Mr Darcy’s Education on Growth Mindset

Illustrated by Hugh Thomson 1894

The Bennet Family at Home illustrated by Hugh Thomson, 1894 from Wikimedia Commons

When I was looking at the Fixed Mindset/Growth Mindset infograph on the DLMOOC site yesterday a conversation between Lizzy Bennet and Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice popped into my head:

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault- because I would not take the trouble of practising…(Pride and Prejudice, 1813, chapter 31)

Ms Austen you were centuries ahead of your time!

Operation Lift Up Thine Eyes

Photo courtesy: elenahneshcuetphotography on Flickr CC

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone but I’m on a secret mission at my school. Libraries have always been a place of sanctuary for those who find the social culture overwhelming or less than friendly. I’ve decided to take that role one step further and become proactive rather than just offer a haven. My secret mission is to find ways to boost  the growth of that positive culture of support learning communities are meant to have. I want to try and shift general student culture a little from the teen gossip/judgement/exclusion/bullying that is a  growing global trend. I want to try and move kids closer to a culture of acceptance/self-confidence/assistance/inspiration. I’m convinced the library can play a central role so I have several small operations I’m launching from our corner of the school.

OPERATION: 43 THINGS

43 things is a social media site all about setting goals and supporting others to meet their goals. Participants are able to blog about their progress, give and receive ‘cheers’ for their progress, comment to encourage others and share tips on how they’ve succeeded in reaching a goal. On Thursday I introduced 43 Things to one of the classes I teach in Library. Last week I had them think about some goals for their wide reading. On Thursday they set up accounts, typed in their goals and blogged about why the goal/s they set were worthwhile to them. Being the social media savvy bunch that they are, they also quickly found each other on the site, subscribed to each other and ‘cheers’ and positive comments flew back and forth. The classroom teacher and I are ‘following’ them too to monitor appropriate online behaviour and to offer our positive encouragement. So far it’s been very successful.

OPERATION: TED Talks Thursdays

I’ve started a school account for TED Talks and am compiling a play list for TED Talks Thursdays. Starting on March 22 we will be showing a single TT on a fortnightly basis in the library on the big screen. I want to amaze, amuse and inspire the kids; I want them to think about possibilities and get a glimpse of the people out there in the real world making a difference. TED Talkers are truly passionate, often wonderfully geeky (that’s a compliment) or unique and they make our world so much better. Excellent examples of why we should value uniqueness and accept others for who they are.

OPERATION: Poster Plaster

There are a heap of great motivational posters out there that go waaaaay beyond those fuzzy waterfall photos with syrup-y sayings under them (guaranteed not to grab any kids attention never mind consideration). I’ve been busily collecting samples on my Pinterest board and am hunting up places to purchase or recreate where possible. Here’s a link for the place to purchase the Holstee Manifesto and the Cult of Done Manifesto. I want to put some of these high impact posters up around the library and around the school.

There are a couple of other plans rolling around the back of my mind but these are my current plans. I think they fit in beautifully with our school motto — “Lift Up Thine Eyes” and I’m looking forward to observing and noting any effects they may have at school. I’ll let you know how it all goes.

The TL’s Areas of Influence

This idea came to me when I was working on part of the collaborative project for ETL504 and was pondering the question from Montiel-Overall — what form of collaboration should TLs be involved in given limited resources (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p.41). I started thinking that bringing about collaboration is a very complex undertaking. Are TLs being encouraged to try to be ‘super-human’ by the academics? Like the assignment in talking about Standards of Excellence, is it all expecting more than is possible? Which got me thinking about Coveys Circle of Influence and Concern and the proactivity thing.

Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their circle of Influence to increase.

Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment and circumstances over which they have no control. …[which] causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.” (Covey, 1990, p.83).

I started thinking about the things we TLs had the most influence over and those we had less influence over. Is this a strategy? To work from the inner circle out? This probably isnt complete but gave me an original perspective on things that might be useful in addressing THE question — “How can TL’s influence teachers to collaborate with them?”

Covey, S. (1990). Habit 1: Be proactive. In The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change (pp. 65-94). New York: Fireside.

Montiel-Overall, P. (2005). A theoretical understanding of teacher and librarian collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 11(2), 24-48. Retrieved August 5, 2008, from Emerald Insight database.