School Name: Nakusp Secondary School
School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes
Inquiry Team Members:Ken Barisoff: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOII (focus on core competencies, OECD learning principles, etc.)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology
Focus Addressed: Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Self-regulation
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Each student challenge themselves individually with less fear
Scanning: Being an ADST teacher in a hands-on environment, I have noticed that the shops are generally well received by students and there is a joy that students display when they arrive to class. Sometimes though with some students, I have witnessed an underlying apathy and negativity that reveals itself as the course progresses. I feel that each student is unique and by guiding even one student into a hopeful and positive attitude, this will spread to others. I asked questions daily such as “How are you?”, “Did you get a good night’s rest”, “Have you had a good breakfast this morning”, “Do you feel energetic today?”. These questions often revealed the reason for underlying negativity and I noticed that personal home life issues or even basic needs such as hunger take precedence over what is being presented in class. Student emotional well being generally directs their desire to engage themselves and take pride in their opportunities.
Focus: I selected this area for the purpose that many students will be entering careers in the Trades and their foundational desire to pursue these may possibly rest on their experience in school. I feel a responsibility and obligation to try do all that I reasonably can to provide the coaching necessary and create a safe emotional environment where students will challenge themselves without fear. Yes, they should walk the graduation stage with dignity.
Hunch: A hunch that I had was that by having all students work on design and project construction in somewhat of a cookie cutter fashion was not reaching some students. It was leaving some students in a space where they were able to fester in negativity with no way out. Always creating a dignified way out for students seemed to be a requirement especially if we target the “outside pins” as Shelley Moore has stated it.
New Professional Learning: Opportunity to learn new technology such as CNC plasma cutting, 3D printing, and laser engraving has given me the opportunity to demonstrate learning along with the students. Growth mindset theory is the basis of my professional learning and resource. I used a self assessment of what students thought of their own mindset. Without any right or wrong answers, students were free to be honest without fear of criticism or a bad grade. The concepts of failing being a stepping stone or challenges as something to embrace were key factors.
Taking Action: When I presented this theory to the students, students seemed to accept it and understand its importance. With assigned projects, a required design criteria was that students must include a challenging aspect to their design. With many new technologies such as CNC machinery, laser engravers, educational Raspberry Pi computers, there were many opportunities for challenge. Some key questions based around what type of learner each student thinks they are, I feel has generated some self acknowledgement and ownership over their own learning. When students get frustrated or are have an “off” day, instead of concentrating on why they are physically unable to perform, was suggesting that they take a break to reflect. This has resulted in the avoidance of many potential crises’ and instead a renewal of a student spirit to self regulate. In addition, my initial self assessment and my conclusive questionnaire resulted in context, fodder for discussion and closure to the year.
Checking: The difference that this initiative has made is real and I am pleased. This project repeatedly brings me back to a baseline philosophy in what I do each day. Even though at times, I question whether it is time well spent and if the students are truly appreciating it, the final questionnaire cleared it up. With questions like, “Do you consider yourself a self-motivated student that takes initiative of you own learning and success?”, and “Have you increased your efforts this Semester from realizing that you are in charge of your personal growth?”, students have taken this to heart and, in my opinion, have benefited from it.
Reflections/Advice: I have learned that most students:
• Lean towards a growth mindset
• Are generally positive about learning
• Have varied ways of dealing with frustration but none admit to giving up
• Have challenged themselves plenty
• Realize the importance of hard work
• Consider themselves self-motivated
I have also learned that, according to students, after having learned about mindset theory, they have shown some self realization and hence improved their attitudes towards learning and perseverance.
I learned that presenting these philosophical concepts to students is not a vein activity and that students will take these concepts seriously if given the chance.
In the future, I intend to reach out to collaborate with a colleague to expand and diversify the positive aspects of my approach and impact.
If another school was to consider presenting this concept in a formal way, I would suggest getting resources from Carol Dweck and including concepts from Shelley Moore as these philosophies are summarized in a way that is easy for teachers to relate to.