One of the great benefits of my job at Catapult Learning is the opportunity to learn from other educators as I support professional learning events. Recently I helped organize a professional development institute in New England on “Meeting the Needs of All Students.” The speaker was one of our national consultants, a brilliant and dynamic woman whose career speaks volumes to her dedication to improving teaching and learning. Her presentation brought out three simple, yet important points that I think are beneficial reminders to any administrator or teacher, regardless of the number of years they have under their belt.
We need to foster a growth mindset in our students as well as our teachers and leaders.
At our company’s leadership conference last month, Catapult Learning committed to fostering a growth mindset across our company and with our school and district partners. This means that we believe intelligence and ability can grow over time and that potential is only limited by one’s willingness to learn and see challenges as opportunities to grow. As we encourage the administrators and teachers we work with to foster a growth mindset in their teams and professional learning communities, it is critical that the students they serve understand and adopt that mindset, too.
Part of our work as educators is to identify our fixed-mindset students and show them that challenge or failure in the face of hard work is not a fault of intellect, but an indicator that there is still more to learn before we can do better.
True differentiated learning benefits all students, not just the ones who are struggling.
As educators, we often focus on the question of how to help our struggling students reach or exceed what is deemed “proficient.” This sometimes distracts us from looking at the overall academic growth of each of our students and whether some are experiencing lower academic growth than expected. A differentiated classroom focuses on setting the appropriate challenge for each student so that learning is neither too challenging nor not challenging enough. As a result, all students are engaged and motivated to learn.
Effective collaboration is the key to working smarter, not harder.
I’m sure all of us have had the experience of being on a team where it felt like it would be easier to do the work ourselves. Instead of using that as an excuse to close our door to further opportunities for collaboration, we need to honestly assess whether a lack of defined purpose and clear protocols were at the bottom of the issues we encountered.
When educators come together to work towards a shared goal for learning that is clearly defined and guided by a logical process that is aligned to that goal, our work will become more effective and efficient.
I hope any or all of these important points resonate with you as they did with me.