The past 24 weeks have been a journey of learning, applying, reflecting, planning and collaborating. I have thrived in this environment.
Here’s the highlights:
Think before I speak
At the beginning of my Mindlab journey, I had only been a teacher for 6 months. I felt that I was not confident to speak up in staff meetings or to colleagues around the school. Whilst studying, I have developed the confidence to be able to use thinking skills, critically assess and allowing my voice to be heard. This leads me to having confidence in myself and my own abilities. Of course, this will be beneficial to my teaching career as I look to further my responsibilities and footprint within a school.
People aren’t so scary
I was rather intimidated as a teacher by my colleagues and by the senior staff of such a big school. It took attendance at Mindlab to gather realisation that they were once in the space as I was. We are not alone in the teaching process and it is important to support each other in our ups and downs. Collaboration has become an integral part of the planning and modern learning environment. As in the video by Johnson (n.d.), he states that the collaboration and relating to others is key in the process of transforming hunches into ideas and into action. I have the confidence now to bring one of my hunches into my team to see if it can be developed.
Changing my mindset.
During the Mindlab journey, the most prominent change I made was changing my mindset to be a growth mindset rather than a fixed mind. I found that this was a key indicator to allowing the students to grow beyond even their own expectations.
In Dweck, a fixed mindset is described as individuals that “believe that their intelligence is an inborn trait-they have a certain amount and that’s it”, (2010, p.16). A growth mindset is described as individuals that “believe that they can develop intelligence over time”, (Dweck, 2010, p.16).
Throughout Mindlab, I found that the more I researched about the effects of having a growth mindset, lead me to having a collaborative and effectively motivated class. I experimented with activities in the classroom and was able to get my students to begin to shift their mindset. Together with other staff members, we introduced some of the staff to having an growth mindset and before the end of 2015, we began to see some positive changes.
Alright, Stop. Collaborate and listen.
My Mindlab journey has confirmed my belief in collaboration. It is an important teaching tool that benefits its collaborators beyond belief. Through the teachers eyes, to collaborate with other teachers allow the development of ideas and the sharing of responsibility. Through the students, they are able to show leadership qualities, grow from their peer’s guidance and learn social skills within their friend circles.
“Teachers facilitate collaborative learning is to establish classrooms with diverse and flexible social structures that promote the sort of classroom behavior they deem appropriate for communication and collaboration among students. These structures are rules and standards of behaviors, fulfilling several functions in group interaction, and influencing group attitudes.” (“The Collaborative Classroom,” n.d.)
I have developed a passion for working collaboratively in different levels in the school. This shows by the fact that I have moved into a true collaboration area for 2016. The key to having a true collaborative environment is trust, regular reflection, commitment and participation.
Dweck, C. S. (2010). Even Geniuses Work Hard.: EBSCOhost. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.unitec.ac.nz/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f02cbb66-0380-4edf-ae6e-b0fdefeab661%40sessionmgr120&vid=1&hid=105
The Collaborative Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2016, from http://www.arpisd.org/default/admin/supt/collab2.htm
WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NugRZGDbPFU