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The Educator with a Growth Mindset: A Professional Development Workshop

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I had the great privilege of facilitating a staff workshop on growth mindsets for the teachers and staff at Carlos Rosario International School and more recently at ISTE 2015.

Participants were given access to the slide deck in order interact with the slides and resources during the workshop.

What follows are the activities along with some of the resources used during the workshop.

It began with the viewing of a few “inspirational” videos.

Exploring the Characteristics of Growth v Fixed Mindsets

Online resources were provided and small groups (prearranged prior to the workshop based on teaching disciplines) were asked to explore and list the characteristics of both growth and fixed mindsets.

They provided with a link to this The Educator and the Growth Mindset Thinglink (which contains lots of linked resources). Note – I created the graphic first using Piktochart.

The Educator with a Growth Mindset-1

They were also given:

The participants were asked to bring their own devices.  This provided them the opportunity to explore the resources within their small groups:

2014-08-27_1047Each group created its own list of characteristics of growth v fixed mindsets:

DSC01392Then came an experiential activity called, Flip the Tarp.  On one side of the tarp, using masking tape and markers, they listed characteristics of fixed mindset.

DSC01383On the other side, they listed characteristics of a growth mindset:


They were then asked to flip their tarps.  They were instructed to have all their team members stand on the tarp with the fixed mindset characteristics facing up.  Their task was to flip the tarp, with no one stepping off of the tarp while doing so, so that the side with the growth mindset characteristics were facing up.


After the activity, each group was asked to report to the larger group what they learned. Some of the responses included:

  • When we were given this task, we first said that there was no way to do it – a fixed mindset.  Then someone offered a suggestion, we built off of that and ended up with a growth mindset and finishing the task.
  • Each one of us had our own perspective about how to do this.  When ideas were thrown out, we developed other perspectives – thinking outside of our own boxes.
  • Sometimes we don’t realize our progress, that we are blind to it, but we have to trust that process.

To reinforce and personalize concepts related to the growth mindset, the teams were asked to choose from photos taken of them during the Flip the Tarp activity (uploaded into Google+ immediately after the activity), add a caption about growth mindsets, and add a few slides to a collaborative Google Presentation that was being shared and developed by the workshop participants:

The Educator with a Growth Mindset

The next activity was an educator self-assessment of growth mindset behaviors.  These can be found in the slide deck.  After reviewing these, Socrative was used to do an anonymous polling of these self-assessed items.

2014-08-27_0941They were then asked to identify one or two of these growth mindset behaviors that they would like to work on and improve during the next semester.  These were shared with their small groups:


Strategies for Facilitating Learner Growth Mindset

The final component of the workshop was having the teams examine and develop strategies for increasing the growth mindsets of their students.

The resources they explored included:





Then the groups developed strategies for working with their learners:


 DSC01429The teaching staff was left with this parting shot:


Some Post-Workshop Teacher Feedback

  • I agree that it’s important to think about how we offer praise in our classroom and how that links to learning. I especially liked when Jackie said students should leave thinking their good learners, not that we’re good teachers. I liked her message and I agree that teaching our students about mindset can help improve their achievement
  • I agree with the idea of positive thinking. Presentation went quickly. Enjoyed the different activities.
  • it was great!  but it went a little fast. She kept moving when i would have liked her to explain some things a little more.
  • I like her message and she gave very good examples.
  • I thought what she shared were some good reminders and I look forward to being more purposeful about using her overall thoughts and more specific ideas as well.
  • I found the discussion portion useful.

 Six Month Follow-Up

We have kept the momentum going since your visit!  Our teachers have incorporated growth mindset concepts into their classrooms and lessons.  Posters praising effort and persistence can be seen in classrooms, teachers deliver growth mindset specific lessons, and teachers are more thoughtful and intentional about praising students who worked hard and made gains, however small they may be.  We have started attendance celebrations for students.  Attendance is something we struggle with as adult ed is non-compulsory.  Students are entered into a raffle for highest attendance and also most improved, again reinforcing effort.  Teachers are more intentional about sharing student data and progress with individual students.  In many of our classrooms now we have students tracking their own test scores and reflecting on progress in special sections of their notebooks.  I also think our school leadership has become more intentional about celebrating our teachers successes from big to small.

Becky Shiring, Professional Development Specialist at Carlos Rosario

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 29, 2014 at 2:17 am

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