other educators not only in word but in example.  Sometimes our greatest encouragement doesn't come from the person in the room who has all the answers, but from the person who is most willing to share his/her struggles and what they have learned from them. When we openly share, reflect, and grow we are creating a growth mindset among other educators....creating a safe place for educators to grow!! Why wouldn't we want for other educators what we so desperately desire for our students?

As a new school year approaches, I want to be open in my reflecting -- embracing challenges, and mistakes in the same way I encourage my students to do -- as steps in the process of learning!! Reflection and a growth mindset go hand in hand!!

For further reading:
What It Means To Be A Reflective Teacher

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