Slice of Life: What is a Goal? #SOL19 #TWTBlog
GRIT IS NOT JUST A SIMPLE ELBOW-GREASE TERM FOR RUGGED PERSISTENCE. IT IS AN OFTEN INVISIBLE DISPLAY OF ENDURANCE THAT LETS YOU STAY IN AN UNCOMFORTABLE PLACE, WORK HARD TO IMPROVE UPON A GIVEN INTEREST, AND DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. – LEWIS
My son’s baseball team has a ritual. No matter how late, how cold, how hot, how badly we lose or how magnificently we win, at the end of a game the team runs to the outfield, takes a knee and reflects on what they learned from the game. They analyze, discuss, debate and strategize. They hear feedback and are asked to think about the goals they have set for themselves, where they are in relation to those goals and their next steps to meet those goals. The focus is always on the next game – improvement and growth.
The theory of growth mindset demonstrates that failing to reach your goal can actually sharpen your game plan and strengthen your resolve to go after it. Lewis’ research on mastery suggests, “Mastery is not the same as perfectionism. Mastery requires endurance. It is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved-line, constant pursuit.” This suggests that an over-emphasis on winning is not the path to mastery. We need to cultivate an environment of reflection, revision and risk-taking. Goals are not meant to be achieved, but rather to be propelled by.
I believe this ritual supports the true value of setting a goal, risk-taking and the pursuit of mastery. It reminds me of the group-share in the workshop model. We often use this time for students to celebrate and share what went well in the application of strategies. I wonder if we should use this time more often to focus on our goals, growth and improvement.
What didn’t go well today?
How might you try it differently tomorrow?
What did you learn about yourself as a reader today that you will use as a reader tomorrow?
What are you working to improve?
What are you going to do next to meet your goal?
What would happen if no matter how tired, hot, wiggly, loud, or stressed for time we are, at the end of workshop we reflect on what we learned about ourselves as a reader. Literacy is not about success or meeting a benchmark, it is about love, purpose and creativity. Grit and growth mindset are not things that just happen. They need to be cultivated and modeled alongside a joy of pursuit. We need to take the time to value these dispositions not just label and assign them. We need to truly embrace the curved path to mastery through our classroom rituals and environment. Persistence and focus on the game - whether it be baseball or reading - requires a love for it. The goal must come from the student and have personal purpose. Otherwise, our students will remain on the sidelines.