I am a firm believer in the power of the growth mindset, and approach each year with the belief that all my students are capable of learning and growth. What is growth mindset? Simply put, it is the belief that intelligence and ablity are not fixed traits or that we are born with only so much of them. Rather, with effort and perseverance, all students are capable of academic achievement.
Every day, your child will be immersed in the growth mindset in my classroom. My students will be asked to take educational risks. They will be praised not for their mental quickness or natural intelligence but for approaching the process of learning with grit and determination. As a result, they will grow in ways they never thought possible.
But, here's the thing...these messages cannot only come from me, so this letter is an attempt to ask for your help. How can you help? You can value growth and improvement in your home. I am not a teacher who puts a high premium on scores and a number at the top of a paper. Yes, grading is valuable as a data tool for tracking progress and helping me devise appropriate instruction, but the most important thing is that we see students grow. For example, if a student goes from scoring a 55 percent on a test to scoring a 68 percent, we have two choices. We can either look at the 68 percent as a failure, or we can celebrate it as a big increase in understanding of a skill or concept. I choose the latter. I'm not asking you to throw a party over a failing grade, but I am asking you to be mindful of where your students start and how they progress over time. In my estimation, continual progress, however small, is to be valued.
Here are some things you can do to extend and promote growth mindset in your home:
- Encourage your child to take risks and tackle new challenges at school.
- Praise your child not for the ease with which he or she learns a concept, but for the amount of effort.
- Communicate with me if the material is too easy for your child, so we can offer him or her other learning challenges.
- Emphasize perseverance and effort in extracurricular activities. For example, "I'm proud of how much effort you put into that basketball game," instead of, "I'm proud of how many points you scored in that basketball game."
I hope you'll commit to joining me on this growth-mindset journey. I cannot do it without your help. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns!