Mr. Ward has been teaching English in Los Angeles public schools for 25 years and has written a number of books on the subject, including his recent publication, A Teacher’s Inside Advice to Parents: How Children Thrive with Leadership, Love, Laughter, and Learning, which received the number one spot on Amazon’s list for New Releases on Parent Participation in Education. Mr. Ward promotes a “whole child” approach to education, a method in which the educator considers a student’s emotional, social, and soulful wellbeing in addition to their academic needs.
The social and emotional health of students, promoted by tolerance, correlates to their academic achievement; benefit mindset takes those feelings of acceptance and expands their influence to those around us. Students of a benefit mindset will encourage positive change to the social, emotional, and physical landscape that surrounds them, switching from a solitary perspective to a worldly one.
According to Ward, there are four ways to ensure the development of a student’s benefit mindset:
- Encouraging Inclusion
- Providing Peer Support
- Empowering Change Makers
- Emphasizing the Positive
Each of these can be tailored for the classroom: for inclusion, students will not eat alone; for peer support, previous year students can mentor younger students; for empowering change makers, involve students in actively addressing and changing the school for the better; for emphasizing the positive, students can submit daily announcements celebrating “heroic acts” of their peers on campus.
We at TWIN-CS hope to encourage a similar perspective in our students. As a basis of two-way immersion, students are intrinsically taught to be tolerant and empathetic to those around them, but we still wish to support different ways to promote selfless acts of altruism. Let us know if you have other ways of promoting a benefit mindset in the classroom!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher