30 Chapters
Medium 9781609945695

Chapter 2 Mindsets Make All the Difference

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Seek opportunities to show you care.
Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them.
They remember what you are.

Jim Henson (Creator of The Muppets)

On Saturday, my GPS led me to Sophie’s address at Hillview Apartments, an attractive building with large windows that let in plenty of light. It was surrounded by well-manicured lawns and beautifully tended flowerbeds.

I was buzzed in at the glass door in the vestibule and took the elevator to the third floor. As the door slid open, I found Sophie waiting for me in the hall. My heart skipped a beat. Her warm smile instantly reminded me of how seen and appreciated I had felt in her class. I had become the kind of student that had seemed impossible to me before that. Recalling all of this, I was nervous that she would be disappointed in me when she found out about my present problems. I was certain I hadn’t lived up to her expectations.

Sophie gave me a brief hug which instantly put me at ease, just as her presence had made me feel more at ease in the sixth grade. I was startled by how frail she felt, reminding me of how much time had passed since I’d last seen her. But as she led me briskly down the hall to her apartment, she seemed as peppy and vital as ever. By the time we reached her door, she was excitedly sharing a story about the course she was teaching at the university, as if we were colleagues.

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Chapter 3 Mapping the Geography of Our Minds

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world.

Carol S. Dweck

Sophie put the flowers into a large vase and brought them back to the living room. Their color and fragrance lifted my spirits.

“Are you okay?” she asked, turning to me.

“I’m actually fine,” I assured her, knowing that my reddened eyes were sending a different message. “It isn’t easy for me to look at how often I go Judger. Lately, I think it has completely taken over my internal climate. So please go on. What you’re saying is all very helpful. I know I can’t just be thinking about myself. I have to think about my kids, their grades, and their test scores—not to mention whether they’re really learning, or accomplishing anything worthwhile.”

“Oh, absolutely,” Sophie said. She was silent for a moment. Then she asked quietly, “Do you think your students will learn more—and as you said, accomplish more—in a Learner climate or a Judger one?”

The answer to that question seemed obvious but it also opened up a lot of other questions for me. After a moment I reflected, “It’s painful to think of myself this way, I mean, as a Judger kind of person. I certainly don’t want to be that way.”

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Chapter 7 Questions Out of the Box

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

If we would have new knowledge we must get
a whole world of new questions.

Susanne K. Langer

One afternoon, after our students had left for the day, I remembered a special teaching aid Sophie had used in the sixth grade class. She had called it her Question Box, or QB. It started with a simple cardboard box decorated with colorful paper, with a slot on top like a small ballot box. She’d placed a bright yellow label on the top that said All Questions Welcome. With this simple box Sophie taught us so much about mindsets and how they affect virtually everything in our lives. As I shared this memory with Carmen, more and more details came back to mind, giving me new appreciation for what Sophie had taught us about the importance of questions, especially the ones we think with.

The Question Box was always available, sitting on a table by the classroom door. Anytime we wanted to, we could write a question on a slip of paper and stuff it in the box. We didn’t have to put our names on the notes either. A couple times a week Sophie drew out one or two of those notes, read them out loud to us, and wrote them on the white board. Then we’d discuss the questions in terms of Judger and Learner mindsets and where that question might take us. Sometimes Sophie or one of us would draw pictures on the board to illustrate how the person with that question might be thinking or feeling.

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Chapter 4 Exploring Learner and Judger Mindsets

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Each of us literally chooses,
by our way of attending to things,
what sort of universe we shall appear
to ourselves to inhabit.

William James

On the way home from my meeting with Sophie, I stopped to do the weekend shopping, then rushed home, put away the groceries, and got everything ready for the coming week. Jared wouldn’t be back from his conference until early the next afternoon, which meant I’d have a few hours in the morning to myself. There’d be time to read over the materials Sophie had given me and make some notes in my journal. After the visit with Sophie, I had lots to write about.

Sunday morning I had a quick breakfast, made myself a mug of tea, and headed for my office. I picked up the blue folder Sophie had given me, titled Mindsets Make All the Difference. There was a colorful print of Sophie’s stained glass question mark on the outside of it. That image took me back to when I was twelve years old, walking into Sophie’s classroom for the first time. I had stopped in my tracks, staring at that stained glass artwork with its prominent question mark. It had hung in the window by Mrs. Goodwin’s big, oak teacher’s desk.

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Learner Mindset Online Learning

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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