I have always enjoyed reading and now devote a lot of my reading time to educational blogs and books that expose me to various ideas and opportunities to improve education. At some times, I feel like this can present some problems as we incorporate these ideas in our school without an awareness of why changes are being implemented throughout our parent community. An example of this is some of the changes that have occurred in our school due to the work of Carol Dweck and her book Mindset. I personally believe that the central idea of this book, promoting a growth mindset, has the ability to improve the learning experience for everyone in our school community. Although our faculty has discussed Dweck’s work and how this can impact our classrooms, I was wondering how we could introduce our parent community to her work and discuss how parents can promote the growth mindset at home as well?
Fortunately, I have been working with a parent group this year to help me answer these types of questions. Our solution was to organize a parent club that could read books like Mindset, meet to discuss the central ideas, and share how these ideas might impact their children. Once we had all read the book, we met and focused our discussion around some simple questions.
1) What was the most important lesson that you learned from the book?
2) Share some experiences where you (or your child) has demonstrated the growth and fixed mindset
3) Outline how a growth mindset and a fixed mindset parent would react to the following situations
- Your child brings home a report card that falls short of everyone’s expectation
- Your child achieves high honor roll status
- Your child has just been cut from the U 14 basketball team
4) What are some strategies that would help to promote the growth mindset at home and school?
These questions helped to facilitate some excellent discussions and I really enjoyed hearing many of our parents discuss how their interactions with their children have changed since reading the book. I also loved talking about how our school has focused on the development of the growth mindset with our students. That being said, my favorite aspect of the evening was the opportunity to share and collaborate how we could better promote this mindset at home and school. Since the conversation was focused on an idea, our discussion was much more collaborative and informal than most parent presentations that I have had. This relaxed atmosphere allowed our group to outline some great strategies for both parents and teachers, and demonstrated how school & parent partnerships can help our school improve. At the end of the day, the book club was a great opportunity to involve our parent community in the discussions that are helping to move our school forward, and I am excited to find more opportunities to engage our parents in this process.