Did you ever read something that causes you to evaluate how you teach?  I’m in the Masters of Educational Psychological program at The University of Northern Colorado. The class I’m taking now, Motivate in Education, has me rethinking my logic; my delivery of information, and how I assess learning.  

A recent publication called Mindsets That Promote Resilience: When Students Believe That Personal Characteristics Can Be Developed has got me thinking I need to open the class in a whole new way, and maybe you could do this too.

Most students struggle with schoolwork (and any age).  But, how do we set them, so they press on and don’t give up?  How can educators help them to embrace the obstacles they’re about to face and overcome them?  Do we really spend any time on this at all? I can tell you I don’t do enough.

Do you know what resilience is? The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.  Do we as educators set up students for success and make them understand the path of least resistance?  Students are encircled with moments that vigorous challenge them to keep going.

So what are we to do?  What am I going to do? I’m going to share what I’ve come up with, I’m calling the Cold-Open to Class.

I’ll ask them if they perceive their ability to master learning as high or low. I’m also going to ask the students if they think I can shape them and improve them with their hard work and effort.  Do they have the motivation to learn already or am I going to have to help them with their motivation to succeed? I’m going to ask them what their beliefs about effort are? How much energy will it take to learn?  Do they have any strategies to deploy to overcome obstacles?

I will then tell them I’m here for them.  I do this all the time, and I don’t think it gets through.  But if I explain that a students' intellectual ability can change, develop and improve with time, effort, sound strategies and help from myself and others maybe than can understand the learning opportunities both inside and outside my classroom. I want to help them reframe the challenges ahead into opportunities to learn and practice overcoming the obstacles and turn failure into new strategies.

I found this graphic from Dr. Carol S. Dweck on the two mindsets; fixed and growth.  I think I’ll share this in the Cold-Open.