Continuing to Look for New and Innovative Approaches to Best Meet Students' Needs
Lucijan Jovic and Matteo Itri
As graduate students in the School of Education and Human Services at Molloy College, we are committed to a value system that stresses the importance of working hard and utilizingevery resource to learn and grow. With complex and rigorous next generation learning standardson the horizon, we look for new and innovative pedagogical strategies to best meet the needs ofthe diverse learning communities we will soon educate. Integrating visible thinking routines intodaily instruction combined with developing a growth mindset not only strengthens students'reading, writing, and critical thinking ability, and places students on the path towards success.
Tishman and Palmer (2008) define visible thinking as "any kind of observable representation that documents and supports the development of an individual's or group'songoing thoughts, questions, reasons, and reflections" (p.1). Students are constructing and utilizing mind maps, charts, lists, diagrams, and worksheets to critically break-down what ispresented to them, which will aid in their comprehension and critical thinking ability.
In addition, with engagement being a critical component in today's education, visiblethinking is rooted in having students think beyond their schematic knowledge, challenge what ispresented to them, draw connections, and continue to ask probing questions to learn more.(Tishman & Palmer, 2008). By diving deeper and integrating this into instruction, we aseducators "reveal key relationships between claims and evidence, facts and questions, andcertainties and uncertainties. Making these relationships visible [not only] helps students buildauthentic knowledge (Tishman & Palmer, 2008, p. 2). Lucijan, an educator and writing consultant in the Molloy College writing center, employs visible thinking on a daily basis when working with students.
This approach encourages students to think about a topic, construct questions that helpgather their thoughts, and learn new ideas from others through conversation. Perkins and Richart(2016) support this approach, stating that students can externalize their thoughts throughspeaking, writing, or even drawing. As a consultant, Lucijan welcomes students to express their thoughts through dialogue, drawing, or creating a list. In this way, students are encouraged tobuild on their schematic knowledge, add detail, and utilize their strengths to drive their writing.
One way to develop visible thinking when working with students who have disabilities isby incorporating the "see-think-wonder" routine. This strategy can help consultants and studentsdevelop content learning as it promotes engagement with the material. Students look at what ispresented to them and are intrigued to dig deeper to find more information. Questions such as"What do you see, what do you think, what does it make you wonder," are common questionsthat spark interest. Furthermore, we have noticed that when students are engaged with thematerial, their fascination motivates them to want to learn more, and ask questions, engage inpositive exchanges of academic discourse, and learn from their mistakes (Perkins & Richart, 2008).
Growth Mindset: Grit Approach
Growth Mindset according to Dweck (2007) is the belief that students can improvethrough increased efforts and hard work even when they do not understand a concept. By takingvarious aspects of a student's life, the growth mindset approach can have a profound impact onthe rest of a student's life. Students struggling and failing is an integral part of success and thelearning process. As facilitators of learning, integrating the theory of Growth Mindset into thecurriculum allows educators to reach and inspire students.
According to Duckworth et. al. (2007), Grit is when a student is persistent and willing totake on a challenge and see it through. The concept of Grit allows students to understand thevarious components that go into the learning process and taking on a challenge will allowstudents to learn valuable life lessons along the way. Whether a student is applying the ideas ofGrit to the classroom, sports, or a job, it will allow them to persist through moments of adversityrather than give up when things are unfavorable. Even when individuals adapt a Growth Mindset,struggle is still evident and can make students stronger learners. "Even in the growth mindset,failure can be a painful experience, but it doesn't define you. It's a problem to be faced, dealtwith and learned from" (Dweck, 2007, p.33). Failure and struggle is inevitable in life; however,it does not define who we are. Rather it makes us stronger and allows us to hone in on what weneed to fix. Furthermore, this mindset allows individuals to cope with struggle and adversity in away that allows for growth and reflection.
Matteo has applied this theory to various aspects of his life. While he struggled immenselygrowing up, he has learned how to cope with failure and struggles. Matteo is passionate aboutsharing his story of success and failure with all of those he interacts with and inspiring othersthrough his actions. In addition, Matteo emphasizes the importance of "failing his way tosuccess" and how it has helped turn him into a stronger student, athlete, and individual. Hisexperiences as a Volunteer Firefighter, Resident Assistant, and Captain of the Molloy CrossCountry Track and Field team would not have been possible without a Growth Mindset.
The Molloy College Approach
The various courses we have taken have molded us into life-long learners. Each classallowed us to demonstrate our schematic knowledge in various ways. We have strengthened ourknowledge of critical literacy development and in-depth research techniques, and dived deeperinto critical theories to integrate into instruction. This will allow us to provide the highest qualityinstruction for our future students.
All of our professors provide us with expert knowledge that will be invaluable to oursuccess as teachers. The passion and dedication of the professors in the Molloy Educationdepartment has inspired us to continue to conduct research that will help us provide the highestquality education to our future students.
Dweck, S. Carol. (2007). Mindset The New Psychology Of Success. New York, NY: BallantineBooks.
Perkins, D., Richart, R., and Tishman, S. (2008) Making thinking visible.EducationalLeadership, 65, 5. 57-61.
Retrieved from Making Thinking VisibleEL (pdf).
About the Authors
Lucijan Jovic is a Graduate student in the School of Education and Human Services atMolloy College. His academic interests are rooted in not only looking for new and innovativepedagogical approaches to not only best meet the needs of the diverse learning community, butalso works to foster proficient writers who think, read, and write with clarity. As an educator andwriting consultant, he works with students in all stages of the writing process and enjoyswatching students grow and improve their skills. In addition, his teaching passion is rooted inhelping students with disabilities improve their reading, writing, communicative, and executivefunctioning skills and motivates them to become well-rounded individuals. Outside theclassroom and apart from writing, he also enjoys giving back to the academic communitythrough the various leadership roles he holds. He served as the Academic Chair of MolloyStudent Government for 3 years, Head Orientation Leader, Student Ambassador, Peer Mentor,sits on several committees, works as a Graduate Assistant, and is also an Intern for theDepartment of Special Education. Lucijan is a passionate educator, writer, campus leader, and world traveler.
Matteo Itri is also a Graduate student in the School of Education and Human Services atMolloy College. His academic interests include: empowering students to become life-longlearners and employing classroom strategies that hone-in on failure being an integral part of thelearning process. He has given several presentations regarding his story and growth mindset andhopes to inspire a new generation of learners as an effective facilitator of learning. Matteo'sinvolvement at Molloy and within his community have inspired him to become an educator andrealize that the most enriching life experience is giving back to others and enabling them tosucceed. Aside from teaching, Matteo is the captain of the Molloy College Cross Country/Trackand Field programs, Student Ambassador, Social Media Ambassador, Orientation Leader, servedas a Resident Assistant, and Executive member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.Matteo strives to enable students to become engaged citizens who understand the importance ofthe learning process and apply what they have learned in his classroom to the outside world.
Education By The Numbers
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