Sunday, February 28, 2016

4 Strategies to Coach Kids into a #GrowthMindset

We have all seen at least one example in our lifetime of a person who overcame tremendous obstacles to discover unbelievable success.  Can you see that person?  Do you remember his personality?  Can you visualize his perseverance? Recollecting your person's tremendous accomplishments, you may be thinking to yourself the following questions:
  • What made them beat the odds?  
  • How did they succeed?
  • What do they have inside them that others don't?  
The answers to these questions typically leads us to the concept of growth mindset and how these excellence models intentionally put the GROW in their growth mindset through both their daily actions as well as their mental fortitude.  In today's post, I want to share with you how excellent people put the GROW in growth mindset, and how we teachers and leaders can coach kids into adopting this mindset.

The GROW in Growth Mindset
To help all kids to grow, we need to first define what the GROW looks like and then articulate how we can help all kids develop the skills that will help them grow into the success that is already deep inside them.

Goals that Grow
These people don't just have a long term goal.  They set daily and weekly goals for themselves that help them grow toward their goal.  They track their progress toward reaching their long-term goal and reflect on their daily efforts.  Based on goal-setting and reflection, they make adjustments to keep them on track and accelerate their growth.

These anomalies have never heard the word, quit.  In fact, they look failure in the eye and say, "You may have won today, but you haven't beaten me."  If they get knocked down 7 times, they will stand up 8.

There is an unbelievable discipline to these people.  They have a routine to their daily lives that is abnormal.  That is why they succeed.  They do things that ordinary people can do but choose not to.

Wins & What's Next
Successful people on the grow don't win or lose.  They win and what's next.  In other words, they celebrate their successes and determine what they need to do next to stay on their path of excellence.

How do we teach kids to GROW?
It can be a challenge to convince kids to believe in their ability to grow, but with the right growth coach and the right strategies, we can persuade kids to give growth a chance.  Here are four strategies to help you coach your kids into a growth mindset.

  • Growth Coach - We must first accept the notion that we don't teach kids.  We coach them by showing kids how to set goals that are based on improvement.  If kids base their excellence on the same standard, they will always compare themselves to one another.  Every kid is different; therefore, they need goals that stretch them from where they are to where they need to be. Our job is to help them create and commit to growth goals that are attainable. 
  • Relationships of Resiliency - When you base your relationships with kids on being their success coach, you are teaching the importance of commitment to a goal and then growing closer to it.  Sometimes kids don't see where they can grow, and they want to give up too quickly when they fail.  But if they have a positive relationship with you, they will listen to you and trust your advice and encouragement, even when they want to quit.
  • Organization - Kids don't naturally have the ability to structure themselves around their growth goals; therefore, they need you to give them organization that will help them do the right work that is directly tied to helping them reach their goal.  The key to growth is doing things that aren't fun or easy, so be sure to sell the importance of doing the work especially if it's hard.
  • Win-Maker - The best coaches can find the win in kids now and leverage that win to help them grow.  They do that by giving them specific feedback that tells them how well they're doing and how they can do even better next time.  They celebrate the now and the potential in what could be.

Growth is a hard thing for kids to chase because it is such an illusive and never ending target. Our job as leaders and teachers is to create systems and structures that are aligned with and promote growth. When we can create both a culture and a structure where growth is a the center of all work in the school, kids will not only accept growth as a goal, they will believe in it and ultimately grow from it. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

If You Truly Love Public Schools, then VOTE

Valentine's Day has come and gone, and with all of the love in the air, I would like to pose a very important question. How much do you love your school? If you truly love your school, you want to see it improve and you want to see the government make decisions that helps facilitate that improvement, right?  Sure, everybody wants schools to improve, but there are two differing beliefs on how that can happen.

1. Put more funding, support and realistic accountability in public schools.  
2. Take money away from public schools to support privatized options and continue punitive forms of accountability. 

That's it. 

Now you and I can lobby all day long but at the end of the day, our elected officials have already made up their minds. They've already made their choice on whether to support public education or destroy it.  

So what's the point???

If you truly love your school, there is one way and only one way to save it. You have to vote and you have to vote for people who actually believe in all kids, not some kids. You have to support schools by electing candidates who truly support all schools, not some schools. You have to research the candidates and find out who wants to take public schools to the next level and who wants to universally dismantle them. 

But if you really love your school and public education...

You have to spread the word and tell people not only who to vote for but why we need them elected. Many people are uninformed about the candidates' beliefs about public education because we are mostly focused on the economy, taxes, health care and national security. Those are more pressing and immediate issues to focus on, but public education is a long term national security issue, and here is the reason why.  The future of our country is sitting in the desks of our public schools. How we educate our future has a tremendous impact on our nation's future. 

If we elect the wrong people, we may get an immediate fix in the short term, but we will dismantle our country for the long term. Our democracy and way of life are at stake, and the hope of our countr continuing to be the best nation on earth will be determined exclusively by the education of those who will inherit it. 

If you truly love you public education, please vote and tell 3 friends to vote for public education as well. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Big Choice in our Response to Failure

I've been just a little obsessed with failure and rejection this week.  No matter if you are applying for your dream job or taking a big test, chances are that you will not succeed. But in that I want to remind you that no failure is fatal unless we allow it to be. 

Apply that Concept to Kids
When kids don't win the big competition, do they never try again?  When they don't get selected for the leading role or as captain of the team, do they see that as a reason to stop or drop out?  More importantly, when kids fail a test, do they see themselves as a bad math student or a poor reader?  

Well, it depends.

When we experience failure or rejection, we always have two choices.  We can see failure as a NO and let it stop us in our tracks, or we can see it as a NOT YET.  NOT YET means we have more work to do.  It means we're not quite there, but furthermore, it means that we're also not at the place we were yesterday.  If we want kids to believe in themselves as learners, we must teach them how to respond in the face of adversity.  We must teach them that they are a work in progress, and NOT YET is a powerful mental tool that can shape them into the person they were born to become.  Growth can't happen with a NO, but it always will with a NOT YET.

Failure is not fatal, but our response to it can be.  This week, let's teach all kids how to turn their NO's into NOT YETs.  Not only will you see a change in their performance as learners, you will also see a change in their confidence and self-esteem.

I whipped up this slide for you and for your students. When we experience failure, we must never forget that we failed for a reason. It wasn't because we weren't good enough. It's because we weren't ready yet. When you encounter failure or rejection, always remember that you have two choices: to accept it as a big, fat NO or to embrace it NOT YET

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Talent is Nothing

Talent is overrated.  In fact, it can be downright debilitating if you let it go to your head.  If you're more talented than someone, but they're more disciplined than you, they're going to beat you.  Why do you think the most successful athletes in the world put so much time into conditioning and strengthening?  It's simple.  Talent is never enough to win championships, but talent coupled with an unwavering commitment to excellence is.

Heisman Trophy winner and NFL standout, Hershel Walker, said it best.

"My God-given talent is my ability to stick with something longer than anyone else."

If you want to be your best, it's not about the talents that you have. It's about what you do with the talents you have. Below, I found this instagram post from a theatre teacher friend of mine that perfectly defines what it takes to be your best. If you embody these simple reminders in your daily life, your success will be unlimited.  

Talent is nothing without discipline and commitment, but if you build a disciplined life that is focused on protecting and growing your talent, your talent will take you to moon.

A photo posted by CITRUS DRAMA (@citrusdrama) on