Alix HortonYesterday I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the Buck Institute for Education’s annual summer conference, PBL World. It was the best kind of conference- the kind where you leave feeling like you got a little shot of educator caffeine, energizing you to continue your work.We started with educator Ramsey Musallam, who reminded us that:“It takes a while to “wrap your arms around quality PBL” according to @rmusallam- takes reflection/practice #pblworld”And shared my favorite quote of the day-“Difficulty builds mental muscle while ease builds only confidence- Nate Kornell #pblworld”It was such a good reminder. I think a lot about developing growth mindset in students, and I try to remind myself that I also need to believe that I can learn, grow, and get better at what I’m doing- that my abilities aren’t fixed. But sometimes in the day to day moments, the stress, or the struggle, I forget- and I need that reminder that the struggle is what makes this worth it and what makes me grow.I had the opportunity to present on New Tech Network’s College Readiness Assessments, which are substantively individual, curriculum-embedded performance tasks, aligned with college and career readiness standards. I was wowed by the participants as they dug into the rubrics we use as an external college readiness standard, looked at student work together, and analyzed the kinds of tasks it takes to motivate and challenge students and elicit their best thinking. The conversation was rich and fruitful and there were lots of great, challenging questions. When I asked for take-aways, I expected lots of things, but the take-away that really struck me was simple. The facilitator said, “I was reminded of the importance of building a growth mindset in my students.” And I thought- yes, that’s what this was really all about- for students, but for us as educators too. My PowerPoint slides an attempts to articulate this or that and our rubrics that we worked so hard on- essentially, we’re just figuring out how we can see whether or not students are improving, and how we can improve our practice as a result.My mental muscles are pretty tired right now, but PBL World reminded me that’s the sign that I’ve learned and grown.
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