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MCC Daily Tribune Archive

A Welcome Back from the TCC

As we return to the classroom, the Teaching and Creativity Center is busy, too, planning professional development opportunities for this academic year.

This year’s theme is Growth Mindset, both as theory and practice. The concept fits nicely with our last two years’ focus on increasing student engagement and helping students learn about their learning. We benefit in pedagogy and perspective about the students in our classes by understanding what some of the latest research from brain science has to say. Growth Mindset is not a cure-all, nor is it a magic wand; however, we feel it’s a worthwhile project to explore the many ways in which implicit attitudes and assumptions can be stumbling blocks for learners and teachers alike.

The idea that we can be more than we often feel we are, that we “contain multitudes” as Walt Whitman put it, is neither new nor radical. Brain and cognitive science is only now catching up to what artists and poets and philosophers and mystics have been reminding us all along: that we are neither stagnant nor fixed selves. In the midst of a particularly challenging semester, or when we are buried under stacks of disappointing essays or exams, it can be easy to forget that the students entrusted to our care are vulnerable, flexible beings who are by the very nature of their biology and their humanity also resilient. And so are we.

During this first week of classes, while you are attending to every material and digital need for teaching in the 21st century, give some deliberate thought to where the learning actually takes place: the brain. What goes on in there is nothing short of awesome and inspiring. Or as Emily Dickinson reminds us,

The Brain — is wider than the Sky —
For — put them side by side —
The one the other will contain
With ease — and You — beside —

The Brain is deeper than the sea —
For — hold them — Blue to Blue —
The one the other will absorb —
As Sponges — Buckets — do —

The Brain is just the weight of God —
For — Heft them — Pound for Pound —
And they will differ — if they do —
As Syllable from Sound —

                                         [poem #632J/598Fr]

TCC Faculty Chairs:
Brighton Campus
Amy Burtner (English/Philosophy) <>

Damon City Campus
Joe Sturnick (Law/Criminal Justice) <>

Amy Burtner
Teaching and Creativity Center