Saturday, December 6, 2014


One thing that really stuck in my mind after hearing Carol Tomlinson speak was the idea of Mindset in the classroom.  Mindset is the work of Dr. Carol Dweck and is game changing research about how we view intelligence.

Dr. Tomlinson provided a few slides that made the idea of fixed versus growth mindset clear in my mind.  (These slides are available on her website under Presentations - VAST) I knew the power of teachers who have this mindset and the implications for how they reach students.  However, I had not thought of the implications that come from the children themselves.  Yes, teachers may think that all kids can learn and grow...but if the children do not believe in themselves, then the work of the teacher is that much harder.

These slides will provide even more information about how children may view themselves.  My mind went immediately to several of my students - some students who live in poverty and move from school to school, others are students who struggle in one or more areas.  And then, something clicked and I realized she was talking about my son!  He used to have a growth mindset when he was in elementary school.  He was surrounded by people who believed in him and helped him learn.  And then he went to middle and high school where the expectations and teaching philosophy changed.  He didn't fit their mold of what a student should be - he is a creative soul who never fit in the box.  Now, he is struggling - academically and emotionally.  Don't ever think that mindset of a teacher can not affect a child...because it truly does.

What can we do? As teachers it is so important that we give students messages that help them understand that they can change their mindset.  If they get stuck in the cycle of a fixed mindset, they will have a hard time learning and being successful.  We need to observe our students and figure out which ones need our help believing in themselves...

There is so much more to this idea, and one that I can not wait to explore further.  I hope that this has piqued your curiosity as well. 


  1. Love the new posts! I too, work with FOSS so I follow what you are doing. I have over 80% free and reduced at my school where I teach K-5 science. I forwarded your posts to my principal. Thanks for sharing!

    Renee at The Science School Yard

  2. Thanks! Yes, I had read about how important my mindset was as a teacher but had never considered the implications of how their mindsets could affect their growth in the classroom. Very Powerful!