By: Fran Bulloff, VTI President
One thing we have learned from this current pandemic is there are many ways to learn and grow. While some students have been stripped of their ability to interact safely in close quarters in standard classrooms, their teachers and school administrators have tried to substitute with various hybrid models of staggered classroom attendance as well as total online instruction this Fall. Not only types but also methods of instruction are evolving because of COVID-19. One of the new methods of instruction gaining popularity is “pod learning,” which may take different forms such as simple homeschooling where a number of similarly aged children meet in someone’s home daily where their parents have pooled funds to hire an on-site tutor; a so-called “pod school” where a private school offers its online courses with its own tutors to small groups in peoples’ homes; a safe space offered by entrepreneurs where kids can convene with their own computers and work online during the school day with some supervision and perhaps engage in additional onsite enrichment activities like Legos, chess, arts, or sports. Not only are teachers adapting, but also parents are scrambling to configure their homes to accommodate remote working and learning spaces. I have even heard of a neighborhood bagel store near me whose owners created a little study carrel away from the sales counter so that an employee’s little girl could do her online schoolwork there while her mom attended to her job nearby.
A Stanford University social psychologist named Carol Dweck has spent decades developing her personality theory of “growth mindset” versus “fixed mindset” learners. Essentially Dr. Dweck believes that people who think they are naturally blessed with intelligence and talent often approach life with a “fixed mindset,” while those who are encouraged to work hard to develop their abilities actually do expand them with a “growth mindset.” The latter tend to more motivated, innovative, and push through their mistakes, setbacks, and challenges with more resiliency than the fixed thinkers who rest on their reputations and are afraid to be wrong. In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck shows how attitude and nurturing can affect all aspects of a person’s life.
Today we face challenges and changes imposed by the pandemic which can confound some but light fires of creativity and opportunities for others. Those who are fixed in their ways are having difficulty adapting while those who are open to growth are blossoming. If you can channel your efforts toward learning and growth, you can advance your career and find personal satisfaction even in these tough times. VTI wants to help and you can visit our website today for access to free resources.