A Process Mindset

by Jenn Hayhurst & Jill DeRosa

We are currently writing a book, it is a long process. Somewhere along the way, we discovered that writing and learning are soulmates. There is no arrival because it’s not about the destination. Our writing is inspired by the learning work we do with children and each other… 

There are three things we know for sure:
  1. Neuroplasticity means that your brain is not fixed. Your brain is wired for change. Your brain grows over time as it continues to learn, it rewires itself around that new learning. Essentially, your brain is writing the story of your life through the synaptic pathways it creates. Each pathway leads the way to a new perception.
  2. Teaching is messy because learning seldom follows a linear path. There are many alternative routes for learning to occur. Whether we are a teacher or a student our goal is the same to keep on learning.
  3. It’s time to consider adopting a Process Mindset 

What a Process Mindset is: Teachers who are ready to follow the path that the student cuts. It means leading by following where the learner needs to go.  Embracing choice and all that it requires from us. Student talk is essential data to inform instruction. Accepting and embracing that learning happens on its own timeline, not ours.

 What a Process Mindset is not: One size fits all learning. Assigning worksheets to fill minutes of the school day. Monolithic narratives.  Assigning unimportant homework that makes zero impact on student growth. It is not doing what others do because it’s always been done that way.

If we decide to be a learner for the rest our lives, our brains are up for the challenge.  If we decide to believe and act upon students’ potential they are up for the challenge too. When we allow students to direct the learning we are opening ourselves up to the Process Mindset. Just try it and see what happens next.

2 thoughts on “A Process Mindset

  1. I think you are showing a process mindset by writing a book! Especially since you are writing it as you are learning from those around you. I agree with your statement, “Student talk is essential data to inform instruction.” Students’ talk can tell us so much about their learning and reading and writing processes. But, we have to be sure to ask. Questions like “How did you know?” and “How did you figure that out?” are essential. So, I think questioning is a big part of the process mindset, as well. I look forward to hearing more about your book writing efforts!

  2. Jenn and Jill,

    Wow! I really enjoyed reading this post. I too agree that, as teachers, the goal is to keep on learning and this is a mindset I hope to instill in my students some day. I love this idea of the process mindset. “Teachers who are ready to follow the path that the student cuts.” It is true that learning is not one-size-firs all.
    The mention of “embracing choice” and student talk being essential, are a couple other things that resonated with me. This was a short post however, it was FULL of great information and insight!

    Thank you so much!

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