Practice What You Preach: Growth Mindset

I've been fascinated by all things growth mindset since I began hearing about it a few years ago.  I weave it into every professional development I lead, I use intentional language with students to encourage a growth mindset, and I feel myself secretly identifying growth and fixed mindsets during conversations with my friends.

At my core, I believe it.  I believe that what you think about yourself greatly impacts how you approach a situation, how you interpret what is happening, and how you feel about the outcome.  Mindset is critical, whether you are an adult or a student.  Whether you are learning to read or learning to knit.  Whether you are hoping to become a better basketball player or a stronger teacher.

Someone with a growth mindset knows that we are all constantly improving and getting better...
     Someone with a growth mindset sees feedback as a learning experience...        
            Someone with a growth mindset craves feedback...    
         why the heck is opening yourself up to feedback so darn scary?

My district is part of the Partnerships for Comprehensive Literacy with Linda Dorn and Carla Soffos out of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Each week I get to be in class with these two brilliant women and today I had the opportunity to teach a small group and have them watch and give me feedback.  Amazing opportunity, right?  Should be my growth mindset's dream, right?  My growth mindset quickly turned fixed and I was terrified.

Which got me thinking...why is the idea of feedback so scary?  So intimidating?  Even when we truly believe the power it contains?  How can I, as a coach, walk the talk of a growth mindset?  How can I support teachers in building a growth mindset?  How can I continue to build (and test!) my growth mindset?

Luckily, I survived the teaching and feedback session and learned a lot along the way.  Perhaps a growth mindset doesn't mean you're not nervous heading into it, rather that you take that risk and put yourself out there, while being open to the learning along the way.



  1. Isn't strange how we can believe in a growth mindset, but yet we are still terrified of some learning experiences. Nerves can attack even the most growth oriented individual, particularly those of us who tend to be perfectionists. But as long as we still go ahead and dare to jump into the experience despite our fears, we will continue to grow! Thanks for sharing your experience (and I'm more than a little bit envious that you had such a wonderful learning opportunity).

  2. I love this post and the recognition of vulnerability being a part of a growth mindset. I had not necessarily thought about this, but I think it is a key component and makes so much sense. That was a pretty amazing opportunity that you had. Your feelings were understandable, and I am glad that you were able to have this important aha in order to learn from it even though you were terrified.


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