By Marissa Bennett
Growth Mindset is a method of teaching that uses positive reinforcement, feedback, group communication and cognitive listening. Students are taught at their own pace using iPads to work on problems outside of what they are doing in class. Each student can be working on different topics at different levels. Students in Jennifer Maichin’s sixth grade math class at Mineola Middle School are taught using this new method. “The Process: A Year of Growth Mindset”, a documentary that highlights the teaching style and the students learning from it recently premiered at Mineola High School.
People flooded into the high school auditorium to watch the film, that follows six teachers and students of different grade levels as they tried to grasp the idea of growth mindset during the 2017-18 school year. Richard Hardek, a former student of Maichin’s, served as the host throughout the film. He was beaming with excitement as he watched himself on the big screen, talking about something he is passionate about.
“Richard fell in love with the idea of growth mindset after learning it in class; he even began to use it in his everyday life,” said Richard’s dad, Richard Hardek. “It’s inspiring to see his passion for it. It was, actually, part of his idea to bring it to the whole school.”
Maichin has been teaching math using this method for about seven years.
“I believe kids don’t need to be hand held,” explained Maichin. “They need to make their own mistakes and realize that, that is OK. By teaching kids it is OK to mess up, they will experiment and learn more.”
Many of the kids in Maichin’s classes are also love learning about growth mindset. Marissa, a sixth grade student in Maichin’s class, said she loves being able to use an iPad to work on her math problems on her own because she can learn more than just what is being taught in class. She is already doing eighth grade math and is able to help her friends who may still be stuck on sixth grade problems.
Assistant Superintendent Matthew Gaven has been very supportive of the development of this program for the last two years. He has seen students happier and more excited to learn in a positive environment, and said this documentary is a great way for the school to “share our story, because it is an important one.”
The documentary screening ended with an audience Q&A with the students and teachers highlighted in the documentary, as well as Eduardo Briceno and Dr. Sylvia Roberts, who run Mindset Works, a company that helps schools implement growth mindset by setting up resources to teach faculty about the ideas behind it.
Anyone wishing to see the documentary or set up future screenings can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Marissa Bennet is a journalism student at LIU