You know how you browse the internet while mindlessly watching something on T.V. Well one day I happened upon a video. That video really caught my interest. I just couldn't shake some of the things the lady said. That video led me on an extensive internet search. I just had to find out more. That video then led me to a book. And eventually led me to a change in my thinking about my students, my teaching, and myself.
The woman speaking was Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. And the title of the video was "The Power of Yet". She was teaching on mindsets - the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset. And what she was saying shook me to the roots of my being. No joke. It was like a classic AHAAAAA! moment. To summarize: fixed mindsets lead to failure and growth mindsets lead to success. Even briefer (use your best caveman voice)- fixed mindset "bad" and growth mindset "good". When I reflected upon myself, I realized I had a mixture of both mindsets. In some areas of my life, the growth mindset is absolutely embedded in my way of thinking. But in other areas, the fixed mindset ruled.
Here is a graph to help give you the basics of each mindset.
I couldn't help but connect what I was learning about mindsets with my Christian beliefs. It actually fits right in with God's way of thinking. The word is filled with people that were chosen to become more than what was expected of them. Examples are David, Gideon, Joseph, Esther, Ruth, Peter, and Paul. God helped each of them rise above their circumstances of birth. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." My question is, "Why have I not been applying this to every area of my life?"
I also started thinking about my students and their mindsets. I see so many students that fall into that fixed mindset category. They give up so easily. They don't try new things. They back away from challenges. How can I help them?
I came up with a plan- start the year off training my students in the growth mindset. I plan to teach my class about each mindset and why we need to have the growth mindset. I also want to instruct them in what I feel are the "tenets" of a growth mindset.
Of course I created a product to help!
Growing a Healthy Classroom Mindset is designed to cover at least 20 days of instruction. Teachers introduce the basic knowledge concerning mindsets and brain research. They then present a growth mindset statement each day. Discuss the statement and what it means. As each statement is covered, add the accompanying poster to a bulletin board to create an inspiring display that can be referred to throughout the year. Introduce concepts with a PowerPoint, posters, and student handouts.
Growing a Healthy Classroom Mindset!
If you would like to know more, here are a couple of links to articles about Dweck's research and book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Educational Leadership: The Perils and promises of Praise
Scientific American: The Secret to Raising Smart Kids