Monday, April 16, 2018

Is your Instruction SMART?

Carol Dweck’s work on mindset focused my thoughts on the instruction we create for kids. The question that raced through my mind was this. Does our instruction facilitate a growth mindset or perpetuate a fixed mindset?  When it comes down to it, instruction either embraces failure or convinces kids to avoid it at all costs.

Is your Instruction SMART or DUMB?
At the end of the day, the lessons we put before kids can lead them to higher levels of achievement if it integrates the content with components of a growth mindset. Here’s what I mean. 

Struggle is essential to growth, and every SMART lesson gives time for kids to grapple with the uncertainty of a concept for this will move them closer to conceptual understanding. 
Mistakes are not only expected. They are embraced and then overcome. Mistakes are critical components of a SMART learning process. 
Acceptance is required if kids are going to pursue learning at deep levels.  Kids must feel accepted by the teacher for who they are but also taught to embrace themselves and their fellow peers for the strengths and areas for growth they possess. 
Resilience is reinforced because failure can only be overcome by having faith in the learning process.  Resilience is the ability to make comeback from every setback.
Tenacity is tingle in learning. SMART learning accelerates when a passion for learning and a zest for life are present. The greatest learners possess tenacity and the greatest teachers instill it in every kid.

If We’re not SMART, Our Lessons will be DUMB.
Without SMART lessons, instruction is basically DUMB. For some kids instruction will be demoralizing drudgery, uniform instead of personalized, meaningless, and based on proficiency not progress. As educators we must always strive to create learning opportunities that allow kids to embrace their room for growth. This room for growth can be discovered when we create learning spaces that offer multiple opportunities and a wide variety of formats for all kids to grow in their way.  Essentially SMART instruction is the ability of moving away from the misguided dichotomy of labeling winners and losers based on the quickness of learning or processing of information. 

Dumb instruction disengages. SMART instruction stimulates students to love learning. Got SMART instruction?

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