This year I begin a new journey as I welcome the opportunity to teach Grade 4. For the record, I must admit that I was a bit nervous simply because I’ve been teaching Grade 6 and above for the past five years. However, the first week has proven that if we enjoy getting to know our students and work to create engaging opportunities for them to learn about each other, the classroom environment becomes a comfortable place to be, no matter which grade we’re teaching.
Although I’ve had to be more mindful of the way I communicate by constantly keeping in mind that the students in front of me just left Grade 3, I continue to be amazed at how capable children can be when they’re given guidelines for learning and are then left to explore and build on their understanding of the world around them.
This year, my goal is to be very intentional about the feedback I provide, the conversations I have, and how I approach character education. This goal stems out of the learning I experienced (and continue to do so) with some very powerful books I decided to read this summer. “How Children Succeed,” by Paul Tough and “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” by Carol S. Dweck, really got me thinking about the way I approach conversations, feedback, and teaching in my classroom. The books focus on the power of building a strong character based on resilience in children and how to help them understand that more than our talents or abilities, it is our mindset that influences our learning.
If you want to start off your year by exploring how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great success in every area of a child’s life, I recommend you take some time this year to read the books I’ve mentioned.
For a quick overview, I’ve provided an article by Carol S. Dweck below where she explains the growth mindset and how it can positively affect and change the way students learn, think, and perform.