October 4, 2015

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

--Lao Tzu

Growth mindset

According to author Carol Dweck, "research has shown that it’s never too late to develop a growth mindset about your abilities. The first step is to get in touch with your fixed mindset.” The fixed mindset says "I could do this easily if I were a good teacher." This mindset says if you take a risk and it doesn't work, you will lose control, status, and respect. You took a risk and failed; so why take more risks? You need to listen to these thoughts and discuss them with colleagues, and realize you’re not alone. Then as a group you can intentionally start talking with growth-mindset lingo: "No teacher hits the mark right away every time. Maybe I can ask another teacher, one who takes risks, to observe my class and give me feedback. Maybe I should find new strategies, set different goals."

Using Twitter with staff (from Edutopia)

Conduct a Twitter Chat for Staff to Participate

Twitter chats can get your staff to collaborate in real-time around specific topics. Establish a specific day and time for each week, and let your staff have input for the weekly topic. For helpful information on creating a school-wide chat go to

Dan Heath: How to Find Bright Spots

Upcoming Events

Oct. 4-6, MASSP conference, Columbia

Oct. 6, 4:30-8, BOE retreat

Shift, Ch. 8, Tweak the Environment

Fundamental Attribution Error is our inclination to interpret other people’s behavior as a manifestation of their personalities rather than the influence and power of their situations.

As leaders we can tweak the environment to make desired behaviors easier to elicit. In essence, you want to create a downhill slope and reduce the friction that might slow progress. The complement to this is to shape the path to discourage or eliminate undesirable behaviors, like having everyone put their phones away in meetings so they stay focused on the work at hand.

A prime example of tweaking the earning environment is Bart Miller’s history class. Miller had two students who were chronically late, and disruptive when they finally arrived. Instead of trying to mold these students into model students, he “rallied the herd” by letting the other students express how the behavior disrupted their class, and therefore wasn’t cool. He then tweaked the environment by adding seating that students hurried to class to procure. (Fred Jones offers several seating configurations that enhance learning).

The path also can be shaped be removing behaviors that encourage “bad” behaviors. The vast majority of aircraft accidents occur during takeoffs and landings. Because of this, airlines dictate that while the aircraft is below 11,000 feet the only conversations in the cockpit should relate directly to the flying the plane.

It might be worth a few minutes in each faculty meeting to discuss ways to tweak the environment to enhance our work.