Applying Carol Dweck’s ‘Growth Mindset’ to classroom technology

“In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that”

So said Carol Dweck when describing her Growth Mindset philosophy, and how it can be applied to schools.

And when you explore a little deeper into the ethos, it becomes clear why its proliferation has been so vast, to the point where it is now referred to in headline terms on many school websites alongside contact details and holiday dates.

After all, if a pupil, teacher, or a school starts to become content with the status quo, then something is going wrong somewhere – isn’t it?

Growth Mindset basically refers to the notion that intelligence is not fixed, but can be developed through hard work and support. So in order to encourage it, instead of condemning mistakes a teacher should instead discuss how to learn from them to make their work better next time. And instead of lavishing praise on good work and creating a lack of need to improve, a teacher should help identify ways to enhance their output in the future.

The concept is of course relevant to far more than just teaching. In our day-to-day lives, we often switch off and let things go a little, whether it’s a squeaky car boot or not twigging that the area next to the shed would make a neat vegetable patch. And before we know it, it’s next year and we’ve not moved on.

Looking a little closer to home then, into our classrooms. Those hubs of teaching and learning, those gateways to a brighter future as a society no less. Those spaces where teachers and students alike use tools and technology to improve themselves and each other.

Given they’re so significant and such potential influencers, we’d hope they’re the last places on earth we’d allow to linger into the status quo? Yet we must never discredit schools and the effort that goes into maintenance of an inspiring environment, there are often areas that drag down the bigger picture. Areas that can distract from the promotion of a growth mindset in a school.

These areas will usually be right at the front of the classroom, which aside from when engaged in personal or collaborative learning, are the main learning tool. We’re talking about the classroom display equipment.

In over half the classrooms we’ve researched, the main classroom display was over 5 years old. Equipment that is therefore out of warranty, uses obsolete technology and which quite frankly, has been left to linger into the status quo. A projector which is a bit on the dim side, an interactive whiteboard that needs calibrating twice a day, and an ongoing need for the children to squint to see your teaching anywhere near its full glory.

Fixed traits – this is your classroom display, and that’s that. It’s technology in a fixed mindset, as Carol Dweck would say, and by default, therefore, it’s in a school that has a fixed mindset with regard to its most vital teaching tool.

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But hang on a minute – that doesn’t sound good!

That’s because it is far from good. In fact, having inadequate classroom display equipment, to the extent where it’s affecting teaching and learning, is a failure and a mistake. Therefore if we’re applying Growth Mindset to classroom technology, it’s something we need to analyse and discuss and work on resolving.

Elementary Technology is a good company to start working with on this project – classroom display technology specialists who in the spirit of Growth Mindset, work with schools all day every day; helping them to improve, develop and grow through effective use of classroom and audio-visual technology. We refuse to leave things as they are, we know that we as a company can always improve rather than stick to the status quo, and you can see how that has helped us, as an AV Award is just within our reach!

So after reading this, return to your classroom, step aside from the status quo for a few moments and view your classroom display as you would a pupil’s work:

“Is this the best it can be? How can I improve this? If we had an empty wall, would I buy this or would I look for something better?”.

Alternatively, we can help answer those questions for you – ask us about our FREE, detailed, hard copy  Classroom Healthcheck worth £299 – a great place to start to help bring your technology up to the standards of your teaching.

Quick! It’ll be next year before you know it!

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