Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.
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I'm a huge fan of the Carol Dweck's work about the growth mindset. I know the idea of the growth mindset is a buzz word in education and one some people roll their eyes at, but I see fixed mindsets all over the place and it's real.
The thing about the growth mindset is that it's more than being open to new ideas. It's about knowing how to tackle something new, how to persevere when it gets sticky, and how to know that if it isn't difficult, we aren't necessarily growing.
This summer, I had a huge growth mindset revelation during my motorcycle class. During one of the drills, it became hard and I was frustrated. I talked to my instructor and I held back tears. It felt like there were too many things to be able to remember how to do all of them at once. Pulling in the clutch and rolling off the throttle and look over my shoulder and swerving to the left and gently squeezing in the brake and shifting down and putting my feet on the ground - the right one first. It was a lot!
I wanted to give up. This wasn't for me. It was too hard. But my instructor cheered me on, believed in me, told me to try again, smiled. So I took a deep breath, started up slowly, and got back in line to try again.
Once I was in line, I closed my eyes. I visualized being able to do it. I calmed myself down and I tried again. In my head, I repeated, "I believe I can and I will" over and over again. I passed the class - it wasn't with flying colors, I still have a lot of practicing to do - but I passed. I didn't give up.
It's one thing to quote the growth mindset and to know how the brain works. But it's another thing to know how to help kids take risks, persist through challenges, and get themselves through a struggle. We need to have discussions with kids about what helps them, what works when they get frustrated, what resources they can call upon.
Living the growth mindset is so much more than it seems. This weekend, I was at an amazing yoga retreat called Sukhava Bodhe. It was awesome. I did acroyoga, handstands, slacklining, bellydancing, SUP yoga, a candlelight labrynth, kirtan, Thai bodywork...it was wild. After the first day I was overwhelmed. It was mental and physical overload and all I wanted to do was take a shower and sit in our yurt and read. And so I did. But then the next day, I got out and tried new things again. I thought a lot about the growth mindset and the images above are some ideas that stuck out to me this weekend.
Here are a few pictures from the acroyoga intensive I did on Friday. This pose is called candlestick. I don't claim to have mastered this at all...but I did it as best as I could and that makes me very proud of myself. For me, it was a perfect experience.
Trusting in the people I was working with made this possible. They were supportive and helpful and patient. They didn't let me give up and they gave me tips along the way. I think having cheerleaders or balcony people makes staying in a growth mindset easier.
Here is my Haiku Deck that outlines elements of having a growth or fixed mindset in case you haven't seen in yet. I like using it to introduce how different mindsets have different outlooks but it seems like I need to think through how to help teachers and students have conversations to maintain a growth mindset. Any ideas you have or use are welcome. Please share! What helps you when you find yourself facing a challenge?