Many studies show that we learn best when we learn together and that we experience real growth when we grow with others. Spring is a time of new growth in the natural world and the perfect time to focus on growing together as a class. Here are five tips to cultivate a growth mindset this spring.
1.) Do a student check-in
At the beginning of the school year, teachers usually make a point to check in with students on an individual level to get to know them better. Now that we’re past the halfway point, it can be beneficial to circle back and do another check-in, especially since personal relationships can inadvertently take a back seat to testing, data, and report cards. A short one-on-one conversation or even an exit ticket go a long way in helping students express their concerns.
2.) Promote class discussions
If your goal is to grow together as a class, then sharing knowledge, ideas, and opinions can be an effective fertilizer. The teacher presents topics to the class for discussion, but students take the lead and direct the conversation. Class meetings or discussions are also opportunities to encourage respectful interactions among everyone in a way that supports a positive classroom environment.
3.) Allow students to take charge
Giving students ownership over their learning helps them develop self-direction. Creating opportunities for everyone to be involved in a class project fosters a sense of unity as learners. One example would be to work on writing skills while creating a class book of poems, stories, or autobiographies. This way students can express themselves as individuals while still working together.
4.) Create order and tweak routines
Teachers understand that routines help students feel comfortable and safe so that all they have to focus on are their learning goals. Routines are generally created in the beginning of the year, but it’s important to revisit them to evaluate if any tweaks are needed. Talking about routines as a class (see #3) allows students to feel heard and shows that you value their input.
5.) Take risks together
Risk-taking is known to empower, build self-esteem, and increase resiliency. When we take risks together, we enhance the feeling of comradery and solidarity in the classroom. Even micro-risks can have the same effect. Some of these activities include think-pair-share, where students share their ideas with a partner before they share with the class; trying a new method of taking notes for the first time, publishing their work for a wider audience, or taking turns as the leader of the group.
By Kelli Drummer-Avendano
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