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From the Principal
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 10:20 AM

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“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
-Albert Einstein
Dear families,

Our staff has been challenging each other in weekly professional learning communities – collaborative groups for professional development – to be mindful of how we are developing a growth mindset in all of our students. In the book Opening Minds (Johnson, 2012), it is suggested that it is very easy for people (and that includes teachers and parents) to apply fixed performance beliefs to a range of human characteristics, including intelligence. This “fixed” framework of beliefs relies on the notion that smartness, intelligence and personality are traits that do not change. The implication of this then, is that learning happens quickly for smart people and trying hard is not as valued. The results of this can go well beyond the classroom with greater competence equated with being smarter and therefore better (and more valuable) than others, and potentially having power over others. (Johnson, p. 17).
As the first quarter of our year comes to a close, we have been reflecting on the messages we give our children and the messages we share with each other. As a staff, we are working on developing consistent language that helps develop a dynamic learning frame rather than one that is fixed. We want all of our children to realize that learning as much as you can is a goal to be valued – and that is not necessarily equated with trying to look as smart as you can. Mistakes, problems, and errors are to be expected if a person is taking on a challenge – indeed, our teachers and principals make mistakes and must continue on with our work and our learning, often wiser and perhaps more humbly. Seeking out the help of others in collaboration turns out to be one of the most sensible things one can do – rather than a sign of weakness or inadequacy. Our hope is that we can model this through our collaborative efforts to develop in students a value that it is cool to work on things that they may not be good at…yet. Thanks for all of your efforts to collaborate and model this learning process together.

Sincerely,

Patrick

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