Chapter 8 from the Innovator's Mindset helped me to reflect on my learners who are often referred to as struggling readers. It made me think about how even the reference to students as struggling readers is not focusing on their strengths. Students who are not reading yet or are not yet at the expectations still have strengths. By stretching the strengths of our learners, they have the opportunity to build confidence, grow as a learner, and discover learning can be fun. By helping them develop a growth mindset they are able to persevere through content that is more difficult.
When I look at the screening assessments, I look for strengths so I know what learners can build on. We also refer to our reading support as STARS (Students and Teachers Achieving Reading Success). I see them as Learners working with me toward success. This year I have also been looking for ways to empower students to take charge of their learning and have started to see pockets of this happening.
The same can be said when working with adults. It is important to build on strengths and show people the way to growth. George Couros states in his book " Focusing on individuals' strengths that contribute to the vision of the school helps to move us from pockets of innovation to a culture where innovation flourishes." I can see this happening in our district. We have been offered opportunities three times this year to share what we are passionate about through a workshop model of professional development. We are given the choice how to best spend our time on those days by presenting, attending, collaborating, reflecting, or a combination of these. While working on the new strategic plan the district asked the staff the question, "If you could create a school, what would it look like?" I have to say it was nice to be asked. Our district appears to be working toward creating a culture of innovation. I am looking forward to where it will lead.
April Padalino and Cyndi Dull
We are educational coaches with a passion for learning and empowering students, parents, and educators to Bring Education to Life.