I am currently reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Dr. Carol Dweck. This book is about how a simple belief in yourself guides you in all aspects of your life. Dweck states this belief actually permeates every aspect of your life.

The two mindsets she speaks about are a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. With a growth mindset, even intellect can be cultivated. Who knew? One would assume that with an IQ test, intellect was static. In fact, that is far from the truth. Binet, who designed the IQ test, designed it so that new educational programs could be developed to get students in Paris public schools back on track. It was never meant to summarize intelligence. This leads to the question “can one become more intelligent?” Dweck’s research says yes, with a growth mindset you can become more intelligent.

This thought of becoming more intelligent led me to ponder one of my favorite TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy. (Once upon a time I wanted to be a surgeon, so I have to throw in a medical comparison.) This show is about surgeons leading interns through a series of teaching, from Harvard Medical Rounds to the surgery observatory. Episode after episode, I witness the surgeons rather than saying it can’t be done, to yes it can as they look for alternatives. I see interns learning from each other and surgeons during rounds, observe in the observation gallery for new surgery techniques, and work relentlessly to improve patient care-this is the growth mindset.

The same could be said for educators. As we work to constantly improve our care for students, we utilize Harvard Instructional Rounds to observe how students are “reacting” to the medical treatment, or teaching strategy, used. We observe effective practices and incorporate those into our instructional model to provide the best care for our students.

I encourage you to read further into Dr. Dweck’s research.

My takeaways are:
– we can increase intelligence through practice, training, and method
– intelligent is not fixed, it can be cultivated
– do labels in our school setting lean towards a fixed, rather than growth mindset?
– the view you set for yourself affects the way you lead your life
– seek feedback to grow and stretch your mind

Which mindset do you have? Mindset is a choice. My choice is a growth mindset – one that leads me to stretch myself to always learning something new. In a way, it makes me feel like a confident 4-year old in a Batman shirt. You can conquer the world with a growth mindset.

Collegiate Edu-Nation
Dr. Michelle Cline, Superintendent, Throckmorton Collegiate ISD