Friday, May 23, 2014

Maybe 'change' isn't that bad after all... (66)

If we never changed, we'd still be using rocks to write on rock walls as our main form of communication.

If we never changed, we'd be preparing our horse saddles rather than fueling up our cars.

If we never changed, we'd still be blowing into Nintendo cartridges before getting to play a video game.

Believe it or not, there are actually some pretty significant benefits to being someone who is willing and able to change.

1). The more you are able to change and the more willing you are to change, the more flexible and adaptable you become. This in turn results in more flexibility and adaptability in all facets of your life, which then leads to less stress and increased levels of patience.

2). It actually takes more energy and time to resist and go against change than it does to go with, start, or initiate change. It's natural to change in life... we have four seasons for a reason and change is a healthy part of all life and all that exists in life.

3). Change makes you smarter. If things never changed, you'd never learn anything new. Every time you learn a new skill - even if it's something simple and trivial - you are that much smarter than you were yesterday.

4). When you accept and embrace change, you are accepting and taking full responsibility of yourself. Embracing change is empowering because it's something you can control and it's something you have a 'say' in.

5). Change also helps to remind us that anything is possible. What's already possible has already went through the beginning stages of the change process, but at one point what is currently possible was just an idea or thought someone hadn't yet acted on.

What you have today may not be there tomorrow. What you think today may not be what you think tomorrow. What you see today might not be what you see tomorrow. The only thing certain is that something will change.

Don't focus on reasons why not to change, but instead start thinking about what will happen if you don't change...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Growth or a fixed mindset?... (65)

The premise of the book states that there are two types of "mindsets" from which we choose in our daily lives. The first is a "fixed" mindset, and the second is a "growth" mindset. Carol Dweck draws upon the examples of many famous business leaders, athletes, and situations from her own life, and consequently the reader is able to relate to many of the topics and situations she discusses in the book. Though the book doesn't specifically target educators, there are many connections and viable relations that can be drawn between the book and education.

With a "fixed" mindset, your intelligence is static, with a "growth" mindset, your intelligence can be developed...

A fixed mindset avoids challenges, while a growth mindset embraces challenges...

A fixed mindset gets defensive or gives up easily, while a growth mindset persists in the face of adversity...

A fixed mindset sees effort as fruitless or worse, while a growth mindset sees effort as a path toward mastery...

A fixed mindset ignores useful negative feedback, while a growth mindset learns from criticism...

A fixed mindset feels threatened by the success of others, while a growth mindset finds lessons and inspiration from the success of others...

A fixed mindset will plateau early and achieve less than their full potential, while a growth mindset will reach ever-higher levels of success...

It can be quite difficult to change one's mindset, but it needs to be a top priority not only in our professional lives, but also in our personal lives. Dweck challenges us to start making the shift and focus on the growth in our lives, rather than the much easier fixed static of our lives. It is obviously much easier said than done, but anything worth doing requires perseverance and dedication.

Will you accept Dweck's challenge...?

**Please refer to this image for credit and additional ideas on the fixed vs. growth mindset. Mindset Map

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What you do matters... (64)

What if more and more people were talking about education and its effects on society?

What if differentiating and personalizing a student's learning experience were easier than ever?

What if we knew more about the brain and how it impacts learning?

What if information was easily and quickly accessible 24/7?

What if we had the tools to connect with and collaborate with people from around the world?

What if the 'opportunity gap' and the access to information gap were shrinking and education wasn't reserved just for the privileged?

What if we had problems in society that needed as many brains as possible working together toward solutions?

What if kids growing up needed us more than ever?

The good news here is that all of the above questions are true and possible and/or already occurring.

The great news is that the value and importance of education only seem to be going up.

The even greater news is the point that now is the most exciting time ever to be in education.

The scary and daunting news here is that the role of education has become so critically important that we have very little room for error.

Don't forget how important you, and also don't forget how important the time you spend with your students is...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's that time of the year again... (63)

The weather is getting warmer...

There is more and more to do outside...

The always exciting standardized testing is either coming to a close or is in full swing or is just getting started...

You're tired and your patience is wearing thin...

Summer is getting close...
At this juncture you have to make a choice about how you wish to end the year.

This goes the same for teachers and administrators who are equally feeling the tension of the end of the year push.

Are you going to do as you've always done and play it safe?

Are you going to cut a few corners and take the easy route because you know there are only a few weeks left so what's the big deal?

Are you going to lower your expectations for not just yourself, but also for those around you?

Are you going to end this year quietly and uneventfully...?

We all have a choice to make.

We all have these last few weeks to make a bigger or more positive impact.

We all have a choice to make that will determine how our students remember us...

Remember teachers, if you don't want your students to check out early and coast through the end of the year, then you better not get caught doing just that.

This also goes for administrators... don't get caught checking out early if you expect your teachers to push strong through the end of the year.