The reading for class today was an excerpt from Mindset by Carol Dwek. This reading had me thinking about my own learning and how I view others. I think that I am somewhere between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset”. I know I have thought to myself, “Oh, I’m just not very good at that”. I’d like to be more mindful of how I’m thinking, and keep a positive attitude about struggle and failure.I kept thinking about this as we moved on to the next activity, involving a human brain, lungs, livers and hearts. I am pretty squeamish, so I wasn’t delighted at the prospect of handling organs. (Full disclosure: I don’t even like the idea of handling a chicken breast, we’re talking high level squeamish here.) But after the discussion we just had, I told myself, maybe I’m not comfortable with this now, but I can learn to be more comfortable. This is a much better feeling than just writing myself off as unable to participate in activities where I feel uncomfortable.
One of the key parts of this reading for me was to be mindful of the way we talk to children, especially regarding praise. Several years ago, at the early child care center I work at we made a concentrated effort to stop saying “Good job” to kids. It was tough at first, its almost an involuntary response for a lot of people. I have tried to replace “good job” with phrases like, “You did it!” and “You worked really hard on that”. This sends a message to the child that they can achieve things through hard work and that their validation isn’t coming from an adult telling them what they did was “good.”
We also talked about Positive Discipline today, which is the philosophy I follow in my preschool classroom. I’m looking forward to learning more about how to use these same principles with older students. I like how Positive Discipline empowers children to be more aware of their emotions and the choices they make.
I’m left feeling excited about all the new things I’m going to learn this year and about everything I could accomplish as long as I’m not afraid of a little struggle.