Making growth mindsets stick.

Randall Lahann of MATCH Teacher Residency made a great set of videos a few months back about the “Four Horseman of Fixed Mindset”.  You can still catch the videos over at Mike Goldstein’s blog.

The four horseman are wonderfully sticky tags for the attitudes that bedevil our progress.  The tags make it easier for both coaches and coached to call out fixed mindsets.

Elliott Witney of KIPP Houston and I pulled the four horseman into our KFET course to illustrate the challenges of coaching.   Elliot took the activity one step further.  He had the leaders develop sticky tags for the growth mindsets we want to point out and cultivate.

This list came from fifteen minutes of the leaders’ work. We’d love to hear other suggestions or revisions.  Ultimately I’d love to name four five variations of the growth mindset that we weave into our training and coaching next year.

1.  Tim Gunn: makes it work.  finds a way.

2.  Apprentice: constantly asks for feedback. Seeks mentorship.  Like a child pulling on your sleeve with a question.

3.  Scavenger: Constantly digs and searches everywhere for resources, ideas, and strategies to improve.

4. Ears of Michael Jackson: although things might sound great, tries to find one beat or one note to improve.

5. Off-season ballerina: Like a football player who spends time in a ballet studio during the off-season, looks for ways to complement strengths or weaknesses outside the content area or classroom.

6.  Navy Seal: revels in the challenge.  The just “get er done” mentality.

7.  Man in the Mirror: Constantly reflecting and growing.  Self-assessing all the time.

8.  Kudzu/Phragmites: forever growing plant.  It will grow through everything.  Through concrete.

9.  The River:  keeps moving forward.  Not stagnant like a pond.  Cuts a new path around obstacles.

10.  Blacksmith: constantly reflects and tweaks their own performance looking for new edges or angles.

11.  Scientist: someone who depersonalizes the teaching experience (not in a bad way) and makes it all about the data.

12.  General Contractor: I have the tools in my toolbox.  No job it too small or too large to tackle.


6 Responses to “Making growth mindsets stick.”

  1. joyteachers Says:

    I’m not sure what it would be called, but I feel like there’s one that’s the opposite of the Scientist. Both equally valuable, but someone who deeply personalizes the teaching experience, and their strength is on constantly learning more about each individual student. Attacking their growth and success as individuals as opposed to collectively.

    I’ll never forget when you once said to me in my second year of teaching “Sometimes the strength of the lion is in the pride, but sometimes the pride will become stronger when we focus on the individual lions”. Some of the best teachers I know have approached their instruction and growth with that end goal in mind, as opposed to data/numbers. Or really, with the deep understanding that those data/numbers are not indicators of their own success, but that each one represents a person that we care deeply about succeeding.

    I love this list- good luck narrowing it down to four or five 🙂 I’ll definitely be thinking on it and how to apply this to my PD for the upcoming year.

  2. charlesabq Says:

    My favorite example of the Your Wrong I Rule fixed mindset:

    Teacher punches vice pincipal in the face during evaluation.

  3. Randall Says:

    Love these! Great work. Who do I need to talk to about incorporating these into MTR curriculum for next year?

  4. Linnie Says:

    Book Review – 4

  5. Project Free TV Says:

    I just saw something about this on tv. It talked the same things you wrote about.

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