- Christina Gil, a former classroom teacher, writes for Edutopia that the self-reflection required to develop a true growth mindset can be difficult and painful, but it can significantly improve a person’s teaching — which is why teachers shouldn’t just foster growth mindset in their students, but also in themselves.
- Gil writes teachers can do this by focusing on what they find most difficult and improving that by trying innovative solutions to classroom weaknesses without being afraid to fail, and by seeking feedback from colleagues and students to better understand their room for growth.
- Gil also recommends teachers adopt a mindset that they are always developing their skills, reflect on their performance at the end of every day, and be conscious of the times their instinct is to write something off as being an area of teaching they’re just not good at or, in other words, where they have a fixed mindset.
It is easy to focus on improving the mindsets of students without turning the strategy on adults, but modeling the growth mindset can be one of the best ways to teach students. When teachers try innovative things in their classrooms and they fail, being open and honest about the failure and what can be learned by it is a lesson in growth mindset, in resiliency and in persistence. Teachers, however, can only feel comfortable admitting failure if they have a supportive administration behind them.
Lourenco Garcia, principal of Revere High School, near Boston, and Mario Andrade, superintendent of the Bristol Warren Regional School district in Rhode Island, both said at a recent Future Ready Schools summit that making teachers feel safe failing was a key element in becoming a 21st century school. Teachers who have to feel perfect all the time can’t develop a growth mindset. They’re already supposed to have achieved the pinnacle. Better schools come when everyone aims to improve their practice every day.