A ChangeMaker is anyone who chooses to take creative action to solve a systemic problem for impact. As students embrace and utilize the ChangeMaker Mindsets™ in their learning experiences, they are more readily able to achieve deeper learning and are encouraged to think about social change and widespread impact.
These mindsets inspire adaptive capacities in students to grow and thrive even as they face uncertainties, challenges, and ambiguity in today’s complex, rapidly changing world. As many educators are seeking to incorporate social entrepreneurship into their school programming whether on campus or virtual, determining common mindsets is a critical place to start.
Lead with Empathy is defined as the ability to take someone else’s perspective and place yourself in their position while understanding and sharing their feelings. The mindset of Lead with Empathy asks a critical question: How can I listen well with a heart for understanding for others and their feelings? Empathy is foundational to creating solutions and purposeful prototypes that effectively meet the needs of others in impactful ways. Leading with Empathy allows students to show compassion for human trials when problem-solving and creating those solutions.
The mindset of Embrace Exploration asks a critical question: How can I cultivate a curious inquiry-based approach to seeing and understanding the world? Helping students to explore gives them the opportunity to challenge the assumptions in their lives and the judgments and labels of others giving them the conscious choice to deny the “boxes” assigned by others. The strengthening of exploration muscles will increase the likelihood that students will become committed to impactful work and have the drive for understanding systems in their entirety.
Pivoting with Perseverance is beautiful in how it can change one’s position, strategy, and trajectory, but it does not ever distract from one’s overall purpose. The mindset of Pivot with Perseverance asks a critical question: How can I embrace the challenge and opportunity life brings? The power of pivoting while using perseverance allows words, actions, thoughts, and attitudes to work together for good.
Students often find themselves creating solutions to problems and the outcome is not what they thought it would be as they work independently or collaboratively through a process. Knowing how and when to Pivot with Perseverance is critical as oftentimes students realize they were solving the wrong problem all along.
Utilizing a win-win approach to solutions and decision making can help two sets of needs to be integrated. The mindset of Create a Win/Win Solution asks a critical question: How can I seek to understand situations so that a mutually beneficial solution can be developed when possible? The win/win frame of mind and heart constantly seeks cooperation and reciprocity for all human interactions.
Equipping students with this mindset will only benefit them as they address the underlying needs of multiple people so they can prototype solutions that acknowledge and value those needs, rather than denying or avoiding them. Even when solutions do not meet every outcome for all involved, the person or group feels quite differently about the outcome and the process when this mindset is embraced from the start.
Grow Through Failure is a mindset that can be nurtured and cultivated to lead students to become critical thinkers, tenacious problem-solvers, and empathetic collaborators. This mindset asks a critical question: How can I reframe failure as a tool for learning and growing? Celebrating resilience, learning, and growth is an important aspect of establishing strong social entrepreneurship programming.
A person often learns the most from taking risks and choosing to Grow through Failure. The opportunity awaits to model this mindset for students and create safety for them in the classroom that will allow them to take risks, ideate without limits, and dream big for maximum impact.
Everyone can be a ChangeMaker in this world if ideation is shared with others for the greatest impact. The mindset of Collaborate and Connect asks two critical questions: How can I share what I have learned in the most meaningful way? Who can I share with? As we seek to inspire a generation of students to become system change leaders versus social business founders this mindset is essential as we need each other now more than ever. This mindset allows teachers to encourage students to be good stewards of what they have been given by serving, sharing, and contributing their ideas for social change and widespread impact.
When a school or classroom establishes and utilizes a common set of mindsets, a foundation is laid to create and sustain cultures of innovation where students are a part of deep learning experiences that lead to social change and widespread impact. Might you consider trying the ChangeMaker Mindsets™ if your school or district has not adopted any? (they are free)