Last month, as part of our Lighthouse Educator Workshop Series, we discussed how we determine success with our students. In the field of educational therapy, our ultimate goal is that our students thrive, in multiple settings, no longer needing our support. So, what is it we are looking for in order to call our work with a particular student a success? We met as a team in our Ojai Learning Center and, as we reflected together on past and current students, several indicators of success came to mind. Through our discussion, we determined that, as a result of their time with us, our most successful students:
- independently demonstrate and apply the skills that they’ve worked to develop
- enjoy learning in many environments and through many modalities
- feel confident in themselves and their skills
- demonstrate willingness to take risks and try new things
- persevere in times of challenge
- exhibit self-awareness (understand their strengths and weaknesses)
- posses a growth mindset (know that they can improve their skills)
- advocate for themselves to get the instruction and support that they need
These are many of the qualitative measures that we look for as our students progress through their work with us. Of course, there are quantitative measures of success as well; test scores, report card grades, and percentile rankings on measures of essential skills are all important factors when determining our success as educators. However, in reality, these measures are far less important than the way students feel about their own abilities and educational experiences. As we continue to consider how we determine success, we also need to think about the many factors that contribute to a student’s successful outcomes. What strengths do students bring with them, and what qualities do we possess as educators, that facilitate the most successful outcomes. In coming weeks, we will learn about and discuss many of these qualities in hopes of promoting maximum success for all of our students!
This week, our meeting will focus on the importance of possessing a growth mindset. Carol Dweck, PhD. has pioneered research on motivation. Through her work, we have learned much about why people succeed and how to foster success. Her research has shown us that, while many people maintain a fixed mindset (the belief that intelligence and talent are determined at birth and maintained throughout life), as educators, we must operate from and convey a growth mindset as we work to maximize learning and foster success for all of our students. Please follow this link to read, reflect upon, and share your thoughts about this article from the August 3, 2007 edition of New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/
As you read, consider these questions:
- To what extent do you, as a parent or educator, posses a growth mindset?
- When was the last time you praised a child for being “smart?”
- When was the last time you praised a child for his or her effort?