Mount Carmel School teachers recently resumed their professional development book club with Carol Dweck’s “Mindset,” which examines the difference between fixed and growth mindsets in student learning. Teachers have been utilizing their weekly in-service sessions to discuss the book’s insights with each other, and to explore ways that the book’s lessons can help them in and out of the classroom.
The book club’s first book was “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. This year’s book, “Mindset” features the work Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who has spent decades researching how people learn and grow. Drawing from fields as diverse as education, business, and sports, Dweck argues that the “growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.”
School principal Frances Taimanao has appreciated lessons learned from “Mindset” in the book club. “For me, it always brings me back to my early childhood teachers and their traditional teaching, and then all the new teaching techniques I learned in college.” Regarding the school’s teachers, Taimanao hopes that they will learn how to grow themselves. “Learning never stops. It can be hard to get out of our comfort zones, but we need to try and we need to change.” She added, “As teachers, we need to look at how we can best meet the needs of our students. This book will help.”
School president Galvin Deleon Guerrero echoed Taimanao’s sentiments. “The best way to help our students to become life-long learners is to be life-long learners ourselves and lead by example.” He added, “By reading one book together and meeting each week to share our thoughts on the book with each other, we are growing and thriving as a learning community.”
Many schools across the nation have started their own book clubs to enhance teacher professional development. According to the ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), “Effective professional development in literacy must include a sustained, personal examination of our interaction with reading.” ASCD adds, “Interweaving pleasure and practicality makes a teachers’ book club a powerful option for school districts looking for a fresh approach to professional development. With book clubs, educators get together and enjoy literature and the social nature of a book club while they probe literacy from different angles. We read and discuss literature, analyze our personal preferences for reading, reflect on classroom practices, and modify classroom practices on the basis of what we have learned.” (PR)