You can do it! … something is missing.
As Growth mind-set gains ground in education, there is still a missing link. In the article of Gregg Toppo, Dweck’s words are mentioned that:
Teachers misinterpret growth mindset, and that they should praise children’s strategies and explain how these help bring the desired results.
This is more than true! Encouraging kids all this time as a teacher is… ok but I too was feeling that something was missing. Dweck explains it simply: Show them the strategies that can help them, which means differentiate. What teachers learn to do to cope with their various students is differentiation: finding different ways to support their students. In other words be flexible!
However Growth mindset will lose the battle if it fails to understand that
differentiation is not an easy thing to do.
So even though it’s wonderful, it has to get more practical. That is why I congratulate class dojo for explaining the idea though videos. Educational psychologists talk about differentiation but they need to realize that it’s an empty word when you have to respond to 25 students at the same time.
Can a teacher do this easily during the day? Is there enough time, to sit and explain to every child the right strategy? And what if one strategy is better for one child but not for another? What if each strategy requires a lot of time and practice to be learned well? What if the steps are too complicated for some children?
Reading a post by Jordan Shapiro I made a “connection”. Actually it was one sentence:
“in the early grades, it is not so much that some students are neglected as it is that the teacher can’t figure out how to reach them.”
Shapiro mentions the lack of common vocabulary between teacher and student. Nevertheless he envisions the solution in the future where game-based assessments and digital adaptive learning technologies will offer personalized assessment data that can help teachers help their students.
Jeffrey Bradbury points out as well that: differentiation can be achieved through the usage of technology. This means keeping data from students, use flipped classroom model and give students choice.
My point of view is that Growth Mindset supporters should turn their attention on making easier differentiation for teachers. This might be done though practical suggestions videos and technology with a big BUT!
Teachers are not digitally literate to use all the awesome technology that now exists. Meghan E. Murphy writes a crucial truth: only a few teachers know how to incorporate technology into their lessons. It is overwhelming for them and most of them learn how to use them in their own time.
Maybe this is the question that growth mindset supporters need to answer.
How to make differentiation easier for teachers and how can we attract teachers to digital literacy?
What solutions can we offer? We are standing at a point where we know the solution but we cannot implement it the best way we can. Of course we will do our best, like we always do, but seriously what do you think?