As a high school administrator I thought that I would focus on a policy that I would change for it to reflect a moving mindset. One of the changes that I hope to make next year is to incorporate the VIA Survey of Character Strengths as part of our school discipline program. The program already is centered around conversation with students who violate school rules in which we discuss what happened, and then have the student reflect on what occurred and what they can do differently in the future. The foundation of our discipline program is based on a growth mindset, that being to not merely discipline the student, but rather to help the student to grow and make better choices in the future.
It is my hope to have students who have been assigned a suspension of any length to complete the survey as part of their discipline assignment. They would then submit their top 5 strengths via a Google form, so that we can have a record of each student's strengths for when we meet in the future. After submitting their strengths they would meet with an administrator who would then discuss what occurred for reflection, but this time through the lens of how they can utilize their strengths to avoid this situation in the future. In addition to discussing how they might utilize their strengths differently in the future, if needed the idea of how sometimes strengths (like humor) can be used as a shadow strength that is in reality utilizing that strength in a way that is negative or harmful. Finally, I would want them to reflect on the idea of self regulation, as exemplified by Dr. John Yeager (who co-authored the book Smart Strengths upon which this approach is based) in this article on self regulation.
With this change in approach, to helping students realize what their strengths are and how to better utilize them, but also to begin to move from autonomous responses within their environment, to those that are more reflective, as Dr. Yeager points out when discussing how being in a bakery can assault our virtue.
This is a change that I am more than willing to make as I believe that one of the primary functions of being an educator is to instill in our students the habit of life long learning, and a growth mindset is at the foundation of this belief. Without the belief that we all can grow and develop new skills and habits of mind, then their is little point in continuing to work with students.