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"If you're going to grow [and] improve your school, embracing the honesty of student voice is crucial in empowering students to become partners in that process." -Nikki Hinostro, Director of High Tech Middle School
High Tech High's name has become synonymous with project-based learning and 21st Century Skills. The 13-school network in San Diego attracts thousands of visitors each year who come to find inspiration for their own classrooms and school models. So where does a successful school system look when its leaders want to target and prioritize areas for growth? To outside consultants? Academic researchers? Or to those who have the largest stake in school success - the students themselves?
Watch Video of Growth Mindset Middle School-ers in Action!
Music Director, Julie Ahlborn is putting growth mindset into action!
At Reagan Academy middle school in Springville, UT, her students enter her orchestra class with only a cursory knowledge of sight reading music. She wanted them to see how much they grow in one year so that they will be motivated to continue their music studies, becoming lifelong musicians.
Julie says, "To play a musical instrument takes a lot of practice for muscle and mind memory to grow and develop. Many people find practicing a challenging task." Julie blends growth mindset research with her teaching practices fluidly to cultivate a growth mindset in orchestra and motivate students to practice. And she creates videos (below) to document the students' growth! How does she do this?
Here are a few things she described to us...
My team and I worked tirelessly for three days to create an online middle school math lesson that would engage kids and excite them about math. At the end of three days, our lesson would be judged by real live students against lessons created by other teams. When it came time to present our lesson to the kids, we were nervous but excited. We had worked well as a team, really bonded over the past three days, and were proud of what we had created. Ten teams presented their ideas, and they were all fantastic! I felt gratified to work with people who put so much effort into writing creative and engaging online lessons. At the awards ceremony, we were sad to see we hadn't won first place, but still proud of our efforts. We knew we had a lesson that would engage kids in math, and felt we had put our best ideas to good use. Until the next, "surprise" award was announced. You can imagine our shock, dismay, and embarrassment when we heard our group called as winners of "The Worst Idea" award, and were then called to stand in front of our colleagues and accept the award. What an epic failure! How does one recover from such a humiliating setback?