Wil Parker looked around at his audience and asked them a tough question. He wanted everyone to write down emotions, biases, or views that might affect their teaching in a synchronized “culture of learning.” After the audience members wrote down their triggers, he told them to fold up that paper, never share it with anyone, but be well aware that these views do affect how they teach.
During his session, “Synchronizing Culture and Differentiated Instruction,” Parker talked about how people have fixed mind-sets, which lead to the views they have of students.
“Once we’re fixated on something, it never changes, it never moves,” Parker said.
To move away from this mind-set, Parker said that you must learn about the growth mind-set. With a growth mind-set, you are constantly evolving and not letting preconceptions hurt your teaching. Teachers must think clearly about what they are doing to be successful, and with a fixed mind-set, this is impossible. But with a growth mind-set, people can change.
As an example, Parker talked about a struggling student who might be in the “low expectations” group in class and how many educators might write off the student. That’s a fixed mind-set, he argued. In contrast, with a growth mind-set, educators know the student is capable of change and will offer the student the opportunity over time to show that.
“I have to ask myself, when have I auditioned him for the high [expectations] group?” Parker said. He asked the educators in the room to think about that the next time one of their triggers affects their teaching.