Keep Improving

Jan 23, 2015 | by Janice Smith

In last week’s Video of the Week we looked at ‘Culture of Error’, from Doug Lemov’s new Teach Like a Champion 2.0.  This week, we have another example of how that culture, and a growth mindset, is built over time, one conversation at a time.  In fact, this is how most character development is taught, considering that every student is going to learn different lessons at different times.  Most likely when we as teachers find that perfect teachable moment and capitalize on it.*

Yet these conversations are often hard to capture on camera, so we’re really excited to share this one today.  Take a look, and then check out our favorite parts.

What We Love Most…

  • That Mr. Mengis views independent work as an opportunity to check in 1-on-1 with students.  Circulate, observe student work, address misconceptions, and follow up with individual students.
  • He took notice of students’ faces as he was handing out tests.  “I noticed that you looked disappointed.”  Not only did he notice, but he made it a priority to follow up and check in with him about it.  Sending the message ‘I care about you’ is done with not just words, but also actions like these.
  • In telling him he was proud of him, it wasn’t just for growth in his scores, but he specifically references the actions the student took that resulted in the growth.
  • He frames it in the bigger picture.  While the student might have been disappointed that this specific test score wasn’t higher, he references the overall trajectory of his scores, and that his hard work is leading to growth.

So much goodness in less than 60 seconds.  And this, one conversation at a time, is how you build a strong culture of error and students who understand and have a growth mindset as opposed to fix mindset.

*Dave Levin (one of the founders of KIPP) and the folks over at Relay Graduate School refer to these micro-moments, and have created a whole MOOC around how to create them.  If you haven’t checked it out before, DO IT!  It’s full of incredible resources and examples of how to build this culture in your classroom.  
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