Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A book that belongs in every professional library is called Mindset by Carol Dwick.  This book had a profound effect on my thinking about every detail of my life.  Dr. Dwick's premise is the way you perceive events or your mindset about those events can be the difference between success and failure.  If you look at  events as growth opportunities, whether or not it was a success or a failure, you will be more successful at whatever endeavor you choose--whether it's school related or personal. 

She give example after example of famous people who choose to learn from mistakes rather than sit and brood over them.  She also gives examples of people who sit and pout, those who don't learn from their mistakes.  I know of many people personally who fall into both of these categories.  There's the "it's always someone else's fault" type of thinking and then there's the "what can I learn from this?" type of thinking.

I try to be the latter but honestly, sometimes it's hard.  Making mistakes is not fun, but I used to always tell my daughter, "A mistake becomes a problem only if you don't learn from it."  But the self analysis the growth mindset requires can be painful; however, the rewards can be immense.  To keep tweaking details until a situation works just like you want can give you results beyond measure.

Teachers especially can learn from this mindset.  Our district believes in continuous improvement--a perfect example of the growth mindset.  One of our favorite sayings is that we "fail forward." --in other words, we are free to try new things and learn when those new things don't work.  Not every district is this supportive but our teachers are supported and encouraged to try--to "fail forward" with great results.

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