Growth Mindset, Rochester Style

On Thursday, October 29th, the entire faculty of Integrated Arts and Technology High School in Rochester, New York participated in an orientation to kick off their involvement in ISA’s Integrated Non-Cognitive Teaching and Learning Project (INTLP). Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the INTLP project seeks to support teachers as they develop non-cognitive skills needed for student success in their core subject area teaching.

After Principal Kevin Klein outlined how the INTLP project supports the school’s priorities for the year, Senior Math Specialist, Nate Dilworth, led an exploration of how solving maze puzzles, including hitting dead ends and struggling to find a strategy out of the maze, could deepen students’ understanding of growth mindset, a key non-cognitive skill.  Indeed, the term “Maze Moments” has become shorthand in INTLP schools for “it’s normal to struggle; I’m not the only one in class who sometimes gets stuck; and, struggle is a necessary part of the path to success.”  This photo shows teachers proudly displaying evidence of struggle in their mazes.

The purpose of the orientation was two-fold:   This fall, the school will recruit up to three teachers in each core content area to work closely with ISA coaches to teach their students to regularly use a meta-cognitive strategy, such as annotation, to better understand content but also to encourage students to reflect on how consistently using these strategies is making them better students—in other words, how effective effort makes them smarter.  At the same time, coaches and school leaders are encouraging all faculty to begin to integrate growth mindset and meta-cognitive strategies in their classrooms in preparation for year two, when the work will scale up across the whole school.

IAT is just one of six ISA schools engaged in this powerful work, including four in New York City and one in Jersey City, NJ. The INTLP project is expected to scale nationally beginning in the fall of 2019.