The first thing I learned when writing my response of Hard Play, Growth Mindset and Tinkering is that they are very hard to implement in a traditional educational setting and it is extremely hard to change someone’s mindset. We have been providing teacher training on growth mindset for almost a year and have been having them integrate some growth mindset activities in their classrooms. It is hard to determine the effectiveness these activities, but the mindset of many of the teachers is the same.
We haven’t done a lot with growth mindset as a school, but I do wonder what it really takes to help someone change their mindset. Some teachers have changed their mindset in some areas, but not others. For example, some of our teachers have bought into the idea that everyone can learn if they work harder. These same teachers don’t believe this is the case with behavior. Their attitude is there are good kids and bad kids and we have to punish the bad ones.
Tinkering takes time, space, materials and equipment. These are things that are hard to find in a traditional high school. I have attempted to open a Maker Space, but getting all the needed materials, computers, 3D printers and a supervisor has been a challenge. We will get there, but even when it is up and running, it will only serve a small percentage of our students.
I don’t mean to be pessimistic. I do think tinkering and growth mindset are great ideas, part of the picture, but they are not magic bullets to systemic change in education.