Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

Carol Dweck- the woman, the myth, the legend!

Carol had some powerful messages about my own mindset. She challenged teachers to consider this. I have begun to notice my own mindset much more over the last 12 months and I think, after Carol’s talk today, I am far less filled with growth mindset then I like to think I am. I praise my own and students’ effort when the strategy being used and the learning being attained is vital. Some really honest reflection and evaluation to be done in the coming weeks and months.

Like Ken, I apologise in advance with the notes approach to this post.

We need to keep students wide-eyed and eager to learn.

Fixed mindset- squashes their learning.

Growth Mindset- They don’t believe everyone has the same talents but they do believe everyone has the capacity to grow and develop their talents.

She shares some studies where growth mindset students consistently outperformed those with fixed mindsets.

Teaching a growth mindset stokes students’ motivation and achievement.

‘You can grow your own intelligence’- introduce learners to articles that will teach them about these things.

Is it ever too late? It’s never too late.

Online growth mindset activities were used to consider impact.

Those in community colleges profited substantially from growth mindset interventions.

Remedial maths classes- the dropout rate was cut in half.

How does learning a belief and mindset stoke students’ motivation in this way?

We all have the two mindsets within us- it’s a battle.

  • Homer Simpson is fixed
  • Albert Einstein is growth

Fixed= I want to look smart- and never look dumb

Growth= I want to get smarter and I am curious

Fixed= Keep calm and focus on being worried

Growth= Keep calm and focus on learning

Fixed= it should come naturally- without hard work, strategies or help

Growth= process is the key to success

Fixed= it means I’m dumb- give up

Growth= it’s about learning- fight through the confusion

Some research by Shroder and others looked into brains as students made mistakes

Growth= on fire, focusing on the mistake and what can be learned from it

Fixed= detecting the error and running from it as quickly as possible

It’s not just effort but strategies, as well as help, support and guidance of others.

Stop using:

‘Keep trying and you’ll get it’ – If they don’t, they’ll think they’re dumb.

We should be using:

‘What strategies have you used? What will you try next?’

The ultimate value is learning and improving. It’s not just about effort.

Let’s not recreate the self-esteem movement as we’ll be in danger of losing sight of learning.

Let’s not use effort as a feel good thing but as something to ignite learning.

Khan Academy research

Some got effort encouragement at the top of the page- things like, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try again.’ These had a worse effect than the learners not getting any statement.

Others got true growth mindset statements- these were what worked. These statements related to effort and practice being tied to growth and the brain.

It had a lasting effect- these students answered more questions and kept going beyond others.

Always link the process to the students’ improvement

To enhance our teaching of a growth mindset, there has to be a journey for us as teachers too.

False Growth Mindset had begun spreading through Australia and then Carol began to see it in the US.

Teachers see a choice:

The godmother

The wicked witch

If they liked children and were nice to them then they said they had a growth mindset but they were announcing an identity. They were not taking a journey.

Talking the talk but not walking the walk is not beneficial for students.

Only when feedback advanced students’ conceptual understanding and are given a chance to revisit their work and improve it, did students develop a growth mindset.

The same thing is found with parents acting out a growth mindset- if their child isn’t doing well then it’s seen as a failure- they show concern and fear. This is limiting to the child also.

There was a classroom where students were vying with the teacher’s attention to learn from their mistakes. This is the kind of culture we need to create.

You can’t just banish a fixed mindset- you have to take a journey.

The first step in this journey is to acknowledge that we’re all a mixture. We need to get in touch with these parts of us before we can truly embrace a growth mindset.

Watch for fixed mindset triggers- monitor it and own it.

Accept these people within us. Talk to each other about it and after a while, we’ll be ready to make that journey.

When we see a student struggling or confused, someone getting it really quickly, some not listening- do we judge them? Do we think they’re smart/not? Do we think they’re badly behaved/not?

The growth mindset teachers relish the opportunity to work with difficult students because they say, ‘every student has something to teach me’.

  • Teach the learners about the brain
  • Don’t preach growth mindset- don’t make them feel like you have a problem and I have an answer for you. Look at their heroes. Let them tutor younger kids. Let them elect to adopt that growth mindset for themselves.
  • Link it to the child’s larger goals in life. Grow your brain muscle, not to become smarter but to reach your goals. Link it to a higher purpose/mission/contribution.

This podcast; a recording of two Wellington College students interviewing Carol Dweck, adds even more to her messages on the day.

A thought, change my ‘wall of fame’ into a ‘wall of learning’ so that we can celebrate mistakes and learning along the way!

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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