It has been a while since I have posted a Question Quest post and this is a question I have been pondering a lot lately. This HMW question actually started as a why question:
Why are teachers so unwilling to be uncomfortable when they expect it of students every day?
I have been frustrated to see teachers across the country unwilling to take a risk and push themselves to try new approaches. It seems that it is about getting teachers to feel ok with that uncomfortable learning feeling. To me, discomfort is just a part of learning:
And if we expect students to be ok at grappling with confusion and discomfort while they learn new skills and ideas, shouldn’t we be ok at doing the same?
Earlier this year I wrote about how this applies when implementing changes in schools yet it also applies on a day to day level in our classrooms. I have had numerous conversations with people about this and it seems to be quite widespread. In schools across New Zealand (and overseas) there are a lot of teachers who are just plain unwilling to take that step into the unknown and take a learning risk themselves whilst expecting it of students.
One discussion about this lead to a breakthrough in my thinking about it. Lisa Palmieri reframed my question into a far more optimistic How Might We version of my passive Why question:
How Might We Promote Growth Mindset, Risk Taking and Perseverance in Teachers?
I am privileged to have Maurie Abraham as my Principal here at HPSS. This is a question that he grapples with constantly as foundation leader of a school. As we began at HPSS challenged us to reimagine the secondary schooling experience and he recognises that risk taking and growth mindsets are a crucial part of this. His blog post “Leading at the Edge of Chaos” demonstrates how he tries to lead in a way that inspires the same approach from his staff. He also set a task for staff to set goals based upon the various aspects of a Growth Mindset and we had to reflect on our progress with our critical friends.
Jo Debens also recently focused on a similar HMW question as her moonshot challenge at Google Teacher Academy UK. Her post shows how she is now working on developing a website to celebrate the courage and risk taking of staff and students in her school as a way of creating a culture of confidence in taking risks.
For me right now, the HMW question in the title of this blog is becoming one of the ultimate HMW questions in education. How are you promoting growth mindset, risk taking and perseverance in your school?