Teachers Growth mindset: Wake up your potential

“I have always been deeply moved by outstanding achievement and saddened by wasted potential” Carol Dweck Research of Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck and her colleagues led to the mindset idea that was introduced in the world renowned book ‘Mindset – The new psychology of success’. Based on years of research, Dweck identifies two types of mindset. A growth mindset and a fixed mindset. The core finding of the research Dweck and colleagues conducted is that individuals with a growth mindset perceive intelligence as an ability that can be developed with practice. This shifts their attention to developing their intelligence than worrying about how to prove it right. They put hard efforts and maintain persistency to reach what they aim at. At the opposite, individuals with fixed mindset look at their intelligence as an inborn trait. They perceive it as a fixed one. Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence is simply an inborn trait—they have a certain amount, and that’s that.… In contrast, individuals with a growth mindset believe that they can develop their intelligence over time (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007; Dweck, 1999, 2007). Dweck discusses that these two mindsets crucially affect learning behavior: For one thing, when students view intelligence as fixed, they tend to value looking smart above all else. They may sacrifice important opportunities to learn—even those that are important to their future academic success—if those opportunities require them to risk performing poorly or admitting deficiencies. Students with a growth mindset, on the other hand, view challenging work as an opportunity to learn and grow. (Dweck 2010) The growth mindset need to be embraced by not only students but all stakeholders of education: school leaders, teachers and parents. This article focuses on teachers’ growth mindset and how it can flourish their teaching profession. Mindsets is essential for individual progress in life. It sums all beliefs about individual’s potential, intelligence and traits. The crucial question to be asked is whether we can change these beliefs and go beyond our mind limitation. Robert Sternberg, the present-day guru of intelligence writes that the major factor in whether people achieve expertise “is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement.” Or, as his forerunner, Binet, recognized, it’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest. (http://www.mindsetonline.com) How can teachers develop their own growth mindset? This visual that I have created sum it all up as will be discussed in the following lines gr8achiever We all have the fixed mindset voice in our heads. This is the voice visualized in the top part of the illustration shared above. We need to start a conversation with this voice and to prove it wrong as illustrated in the bottom part of the visual. When you approach a challenge or if you are trying to overcome a setback, this voice will become louder and louder. However you can lower the volume and start looking for other alternatives than blaming your intelligence and abilities. Just keep in mind that it is a learning journey in which you gain experiences. The experience will cultivate more skills which will make you more capable and intelligent. Your desire to learn will keep you moving forward on the bumpy path. Start the conversation with the following arguments to defeat the inner voice of the fixed mindset.

  • Remember that teaching is a Mission not a profession. No matter how this become overwhelming over time it will become your fuel that ignites your efforts and make them worthy
  • It’s a question of hard efforts and a matter of time before you earn the needed skills to make it happen.
  • Efforts need to be consistent as you have the desire to move forward
  • While it’s you that will beat the fixed growth mindset voice, others can help you to speed your learning process and to develop your capabilities. Collaboration and learning from others will help you all along the way
  • Failure is not the end of the path, it is just another milestone in your journey
  • Build your personal learning network. it’s your supply that will never run out
  • Use technology to develop your own personalized professional development
  • Try new ideas that might work better for you. Your passion will help you to decide which new idea are the proper ones.
  • Seek challenges not success. This way you will foster your growth mindset
  • Evaluate your progress not your success. The focus should be your efforts not your abilities
  • Foster a growth mindset culture in your classroom which will help you to maintain yours
  • Reflect and reflect. The illustration below will help you to have things sorted out

reflect Everyone can be a great achiever if s/he is willing to develop her/his intelligence, traits and abilities to be one. If s/he is willing to wake her/his potential. CKhlPITUMAA_Low http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept10/vol68/num01/Even-Geniuses-Work-Hard.aspx September, 2010. Accessed July, 23rd 2015. http://www.mindsetonline.com/whatisit/whypeoplediffer/ Accessed July, 23rd 2015. Copyright 2015 Bashaer M. Al Kilani


Career Technical Education


Learning is a holistic process of adaptation to the world and not just the result of cognition. Learning involves the integrated functioning of the total person thinking, feeling, perceiving, and behaving. (Kolb & Kolb, 2005 p. 194 cited in Reynolds, Vince., 2007)

Career Education provides an alternative to the traditional approach of teaching. Started by Sidney P. Marland in January 1971 and introduced to National Association of Secondary School Principals in USA, the concept behind Career Education is a new reform of schools where a new educational unity is introduced. This entirely new curriculum would, Marland believed, represent a blending of vocational, college preparatory, and general education. Moreover, all grade levels and subject areas would be affected (Miller, Virginia R. 2002)

Career Education is a conscientious effort to effect basic educational change. It is a kindergarten through adult education approach and a program for all individuals rather than for a specific minority. Its proponents would single out career education as preparation for work.

