BY KAREN VAN EGMOND, ACS PARENT
I’m currently working on my Masters in Education. People ask me why, and I’m at the point where I’m asking myself that same question. Let me tell you, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
In addition to the coursework, I have to come up with a project to demonstrate my learning (think: POL night on steroids!). I’ve decided to show how using complex tasks with Dash and Dot robots can increase student growth mindset. Persistence, metacognition, and reflective learning to complement the core competencies…it’s huge. It’s important. It’s relevant.
It’s taking over my life.
Where’s the fun?
In the head space where I could usually plan birthday parties, I am now planning how to develop pre and post surveys to determine the self-reflective attitudes toward student learning. Instead of having people over for dinner, my dining room table hosts coded journals, bits of paper, ethics reviews, research articles, APA handbooks, empty tea cups, and a box of Kleenex. “I should be working on my child’s homework” has turned into “I have to do homework, please be quiet.” Creative dinners have been replaced with Costco pizza.
But, don’t feel sorry for me. I chose this. I wanted to do this. Why?
Grit and Growth
If I can be an example to my children and my students to show them that learning is important, it will be worth it. Learning is tough, and it’s important to persevere. Growth mindset and the power of “yet” are more real to me now than ever. I’m learning the importance of inclusion in schools, the value of persistence, the power of research, and the understanding that the more I learn, the less I know.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering: what does the research say?
Praise wisely, praise process, praise perseverance, praise persistence—not just the performance or the final grade, but the process of learning. (For more information on growth mindset, be inspired by the work of Carol Dweck).
I think the Bible knows something about growth mindset too. “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT).
If I’m not yet done and I’m in the process—so are our kids. I value the self-reflections that came home in my child’s report card—it showed me that she was thinking about the process of her learning. It gave me a unique window into how she thinks about her thinking and what her gifts are. I’m proud of how she is negotiating the complex problems of math and reflecting on her ability.
Be patient. God isn’t finished with you…yet. (Philippians 1:6)