A Year in Reflection

As this year comes to a close, I want to tell you, my fellow bloggers and all of those who have left responses, how much you have inspired my teaching and growth throughout this year. When I think back to the beginning of the year and our discussion of starting this blog, I think about how vital it was for all of us as teachers to foster a Growth Mindset in our students.  Now that the year is winding down, I am curious about how you feel with regards to Growth Mindset in your students.

On the first day of school, I asked my students the following questions:

  • How do you feel when you make a mistake in math?
  • What would you like me to say when you make a mistake?
  • What would you like to classmates to say when you make a mistake?
  • How do you think we can best support each other in this class, especially when someone makes a mistake?

Responses to these questions were eye-opening and varied greatly. Some students wrote comments from: mistakes turn “into an opportunity to learn better,” and “mistakes help me grow,” to mistakes make me feel “angry,” “like I am going to cry,” and “frustrated/annoyed.” As I reflect on the students who had a negative self concept when making mistakes, I am curious about how their feelings have changed since the beginning of the year, if at all.

This week, I plan to give students back their written responses from the first day of school and answer these questions again. In my observations, we have come SO far as a learning community, and I can’t wait to hear how my students respond now (I will definitely share in a future post).

I am curious about what you are all doing with regards to end of year reflections, how you feel about your progress with Growth Mindset, and what this makes you think about for next year.

2 thoughts on “A Year in Reflection”

  1. Last week, I asked students to think about how they feel when they make a mistake or when a concept is challenging for them. It was incredibly powerful to see students read what they wrote at the beginning of the year and see how they feel now. What I found is that students who originally wrote comments such as, “I try again until I figure it out,” and “I feel like I am doing a good job when I try” wrote very similar comments for the end-of-the-year reflection. Phew! They maintained their growth mind-set. A significant comment to celebrate is one student who was explosive at the beginning of the year when he did not understand a concept quickly now writes, “Now, when I make a mistake in math, I don’t give up. I don’t get frustrated. I don’t get mad. I don’t start screaming. I try my best.” All I can say is WOW! I get chills every time I read it! What is even more exciting is that there were other students who had similar change. One area in particular that keeps me scratching my head are the two who made no mind-set progress at all. One girl in particular just breaks my heart because the moment she struggles, she immediately states, “I am just horrible at math! I will never get this!” After a whole year of specific positive language and celebrating mistakes, how does a teacher change someone who has such a deeply ingrained fixed mind-set? While there is so much growth to celebrate, I can see that I still have ways in which I can grow to reach these kinds of students. I truly welcome advice!

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