Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Growth Mindset: The importance of "YET"!

"Growth Mindset" is a buzz phrase that we are hearing everywhere these days--in the business world and in our schools.  The research that is happening is pretty exciting--and Carol Dweck out of Stanford is doing some amazing things.  If you haven't taken the time to read about her work--or to watch some of her many short videos, I strongly encourage you to do so!  The information being learned about how students learn, about the "affective" side of learning, the role of praise, and many other critical components of our teaching world is growing exponentially.  We can start to take some steps to implement this new research now!  

First of all...take a little listen to what Dweck has to say ( I posted some videos below), and see if you don't agree that we, as teachers, can take to nurture a growth mindset in our students.  She talks about mindset...about being careful about how we praise children, and how we need to value effort more than results.

What is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset?  People who have a fixed mindset truly believe that they are pre-programmed for a certain level of success.  "I'm a terrible speller."  or "My whole family is bad at math."  You've heard this--maybe you've even said them!  The simple truth is, scientists have learned that students CAN improve performance--and their attitudes and mindsets can actually change their brains in a way that allows for better learning.  Telling students this gives them so much power!

As a class, we started this year really digging into this topic and sharing some short videos and books that provided my 4th graders with some evidence of the brain science--written right at their level.  In fact, we did a number of activities from the "Week of Inspirational Math" out of Stanford which is all about teaching students about a growth mindset.  Want to check it out?  CLICK HERE!  It wou.ld be a great thing to do at ANY point in the year.

To really put my students in positions to work on this "growth mindset", we did all sorts of cooperative challenges...we worked to solve math problems with many answers...we stacked Oreos for this online data project...we worked on jigsaw puzzles in teams...we did STEM challenges--all with the intent of putting students in positions to practice using the language of a growth mindset.  We didn't allow...

This is too hard.
I can't do it.
I'm not smart enough.

Nope.  Simply not allowed.  I can't do it YET is allowed--and then we work toward the "YET"!
So I wanted to make sure my students had the "language" needed to be able to work on this growth mindset--they needed the words to say to replace the fixed mindset phrases they had grown accustomed too. Similarly...we looked at phrases that we might have heard people say before and talked about how they either represented a "not yet" mindset--or one that was fixed and shut down learning.

Want to try some of these activities with your OWN students?  Just grab this resource and give it a try!
Interested in watching a little more of the research behind this movement?  These two videos are fantastic--so grab a can of Pringles and settle in!


(Here is the book "Mindset" if you want to read even more...it's a GREAT, easy to read book!)




Follow me on...
Instagram @Fourthgradestudio
Twitter @FourthGrStudio