Challenging Negative Mindsets and Myths: A Key Task of the School Psychologist www.drrobertbrooks.com firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @drrobertbrooks
The power of mindsets Mindset: The assumptions and expectations we have for ourselves and others that guide our behavior The mindset possessed by teachers and other staff in the school setting have a major impact on our interactions with students and the climate that is created in the school.
The power of mindsets Some mindsets are dominated by myths that work against the creation of a positive school climate. These myths compromise the relationship between staff and students and lessen motivation, cooperation, hope, and resilience.
The power of mindsets I believe a significant role for the school psychologist is to identify and challenge these myths. By so doing, these myths can be diminished so that they do not continue to compromise learning, motivation, caring, hope, and resilience in schools. And we may see a lessening of the following situations captured in cartoons:
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths Myth: In reality I have at best only a limited impact on the lives of students. So many students come from dysfunctional families and difficult backgrounds, situations that interfere with their success as students and my success as their teacher.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths In response: I can make a significant difference in the school setting if I keep in mind that I can serve as acharismatic adult and help all students, especially those struggling with learning, emotional, and/or behavioral problems, to become more hopeful and resilient. And this impact can last a lifetime for the student.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths Myth: With all of the demands I have, including learning and teaching the common core standards and preparing students for tests, I dont have the time nor the energy to focus on their social-emotional needs and development. I wish I could attend to the whole child, but thats an impossibility.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths In response: Attending to a students social-emotional needs is not an extra curriculum that takes time away from teaching and learning. Rather attending to these needs complements and enriches the learning experience. I can begin with seemingly small gestures that help students feel welcome.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths Myth: Adding to the problem is that I see an increasing number of students who seem lazy and not very motivated. They put in the minimum amount of effort and then get upset when they earn a low grade. Many dont seem to care about learning, just having things handed to them on a silver platter.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths In response: All children from birth want to learn and succeed, but unfortunately, some engage inavoidance motivation as a way of protecting themselves from situations that they perceive will lead to failure and humiliation. I must ask, How do I lessen avoidance motivation in students who use it? rather than initiating punitive measures.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths Myth: I think I take too much responsibility for attempting to motivate students. I keep doing the right things over and over again and they keep fighting me. When will they finally comply with what I consider to be very reasonable requirements?
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths In response: If my approach with students is not successful then I must ask, What is it that I can do differently to change the situation rather than wait for the students to change first? This does not mean I am blaming myself. Rather I am thinking outside the box and empowering myself.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths Myth: Im not certain that even if I make changes in my approach it will encourage my students to become more motivated. I cant escape the feeling that many students dont really care about school and I find that as a result I may be lowering my expectations.
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths In response: There are guidelines and strategies I can use for creatingmotivating environments in which students will develop intrinsic motivation, responsibility, and a sense of ownership for their own education. A few examples include:
Features of a positive mindset: To challenge myths Identify, reinforce, and display each students islands of competence Provide students with an opportunity to engage in contributory activities Allow students to make choices and decisions and give feedback about their own education