A Growth Mindset is Key to a Culture of Learning: A Case Study of Barnert Temple

From Section:
Education & Administration
Jan. 08, 2013
January 8, 2013

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


Wendy Grinberg shares some of her findings about the "growth mindset" that powers a culture of ongoing learning at Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.


She writes:

"In order to learn more about Barnert Temple’s culture and approach to learning, I interviewed eight people in the leadership, including both Rabbi Elyse Frishman and Rabbi Rachel Steiner and the Director of Lifelong Learning Sara Losch. The five volunteer leaders I interviewed (three women and two men) all are part of a self-study in the area of education. This group has been convened in order to look at trends in Jewish education as well as patterns and challenges of Barnert’s education offerings and then make recommendations for improvement. Through my interviews, I found that the growth mindset pervades their work and that this approach has a ripple effect through the congregation.


By highlighting the characteristics at this growth mindset congregation, I hope to show how other organizations can adopt this approach, becoming learning communities with an eye towards evolving and improving."

The main growth mindset characteristics found at Barnert Temple:

  • Group process, not groupthink
  • Diverse voices
  • The senior leadership sets the tone
  • Mistakes are learning opportunities
  • Change is the only constant
  • Learning is ongoing and for everyone

She concludes:

"The good news about a growth mindset is that anyone can learn it. You can change your mindset, and you can change your school or organization to be a place that encourages a growth mindset. To return to our ancient rabbis, while Shammai may have been more accurate to insist that the Chanukah lights diminish, Hillel embraced the challenge and potential of a new reality. Each Chanukah we broadcast the message of the growth mindset: embrace change, learn from challenges, and light increases."


Read her entire article at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Feb. 07, 2017
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