Carol Dweck’s work on “mindsets”, has been one that (justifiably so) educators have gravitated towards. The idea of “fixed” and “growth” mindsets are ones that are crucial to our development as learners.
Yet here’s a trend that I have noticed though in some conversations. We talk about one way of learning and the power it may have, then someone doesn’t agree with our point of view, and sometimes label others with a lack of a “growth” mindset. Not agreeing with a person doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have a “growth” mindset. All that it means is that they don’t agree with you. When I speak to educators, I explicitly state that I don’t expect them to agree with me, but that they are open to my point of view as I will be to theirs. Our best answers are sometimes not on the far edges of a spectrum, but sometimes closer to the middle.
To help others embrace this type of mindset, it is important we model it. When someone doesn’t agree with our point of view, it is crucial not to label, but to listen. Covey’s idea of “seek first to understand” is crucial in learning from others.
Ask questions and listen.
That displays and models the “growth mindset” since we sometimes can learn a lot more from those that disagree with us, than those that do. If we truly want others to grow in their learning, it is important that they feel valued and that their perspective matters as well. This relational piece to learning is as important, if not more so, than any ideas that we could share.
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