Growth Mindset and Habits of Mind: Practices and Programs 2.23.18


Applying Habits of Mind and Backwards Design to a Theater Arts classroom

Gavilan College hosted 25 educators from 7 California community colleges at the first Northern California workshop exploring the powerful synergies of two meta-disciplinary learning supports: Growth Mindset and Habits of Mind.  In part 1 of the workshop, Mary-Jo Apigo, Dean of Teaching and Learning at West Los Angeles College, taught student leaders and educators from a wide variety of disciplines and campus roles about the efficacy of intentionally teaching students about neuroplasticity and the concepts of fixed and growth mindset. Apigo gave interactive examples of how to embed short but sustained classroom intervention activities. Participants then discussed ways to apply Growth Mindset and the power of “yet” to such things as building student motivation and giving student feedback on essays.

In part 2 of the workshop, English instructors Scott Sandler of Gavilan College and Hetty Yelland of Hartnell College introduced participants to Habits of Mind – dispositions that support and build the capacity of learners in all disciplines and that can be explicitly called out and embedded in programs and classrooms to benefit students in a variety of ways, including normalizing the importance of struggle and confusion in learning. A highlight of the day was participating in a “nesting” activity that used backwards design to help ensure learning outcomes by embedding key Habits of Mind into classroom curriculum and program trainings.

In a final debrief of the day, participants wanted to bring back to campus an “inquiry window” activity they practiced so that they could better surface student voices and needs. Similarly, the group also wanted to continue to call out and model listening with understanding and empathy – one of the Habits of Mind and one that undergirds and sustains culturally responsive and equitable classrooms and campuses.

Participant feedback: What helped support your learning today?

“Emphasis on cross-campus collaborative participation, applicability, and relevance.”

“Sharing the experience with fellow Non-Credit teachers.”

“Thinking flexibly, sharing learning and other resources from others.”

What other comments or questions would you like to add?

“Great Workshop. I hope we can start some of these classes on campus. It would help students improve their study strategies a lot.”

“How do we get more colleagues on board?”

“Thank you! This workshop was so energizing!”

Participating Colleges: Gavilan, West LA College, Hartnell, Hancock, Butte, Reedley, Mission (Santa Clara).

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