Tony Sinanis, a friend that I consider a brother, is one of the most thoughtful educators and leaders I know. He recently wrote this as a Facebook status:
Maybe in our schools our focus should be on helping educators & educational leaders develop a growth mindset instead of just focusing on the kids. #edchat
Although I agree with this statement to some degree, I think it is not going far enough. This was my reply:
This is going to sound like a promotion, but obviously I am passionate about the topic. Why not an “innovator’s mindset“? Growth mindset says a lot to me about being open to new learning, but innovator’s mindset approach is meant to actually have people think about what they have created with their learning. Do we want kids to be good at math, or have the ability to do something with the math they have learned? Should teachers just be open to learning, or be able to create better experience because of the learning that has happened.
As Thomas Friedman said, “The world doesn’t care about what you know. The world only cares about what you can do with what you know, and doesn’t care how you learned it.” This quote is a reminder that the notion of the “growth mindset” is maybe not enough in the world today for our students and ourselves.
The notion of “engagement and empowerment” has been one that I have been very passionate about. Do we want teachers to take their learning and create something with it, or is a “growth mindset” enough. These ideas are not in opposition of one another, but the idea of the “innovator’s mindset” is meant to go a step further. Without a “growth mindset”, the “innovator’s mindset” would not exist. But if we truly take Friedman’s quote to heart, we have to recognize that doing something with our learning, is a necessary step with both teachers and students, to ensure that they succeed in a world that asking much more than just “knowing”.