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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is Your Mindset?

I love TED talks. And, of course, I have my favorites. And I have several favorites that I like sharing with my classes if a lesson finishes early. And one of them is Angela Lee Duckworth: The Key to Success? Grit.

This lead me to Carol S. Dweck and Mindset Works and Brainology. I spent a long time perusing this site. I wish I could get my students into the growth mindset. Especially with my AP students there is a big trend to say, “I do better when I don’t study.” And I thought about that a lot when I was reading through the Mindset Works material.

Most simply the summary is that there are two mindsets: fixed and growth.  People with a fixed mindset view intelligence as fixed.  The goal is to appear to be smart in front of their peers, that effort does not make a difference and if they fail they are not "good at <insert subject>."   People with a growth mindset view see intelligence as a process, something to be developed with practice, that if they fail they are challenged and motivated to do better and try harder in the future.   Imagine the differences in your classroom if you had a room full of students with a this growth mindset.  

On the Mindset site I found a link to another TED talk: The Power of Belief - Mindset and Success: Eduardo Briceno 

Unfortunately, most of my students are not there.  This is what I see: they think their intelligence is fixed and it is easier to give themselves an out and not prepare, than to prepare and feel like they tried and failed.  These concepts also come to mind when they don’t seem to put forth the necessary effort and when they are not willing to focus on the learning as a process instead of the grades. All students need to be developing their intelligence, and viewing their learning as a process and skill to be developed.  

How do you promote learning as a process?  How do you help to keep your students motivated for end of the year tests?

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