Developing Mindsets Through Reflection and Goal Setting
Student self-evaluations and student goal setting are techniques I use to teach mindsets in my classroom. At the start of the year, I introduce mindsets as a part of student self-evaluation and goal-setting in my high school Spanish Two and Spanish Three classes.
"My Goals for Personal Growth"
As previously mentioned, Dr. Arthur L. Costa and Dr. Bena Kallick (2000) developed a set of behaviors that successful human beings demonstrate when faced with challenges and new situations; they called these “Habits of Mind.” I identified ten that I believe most relate to success in the world language classroom. I then created a student self-assessment modeled after the goal-setting activities outlined by Dr. Maurice Elias (2013) in his blog post, “Back to school: Goal setting with your students” connecting each mindset to a virtue. In class, I asked students to self-assess and identify one area of strength and two areas of growth. Then students set goals around their growth in these areas to which they will be held accountable by peers, by themselves, and by me.
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) points out that, “The more learners are engaged in their own learning process, the more intrinsically motivated they become. Research shows that the ability of language learners to set goals is linked to increased student motivation, language achievement, and growth in proficiency” (NCSSFL-ACTFL Can Do Statements, 2015, p.1). These self-assessments and student-created goals are an essential way I strategically teach mindsets. To see work samples of student engaging in self-reflection on mindsets, see Appendix A. However, I also work to integrate growth-oriented mindsets in academic activities within the Spanish curriculum.
In the images below, you will find a sample of the worksheet "My Goals for Personal Growth," as well as five student work samples. Student work samples demonstrate how students identify areas of growth by identifying obstacles in their academic success. One student wrote, "An area of growth for me is persisting. This is because I only try when I want to and I give up when I don't get it. My goal is to not give up and keep going." Another student wrote, "I chose metacognition [as my growth area]. I will set a goal at the beginning of an assignment and at the end I'm going to assess myself upon the level of my work." While students at this level tend to be 9th and 10th graders with emerging emotional maturity, I use this opportunity to begin the process of inculcating in students key habits and mindsets essential for their success in this class, in their academic careers, and in their personal lives. See below for more samples of student reflection on habits and mindsets.
In the following video, students reflect on the habits and mindsets they are actively developing in Spanish class based on the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year. Importantly, students reflect on the importance of their achievement in these areas as a tool for success in their other classes and personal goals. Asked in unplanned interviews, the oral reflections in this video demonstrate how students have internalized these traits as key levers for personal growth. The language students use to discuss their progress is indicative of my explicit teaching of these habits and mindsets in the context of goal setting; however, students exhibit their ownership of the habits and mindsets through their comments.
Note on Student Work and Images: All videos, images, and sample student work has been used with the permission from parents. I have written permission to use the names of faces of students included in this portfolio.