One debate about Career Education is that Occupations are changing all the time preparing students for specific jobs may be meaningless approach. Hoyt (1995) , has a broader definition of work , conscious effort, other than that involved in activities whose primary purpose is either coping or relaxation, aimed at producing benefits for oneself and / or oneself and others (p153) ( as cited by Stead, Hartnett, 1976). Career education is the total effort of public education and community to help all individuals become familiar with the values of work oriented society, to integrate those values into their personal value systems, and to implement those values in their lives in such a way that work becomes possible, meaningful, and satisfying to each individual. With its goal of preparing all students, career education serves the following significant objectives:

  1. To help all individuals to become familiar with the values of work oriented society
  2. To encourage individuals to integrate these work values into personal value structure
  3. To assist individuals in implementing work values in their lives. (Hoyt, 1995, pp 157-158 cited by Stead, Hartnett,1976)

Career and technical educators can use it to:

  1. Support small learning communities with career focus. Schools      have the potential to become the sites of smaller educational environments that are fundamental to high school reform (Grubb 1995)
  1. Use contextual project-based teaching and learning.
  2. Clearly articulate career and technical education outcomes and link them to existing standards rather than establishing separate standards career and technical education should link to whatever standards are part of the large system(Brand 2000)
  3. Connect to the community: communities have an important role in urban education. Many urban communities for example have a rich social economic and political life that can be used by school to support real world learning (Grubb 1995)

Modernized CTE (Career Technical education) supports strong economic competitiveness by:

  1. increasing student engagement;
  2. improving math, science and literacy skills;
  3. meeting workforce needs; and
  4. meeting employer needs for highly skilled workers.(Karen Drage 2009)E

School reform should take into consideration technology rapid changes design. China is currently leading the biotechnology and nanotechnology research in the world. Daggett reported that 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in China are awarded in the areas of science and engineering and 90 percent of the world’s scientists and engineers will work in Asia by 2010. CTE can be instrumental in closing the competitiveness gap by adopting a proactive approach to curriculum development as opposed to the traditional reactive approach. (Karen Drage 2009)

Thomas Bailey in his study with his colleagues about whether internship programs and CTE have a positive effect on students’ academic achievement. They concluded the evidence is inconclusive. They targeted 25 student interns. They investigated the impact of what students were studying in CTE and the work experience they are experiencing. The researchers concluded that academic impacts from typical work-based experiences in high school are limited and that integrating the experiences at school and work, while possible and powerful when done well, poses significant curricular challenges (Bailey, Hughes, and Moore 2004). In the same study, Bailey and colleagues argued that there could be essential none academic benefits of CTE. They conclude that these benefits has two aspects:

Exposure to adults in settings that can help young people identify paths to adult responsibility; and exposure to non-school forms of thinking and problem solving that work provides, including ways to define problems, solve them in the context of limited information and multiple goals, work in teams, understand social relations, etc. These researchers found sufficient value from these learning opportunities, beyond either academic or narrow career-planning value, to conclude that: work based learning is worth pursuing and expanding.(Richard Kazis 2005)

It is time for CTE to move beyond promoting the teaching of soft skills. Indeed, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills are needed to prepare students for the world of work in an internationally competitive economy. The future of CTE lies in promoting high standards— both in academic and occupational areas—and developing curriculum in emerging fields such as biometrics. It is time that CTE embraces this change and opens its eyes to the new realities of work and education. (Karen Drage 2009).

Copyright 2015 Bashaer M. Al Kilani


Biley T. R., Hughes K., Moore D. T. (2004) Working knowledge: work-based learning and education reform

Brand, B. (2000). High schools of the millennium: Implications for career and technical education. Workforce Education Webcasts [on-line]. The National

Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education, Columbus, Ohio.

Available: http://www.nccte.org//webcasts/description.aspx?wc=83&printer=y

DRAGE, K., (2009). Modernizing Career and Technical Education Programs (Broderius, Bruce W. 1976)

Grubb, W.N. (1995). Reconstructing urban schools with work-centered education. Education and Urban Society

Imel, S.,  (2000). Career & Technical eduction in urban school.In brief: Fast facts for policy and practice No. 9

Kazis R.(2005) What Role for High School Programs?

Miller,V., R. (2002). The role of career and technical Education in High school

Stead, P., L., Hartnett, R. A. (1976), A third party evaluation of the region v, regional education service agency, career oriented education program