The Growth Minded Educator Contest is our way of capturing and sharing collective learning experiences, and recognizing the efforts that educators have put into instilling and cultivating a Growth Mindset in their students.

April 2013 Contest Results

GerryWassWe had some terrific entries to April's contest, and our winner is... Gerry Wass!

Congratulations to our winner, and thank you to all who participated! We received some fantastic submissions, and will reach out to some of you to discuss ways to share the other entries.

Below is the winning entry to the contest question: "There are many free Brainology resources on the Mindset Works webpage.  Which Free Resource have you used in your classroom? Share your results and/or students' work with the community!"

First of all, the overall effect has been to catapult me into believing that I can pull off a first-of-its-kind summer school class to last the entire summer, eight hours per week.  It's possibly the most ambitious thing I've ever done and it demonstrates that I am close to the outer limits of my own growth mindset now.

I have most used the Growth Mindset Framing tool to change my teacher talk and build everything around how learning a foreign language requires hard work, that the brain needs the difficulty of a challenge, so that I must challenge them.  After years of trying not to be too hard on timid students, I now understand that they must be challenged more, to be called out when they fail to do the work of participating, that there is no shame in making mistakes, and so on.  I have a feeling that I am actually on my way to challenging at least a little a fundamental premise of progressive language learning, the Comprehensible Input principle that says everything must be explained to make sure that we don't raise the "affective filter."  I think that may make us challenge students too little.

I am now designing a way to use the Effective Effort Rubric to let students figure out for themselves where they are on the spectrum, after having had them take the test which explicitly pinpoints their mindset and feeling that it generated a negative reaction that took time to work past. I don't want them to see an exact score but rather to privately assess their own general position in tandem with the opportunities given on the same line.  I'm inclined to use this rubric as my primary tool because it gives them more freedom to assess themselves gently.

I have placed the Class Motto tool into my curriculum for this summer Service Learning class to help them set goals.  I think this works well with a Kaizen process, a tool we have successfully used in Service Learning classes before, and I'm excited about learning to use this so it feeds back to my regular class teaching.

About Gerry Wass

Gerry teaches introductory Latin, French and German to sixth graders, Italian to seventh graders and Spanish to 8-12th grades in a multi-level classroom that includes levels 1-4 and native speakers, at Purdy R-II schools in southwest Missouri.  He also teaches a Service Learning class that concentrates on recycling and gardening.  He is advisor to the Spanish Club which operates the Purdy Recycling Project, the only school-based, industrial recycling program in the nation that is now in its 7th year, having recycled over 630,000 pounds of material.  He and his wife also have a small farm on which they practice  intensive rotational grazing.  Gerry is a singer/songwriter among many other interests. Gerry says: "Finding Mindset has greatly intensified my sense of fulfillment and success."