Friday, May 16, 2014

Learning the new -v- giving up the old

The MOOC I've been doing about coaching has raised some interesting questions this week.  One of these is whether you should concentrate on coaching those teachers with a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset, and another question has been about which teachers are most likely to have a growth mindset - those who are young, new to the profession and eager to learn and improve, or those who are older, more experienced, veteran teachers.  The question about how to approach resistant teachers, those with fixed mindsets, is important and often it may simply be about the way in which the coaching is introduced.

Another thing that I read that may have some bearing on this is to do with learning something new. The statement made was that "it is easier to learn the new - the basis of coaching - than it is to give up the old."  Coaching and in particular questioning teachers about their goals, what is actually happening in their classes, and what options they could and will pursue to improve may seem very strange at first when most of us expect to be told or instructed how to do something in an area that we need to improve.  John Whitmore sums this up very well in the following way:
No matter how much better the new might be, letting go of the old is always hard.  But learning and adopting new behaviours demand that we let go of old ones.  The system and skill of coaching are simple and not hard to learn.  Letting go of a well-used command-and-control habit to make room for coaching is much harder.  Once they do let go of the old, the new rushes in to fill the vacuum.  Remove the blocks and the potential emerges.
Original art work by an ASB student

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