Why Focusing On Adult Learning Builds A School Culture Where Students Thrive

January 27, 2020
growth culture

Published by KQED News

Pivot Learning’s work with Monterey Peninsula Unified School District to develop a culture of adult learning was recently featured in KQED’s Mindshift. Harvard researchers have been studying the impact of what they call a “growth culture” on the effectiveness and productivity of companies. Now, they’re expanding that work into schools as a way to create powerful learning environments for students.

“The key thing is how do we make sure this connects with the mission critical work the schools are already doing? This can’t be extra,” said Robert Curtis, vice president of education programs at Pivot Learning.

Curtis understands that teachers and schools already have too many demands on their time. For a growth culture to take hold and actually change how adult learning in the district happens, it can’t be extra work. Instead, Curtis and others encouraged the four schools and one district department who volunteered to participate in the study to consider this a way to move forward on the issues that are already central to them.

“We’re trying to build the internal capacity for them to learn together and create a safe space for leaders to try things out,” Curtis said.

Pivot Learning chose Monterey for this study because it’s superintendent PK Diffenbaugh went through the Harvard leadership training and already believes in the power of growth culture. He was looking for ways to better support his staff to continue their learning journey, convinced by research that shows higher teacher satisfaction, retention and success when a school has a strong adult learning culture.

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