When I was growing up, it seemed that a fixed mindset was rather predominant in my way of thinking. It wasn’t unusual to hear people, including myself, say, “I’m not good at math” or “I’ll never make the team–I’m not good at sports.” Other expressions such as “It’s too hard” or “I can’t do that” or “I give up” were often heard in classrooms. A fixed mindset may have been established early, and it remained that way going forward. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that ability and talent continually develop. Gifts and talents are uncovered as we allow curiosity to grow. It’s not unusual to hear of artists and writers, actors or actresses, who discovered their talent much later in adult life, serving as inspiration to all of us to keep trying, keep believing, keep growing and discovering our emerging abilities. And so it is with our students.
This year, we are pushing our students to adopt a growth mindset, one that leaves the door open for those emerging abilities and talents. Outside of our Student Center, students are reminded that when we change our words, we change our mindset. “I can learn anything…I can know anything…I can be anything” are encouraging words that allow for growth, not instant perfection. Sheila Tobias has said, “There’s a difference in not knowing and not knowing YET.” And so we keep trying, keep improving, and keep training our brains to learn more and master more. With an understanding that it takes time and patience and an attitude to keep trying, we can help to steer our students away from always focusing on the end result rather than on the process of learning. Through trial and error, learning through failure, and a willingness to get back up again when we stumble, we can see that a growth mindset allows for unlimited possibilities. I, for one, am changing how I perceive what once seemed impossible. Through example, we can lead our students to believe that success may take time and effort, but the results will bring deep satisfaction and growing self-esteem.
Head of School