The Magic of Professional Development Claims for a Growth Mindset

For years I’ve been training teachers and coaching them to integrate technology into the classroom.
The changes I’ve seen around throughout those years vary from none to new, reinvigorated professionals. How does the move happen?


Change will take many different shapes, from reframing an activity the teacher has already tried out to taking the leap into the unknown and thinking of the transformative power of new technologies in the classroom.


The pace is also varied. Some just jump in, others need a “marinading” period to let things sink in and  make sense of what’s going on.


However, transformation has its commonalities from what I’ve noticed. Educators who embrace change:


– are optimists by heart (even when they seem wary of new situations, deep down there they believe change can be good)
– believe in their own power to change direction, even if they feel insecure at first
– are not considering if the professional development opportunities are paid hours or not (though we shouldn’t be working for free, educators with an innovator mindset know that these hours will be paid back in other forms in the future)
– do not count their efforts in time spent, but how their effort transformed their practices
– do not give the same old excuse of lack of time; even in some minutes they can learn something new and apply to their classes
– like the adrenaline rush that comes with new findings
– still believe in the transformative power of education
– enjoy being in class with their students
– have, above all, a growth mindset.


And here’s a passage from HBR Blog Network that gives a quick overview of a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed one:


In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck distinguishes two extremes of the mindsets people tend to have about their basic qualities:


  • In a fixed mindset, “your qualities are carved in stone.” Whatever skills, talents, and capabilities you have are predetermined and finite. Whatever you lack, you will continue to lack. This fixed mindset applies not just to your own qualities, but to the qualities of others.
  • In a growth mindset, “your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts…everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” Qualities like intelligence are a starting point, but success comes as a result of effort, learning, and persistence.

There’s certainly no formula to change and I might be a little too simplistic about what I see happening to the educators who take a leap of faith and move on, but in all these years the main traits I see in the ones who transform their classes and themselves are those of optimism, passion, eagerness to learn and attunement to their learners’ worlds.


Do you fit in this category of educator who embrace professional development and change as part of your job? Or is it time to rethink what you are doing and how you face things?


If you are interested in the topic of change, you might enjoy reading Becky Bair’s post “Changing Our ‘Stuff’ Is Not Enough



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