At the beginning of this course, I believed that learning was a creating knowledge process. I still agree with this information. Dweck’s work on fixed vs. growth mindset shows us that it is possible for us to continue learning when we make the focus on the actual process of learning instead of focusing on the content. We need to celebrate even small strides in the learning process and be comfortable tackling difficult problems and wrestling with them over the course of our period of solving them. As I sat through pre-conferences during workshop week, I noticed that my new co-workers frequently told me that our students were smart. My immediate follow-up to this was asking if they were a hard worker. As teachers, we collectively are apt to begin to think about and discuss students in terms of how smart they are, but we need to refocus frequently and think about how much students are willing to work to understand the information.
I also was thinking about organization in the classroom as we began the school year. It can often be difficult to myself let alone provide an organizational structure for my students. I am realizing more and more through my actual teaching experiences that the more that I can provide students with a consistent schedule, the more willing they will be to complete the tasks that we need done. For example, this year at my new school Mondays will be computer days, Tuesday will be instruction, Wednesday and Thursday will be guided groups and Friday will be assessment. By following a simple schedule, I can provide students with the consistency that they crave without them realizing that they are also going to be more organized.
I also have come to the understanding that I need to explicitly teach more problem solving. I need to work with students to understand the process of solving difficult problems. I need to give students the opportunity to witness an adult solving problems. I can do this by integrating more modeling and teacher talk into my curriculum.