4 Steps to Have a Growth Mindset Toward Information Fluency Skills

Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I am living proof.  I had been teaching for 12 years and I was growing tired of my same old routine.  I knew that I wanted to stay in education but in a different capacity.  I began working with my media specialist and it hit me, “I want to be a Library Media Specialist”.  Many thought I was crazy.  “Why would you want to work in the library?”  My students asked, “Miss, are you being punished?”  “The library is boring!”  “Why would you go back to school in a Master’s program, when you have a specialist?”  “I thought you wanted to be an administrator; you have a license!”  I started to doubt myself.  But, one of my co-workers, told me to stop talking about it and just do it.  She said what do you have to loose.  At that moment, I decided to do it.  I knew it would be hard but I wanted it.  If Josh Waitzkin can go from being a chess champion, to a beginner in martial arts, I could change roles in the school. (The Power of Belief Mindset).

After my first year, I realized that there are certain characteristics one must embody to have a growth mindset.  I decided to compile this list.

  1.  Use failure as a learning experience.   When you fail, don’t just give up.  Keep trying. Evaluate yourself and determine what you can do better.  So many great people failed before they achieved success.
  2. Never stop learning.  One must have a growth mindset in order to have success.  Keep your mind open to learning.  I try to learn something new everyday.  I always thought I was not a “math person” because I had no interest in math and therefore struggled with it.  After viewing, “The Power of Belief:  Mindset and Success”, I realized that that was the thought of one with a fixed mindset.  I can learn and be successful in math.  In an article entitled  “Even Geniuses Work Hard”, Dweck argues, “Students with a fixed mindset do not like effort. They believe that if you have ability, everything should come naturally. They tell us that when they have to work hard, they feel dumb. Students with a growth mindset, in contrast, value effort; they realize that even geniuses have to work hard to develop their abilities and make their contributions.” (2010)  Because I had to work hard at math all my life, I felt  unsuccessful but now I now that the effort one puts into something matters too.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone.  Be willing to try something new.  It is okay to mess up!  Have fun in the process.  Josh Waitzkin could have continued with chess but he did not.  He decided to learn something new and conquer it.  He won several martial arts competitions as a result and now is off and conquering something new.
  4. Focus on the process.  I listed the following goals when I began taking FRIT 7234
    • Effectively communicate and collaborate to deliver, market, and advocate for library and information services.
    • Navigate, curate, and create information across the spectrum of human records from local to global contexts.
    • Develop a professional identity, including commitment to core values of Library Science.

    If I evaluated myself now, I would consider myself unsuccessful because I have not done it all.  However, if I look at the process, well that is a different story.  I have worked hard and persevered.  I started writing my first blog, I have been reading amazing literature that is enhancing my views, and I am communicating with others who are providing me with beneficial feedback.  In addition, I am learning about more tools that can enhance my school library program.  Progress! That is what matters most and that is reflective of the growth mindset.  There is still so much to do and I am enjoying the journey and keeping an open mind and maintaining a growth mindset.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Dominique Merriweather says:

    Thanks for sharing your blog with us. I wanted to first say thank you for being open and honest about the routines that you were accustomed to as someone that has been teaching for 12 years. I think that this is powerful because you are able to recognize a problem and then go and seek out a solution. When it comes to having a growth mindset, I would have to agree with the list that you complied in your blog. Having this type of mindset should indeed push you to want to do better and be better. Instead of having a fixed mindset, people with growth mindsets are what I like to call, “go-getters.” These individuals are tough and they love a challenge. From reading your blog, I would have to say that you would be one of those individuals that I consider a “go-getter.” Lastly, what are some things that you could do to have your students have a growth mindset as well? I would love to know some of the strategies that you would use to do this. Again, thanks for sharing!

    -Merriweather

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dominique! I would have to say your feedback is essential to their mindset. In one of the studies referenced in our module, the students who were critiqued on their effort and the product worked harder to improve. I think that is important to ask the right questions and to require students to “do the work”. Why are teachers leaving at 3 pm exhausted and students are skipping out of school? This is because we do all of the work for them. I like Socratic Seminars, reciprocal teaching, 1 min presentations, and each-on- teach one as strategies to help students towards a growth mindset.

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  2. Christopher O'Neil says:

    I enjoyed reading this post and seeing your experience and how you came to have a growth mindset. I completely agree with the characteristics you list as being those of a growth mindset. I found the whole concept of the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset interesting in general. I find looking back I have grown up in an environment of a fixed mindset. It wasn’t until I became older that I have started to push the limits of what I thought I could do and believe that with effort I can do more! This idea will definitely change how I treat and talk to my students, athletes, and one day children, making sure I attempt to create an atmosphere of a growth mindset.

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  3. Whitney Gaddis says:

    It is hard to focus on the progress rather than the completed goal. You have some really great goals! I am going to do my best to focus on the progress as well.

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  4. Steven Meyers says:

    Thanks Cicely for sharing your background! Way to go on taking the step towards something new and different in your career. That’s a feat some never dare to take on. Like you stated in your characteristic #3, many like the routine, the known, and although might want a new journey, never actually step out of their comfort zone in order to achieve it. The TED talk we watched in this module definitely brought all these truths home and will be something I know I show my students from day 1 in the 2016-2017 school year so that they know exactly what our classroom environment is going to be.

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