In this week’s Parshah, we see that Pharaoh repeats a pattern following every plague: he appeals to Moshe to demand that they stop but then changes his mind about releasing the Bnei Yisrael: he makes his heart ‘heavy’. Every time that the suffering and fear engendered by the plagues is removed, Pharaoh returns to his previous obstinate behaviour.
The meforshim discuss the connotations of the phrase: ‘making the heart heavy’. Heavy objects are difficult to move and they take a massive force in order to topple them. Once the force is eliminated, the object will come to rest. The plagues were a massive force which moved Pharaoh; once the plague ended, he was unable to alter his ingrained behaviours and world view. We need to really look at ourselves to see if there may be a small part of this characteristic in each of us. Do we sometimes become so attached to our own views and perspectives that we can be dismissive of evidence that challenges our fixed opinions? Do we sometimes exhibit fixed patterns of behaviour which can seem unrealistic and unreliable?
As part of the teachers’ continuing professional development, we have been looking in close detail at the idea of shifting these ‘fixed mindsets’ in the students with a view to making them more positive about their capabilities and their learning. Research shows how important the student mindset is when we think about attainment and their achievements; we all need to think about what we can achieve, not all the things that we feel we cannot do. We are very hopeful that, by focusing on this more forensically, we will start to see more positive and successful learners at Hasmonean. We will keep you updated about the progress of this project as it develops.
Wishing you a peaceful Shabbos,
Mrs D Lebrett