Unstoppable Learning: Making Room For Students’ Passions

I came back from my morning run completely energized. I took my headphones off and continued to puzzle over Sugata Mitra’s compelling segment on the TED Radio Hour, Unstoppable Learning, which I had been listening to and which suggested that in many ways, teachers are getting in the way of learning.

A tough pill for me — a teacher of seven years — to swallow.

I scrawled some thoughts in my journal — “students in pursuit of learning,” “fostering curiosity,” “CHOICE,” “unstoppable learning…” — and grinned as I imagined what this transformation could look like in my classroom. This always happens, I reflected. I get the best ideas when I have more time to listen, to read, to run. I always learn the most when I have space just to think. As a new mother and a classroom teacher, lead teacher, mentor, fellow, friend, and wife, my days are jam packed. Further, my time is often completely scheduled. The time and space to read and think is few and far between. But making space for it is so, so important.

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Three Ways to Encourage a Growth Mindset

I’ve always been passionate about helping my students see potential in themselves and seek to reach greater heights. Getting students to truly believe they are capable of growing is a large part of why I became a teacher in the first place.

But it wasn’t until I learned more about growth mindset that I started to uncover how to help students both grow and have the tools to be self-directed learners. Helping students develop a growth mindset — the belief that your abilities can be developed — has become a cornerstone in my practice.

In particular, growth mindset enables challenging tasks to be a welcomed norm. As a teacher, my job is not only to give my students challenging tasks, but also to give them the tools and strategies to tackle the challenge. Read more