Our Community of Learning
A message from Dean of Studies Will Hornblower during this year’s Back-to-School Night
The Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck said: “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” How can we extend this philosophy to our larger learning community of teachers, coaches, and staff members? Well, we can ask the adults to do the same thing. At Oak Grove, we ask our adults to model behavior that promotes the idea that intelligence and aptitude are not fixed, and that through sustained effort and by taking on challenges, we can grow as learners.
“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” – Carol Dweck
This might be as simple as refraining from labeling a child or adult with terms such as “naturally gifted,” an “athlete,” or an “artist” or by finding ways to praise effort and persistence. We can also share how we, as adults, often make mistakes and how we learn from those mistakes. We can talk about times that we were challenged, and how that challenge helped us to thrive. We can recognize the success of our peers as an inspiration and not as a threat. This learning community is a perfect place to foster this mindset.
As Dean of Studies, I work with teachers to create a safe learning environment where students can grow as learners in myriad ways. But we also ask our adults on campus to grow right alongside them. So we are constantly engaged in professional development, self-reflection, goal setting, and collaboration to further this aim. As you can tell, in both of these areas, we as staff depend on the support and collaboration of the parenting-adults in our learning community.