Growth Mindset, Teacher Style

Growth mindset is not just for students. If I want to get better at my job, I need to be willing to seek feedback on what I’m doing, acknowledge mistakes, and focus my effort on learning from the work we’re doing together. While you don’t give me feedback in the same ways that I give it to you, the activity level and the energy level of the class are sources of feedback that I have to pay attention to.

In the last couple of days, I can’t say that I’m thrilled with the way I’m managing the class. My dissatisfaction is rooted in a habit I’m having difficulty breaking away from: my assumption that a study of Lord of the Flies has to culminate in an essay, because that’s the final assessment I’ve always done.

That’s probably why I’ve ended up stretching out this unit so that it seems like we’re going to spend the whole year on one book. My desire to have you succeed (whatever that means) on an essay has made me a little persnickety about “connecting details to stages of idea development,” a repetition that has made me start mocking myself in my unoccupied moments.

So how to solve the problem I’ve created for myself? How do we get the necessary closure for a unit so you can reflect meaningfully on what you’ve learned, without dragging it out forever, or doing it in predictable ways that you’ll hate?

You’ve worked mostly groupally to create infographics, and I jumped to hasty group feedback over what I saw as the deficits between what I expected and what I quickly saw. And it wasn’t a mistake on my part to give the individual assignment I gave yesterday, but I didn’t like my tone. So let me change things up a bit. I still want to build off the group assignment and have you complete something as an individual, and I still want you to (whiny teacher voice) connect sets of details to stages of purpose.

But let me throw some options at you for how you do this:

  1. An Adobe Spark project where you create a page that integrates real-world visuals with text from the novel and of your own writing
  2. A dialogue between you and one of the LotF characters where you ask them to discuss their thoughts and feelings about the way William Golding established, developed and ended their characterization
  3. A revised infographic that builds on what you’ve done as a group but puts your individual spin on the details

I’ll ask you to choose a pathway today, and then use the individual “Details to Ideas” assignment to execute your plan.


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