In an “I can …” culture: Embracing “What if” and “Yet” (TBT Remix)

Carol Dweck’s newly released TED talk, The power of believing that you can improve, helped me select this week’s Throwback Thursday post.

A previous post, Spreading an “I can …” culture: Aware, Enable, Empower, has generated genuinely some really great questions.

What if they can’t, Jill? Really, what if they can’t say “I can…” at the end of the unit?

Erin Paynter, @erinpaynter, published How Do You Help Student Reach Their Yet?  Can it be as simple as adding the word yet?  What if we repeat the questions with yet?

What if they can’t yet?  Really, what if they say “I can’t yet…” at the end of the unit?

From Erin Paynter:

“I find this one word to be a powerful tool to open a dialogue and to pause for reflection – on best instructional practices, on motivation, on student and parent engagement, and on teacher professional development plans.  It begins to wipe the slate clean so that we can work collaboratively on ways to engage our students in their learning by using more effective tools and strategies. It opens the dialogue to why and how – why aren’t they reaching their goals, and how can we get them there?”

Isn’t the answer now obvious?  We try again.  We collaborate to investigate other techniques, strategies, and opportunities.  We take action.  We send the message that “you can…” and we are going to work on it together until you can.  Learning is the constant; time is a variable.

Peyton Williams, @epdwilliams, published essential learning “I can…” statements in her 5 Week Update for 8th Grade English post and in her 5 week update for Writing Workshop Enviro Writing post.

From Peyten in an open letter to parents and students explaining her grading policy:

1) Letting a kid fail is not in my job description. I am supposed to teach, not judge. If it takes Johnny 17 times to understand where to put a comma between independent clauses, then so be it. I want him to learn commas, not learn that he can’t do them.

“I can…” instead of “I can’t…”  is teaching for learning.

How might we foster growth mindset in ourselves and others?

What if we embrace the power of yet?


In an “I can…” culture: Embracing “What if” and “Yet” was originally published on September 19, 2012

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