Reflections: My First Class of Graduate School
As I venture into the arduous task of grad-school, I can't help but wonder how hard will it be, can I hack it, and will I have to write a bunch of papers? So far, I am reassured that I can be successful in this program. Our class meets once a week where we discuss the weekly topic. We have our own Facebook group for further discussions and collaboration where we learn from each other, sharing our successes and failures. I learned from Mindset (Deweck, 2006) failure is not something to fear, but an opportunity to learn.
While studying Mindset (Deweck, 2006), we first learned there are two opposing mindsets, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Those with a fixed mindset look at success as the total measure of their worth because they feel they must prove themselves. (p. 5) They believe that people have a set of skills, abilities, or talents that you are born with; you're an athlete, musician, or an artist; you’re "good" at math or writing. You're a "natural" and this comes easily to you. We learned that this is not true, there is the growth mindset and that having one means you believe "a person's true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it's impossible to foresee what can be accomplished" (p. 7). Talent and skill can be a learned ability, through hard work, trial and error, one can develop these things.
It's important for me to have this growth mindset when continuing my education, especially since I had a fixed mindset about my writing ability, never believed I was good at it. I don't have to be good at it yet, I know that I can get better with practice. To show proof of our understanding of the growth mindset, we made a Growth Mindset Plan for ourselves to use when sharing with our colleagues.
Next, we explored the COVA approach to student-centered learning, allowing for student choice, ownership, and voice for authentic learning. COVA creates a vested interest in the students since they are provided with outlines of what needs to be present in their evidence of learning, but they get to choose how to display that learning. Our whole program is based upon COVA when we submit assignments. I get to choose the form my assignment will take, I don't have to write a paper if I don't want to. My first assignment was a slide deck with embedded videos, then I made a video narrative for my Learning Manifesto, and my final assignment was a post of Professional Learning Networks I belong to. I keep these elements in my e-Portfolio as evidence of learning as I progress through the program. I relish the control I have over the completion of my assignments seeing that it allows me to show my personality and abilities.
I appreciate how this is the first thing we are taught when pursuing this degree; it has put my mind at ease knowing I have flexibility in demonstrating my learning. I know that if I am not successful on the first attempt then I will analyze, revise, and improve for the next try. My professor was extremely helpful, permitting us to turn in assignments early so she could provide feedback allowing for improvement and re-submission if needed. The hardest part of my endeavor is writing in the APA style which is new to me and I may not be proficient in it yet, but as I learned from Meet the Robinsons (2007) "from failing we learn, from success, not so much!" I intend to "keep moving forward" in my graduate school endeavors. I think I'm ready for more! Wish me luck!
Dweck, Carol S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.
Mc Kim, D. & Lasseter, J. (Producers), & Anderson, S. (Director). (2007). Meet the Robinsons. [Motion picture]. United States: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios.