To the Editor:
“‘Growth Mindset’ Gaining Traction as Ed. Strategy” (Sept. 11, 2013) is a very good article. However, it is disturbing that it needs to be written. It is sad that it is research that may be providing the impetus for some teachers (and parents) to use the common-sense strategies the author describes to build students’ belief in their ability to learn.
I became a teacher because I believed in the capacity of all human beings to learn and in my own capacity to create learning environments for students that could enhance that capacity. This is a commonly held belief among educators.
It seems that today a cottage industry has developed to point out the obvious. Something isn’t quite right. Do teachers ever have time to develop their own philosophy of teaching and learning and to reflect on their practice? Of course, they may do this in an occasional structured setting or during a required professional-development day, but I wonder if teachers themselves often lack confidence in their instincts if not reaffirmed by research and the latest trends.
We have dissected the art of teaching and learning into so many parts that the whole has been lost and with it the heart for teaching that so many people naturally have.
Gillian B. Thorne
Executive Director, Office of Early College Programs
Director, UConn Early College Experience Program
University of Connecticut
A version of this article appeared in the September 25, 2013 edition of Education Week as Teaching: It’s More Than The Sum of Its Parts