teaching: Three Vital Mindsets for Success

August 7, 2015


The most inspiring speaker I heard while attending the NAFNext conference in Anaheim was Dr. Randal Pinkett. He spoke on the modern situation, and described the three mindsets necessary to succeed in this modern landscape- the mindsets of the entrepreneur, the innovator, and the global citizen.

As he describes it, our world is shaped by the economy, technology, and diversity. Those who can make do with less, keep up with change, and work with people who do not look like them will be the ones to succeed. 

Entrepreneurs make do with less, they are creative, resourceful, courageous, resilient, and passionate. He emphasized that students have these traits, and that we can help them hone these traits by modeling passion for our subject matter, and working effectively on a team.

Innovators have a healthy acceptance of failure and change. They fail fast rather than hard, and are willing to persist enthusiastically to pursue solutions. Teaching students through project and experience based learning allows them to develop the skills to take risks and learn from mistakes.

Global citizens embrace diversity in their work and personal lives. They build meaningful relationships with people who think differently than them. Randal emphasized that only interacting with people that think like you nullifies the benefits of diversity- multiple viewpoints. He called for teachers to diversify their networks to set a positive example for their students.

When we hear presentations that say that we are preparing students for careers that have not been conceived of, I think teachers can fall back on these ideas. Economies, technology, and diversity will be consistent presences in our growing world. If students can build skills and mindsets that help them to navigate these modern hallmarks, they will have transferable skills for whatever changes occur. Not only that, but they will have strong supports to help them succeed despite difficulty, change, and culture.

If you are interested in hearing Dr. Randal Pinkett speak on this topic, here is a TEDTalk similar to the speech he gave to our conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1veBBpWxJQ. He is a great speaker, and so it is worth checking out, and maybe even playing for your class. 

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