What Mindset are your students in?
I do a bulletin board project with my management students every semester. It is a great way to get students to work together to create something that will be on the walls of their classroom throughout the entire semester. There are four items they are required to put on the bulletin boards. They have complete creative control over how they want the bulletin board to look. There are six total boards in the classroom and I have two classes working on them. Each class has three bulletin boards to create. The groups are way too big on purpose. I get to observe the process of leadership and communication within the groups. Usually the extrinsic students take the lead and start working out their plan for the bulletin board.
This year, something interesting happened with one of the groups. The 4 day project took them only 30 minutes to complete. The group was not organized in any particular way. No leaders or communication occurred. The group haphazardly constructed the board with only the minimum requirements. No more effort was put into the process.
Upon the completion of the 4 day projects, 5 great bulletin boards were created and one plain one. The students looked at the plain one and snickered a little bit. I saw the embarrassment in the groups’ eyes that created it. I saw a learning moment happen. I understood the mindset of this group. In the evaluation process where we all talked about how our bulletin boards came about, I thanked the group with the plain board. The rest of the class looked at me in confusion. I asked the students in the plain board group why their looked the way it did. The answer was that they put everything on it that was required and nothing else. “That’s what you asked for Mr. Hostrawser.” Exactly. I explained the mindsets to the whole class at this point.
The plain boards mindset was to get it done fast. Just get it done. They had the fixed mindset. The rest of the class chose to be creative. They chose to challenge and motivate themselves. They chose to show what they could create. They didn’t care about what needed to be there. They incorporated the requirements into their own creations. They wanted to learn. They had a growth mindset.
The fixed mindset is evident in many of our students. I see students just doing what the teacher tells them to. The “just get it done” mentality is evident here. As a teacher, I try to break students out of this mold. I challenge myself to teach students to get into a growth mindset. I want them to see the value of challenging themselves to find opportunity and value in everything they do. Students who don’t just focus on the grade usually do better in life. The growth mindset encourages passionate practice and learning. As a teacher, try to identify what mindsets your students are in. Move them from fixed to growth mindsets. After all… Growth Mindset > Fixed Mindset