Use this area to write your thoughts after each of the weeks' reading assignments. Remember, the intent is to have an online conversation and respond to others' thoughts as well as writing your own.
Mindset has given me a lot to think about in terms of how the development of the human mind is measured and evaluated. There is so much to consider such as how different minds are at birth due to genealogy and how differently minds can develop based on experiences. Then there's even more to think about when it comes to evaluate learning.I found the part about a test scores being forever to be such a hot topic right now with all of the NY state assessments and how it is taking a away from meaningful student learning. Personally I think that the politicians up in Albany should read the books required for this class!
Dweck introduces the idea of two vastly different mindsets. A fixed mindset instills in students, and adults, the need to prove their ability and worth at all times. The concept of a fixed mindset states that each person only has a certain amount of intelligence, moral, personality, and every other quality that will never change. This view can contribute to child anxiety, low self-esteem, and many other negative physiological issues. I really agree with what Jennifer said about the NYS state assessments' effect on student learning. Standardized testing reinforces the fixed mindset because so much pressure is placed on the students’ scores. Each child becomes is a score and each teacher becomes is a class of scores. Standardized testing does not measure the progress of students nor does it nurture the growing mind of a child. A growth mindset is much more realistic for the student and for the teacher. In the growth mindset, the student can develop intelligence and many other qualities through their education, experiences, and discoveries. This mindset encourages students to grow, learn, and apply their skills. The state/nation should be more concerned with developing students’ skills in a growth mindset rather than testing their content knowledge on standardized tests, which only empathizes the fixed mindset.
@Jennifer- I agree. In addition, I like how the authors make us understand that our mindset is definitely something that is developed and not fixated. She also seams to gear towards a view of embracing failure as a learning tool. She states "growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort (Dweck, pg 7, 2006)". I truly admire the author and this book already.
Chapter three and four of this book really shed light on the effect different mindsets can have on accomplishments, self-esteem, relationships, and one’s overall life. Dweck highlighted specific events and people in history, sports, and art, some with a fixed mindset and others with a growth mindset. In every situation, even though the person with the fixed mindset may have succeeded on pure talent in the beginning, they ultimately failed. The people mentioned with the growth mindset not only initially succeeded but continued to prosper in their field and their lives in general. Individuals with a fixed mindset see any type of failure as the ‘end all be all’ and something they cannot even process, let alone bounce back from. These individuals see practice and putting in effort as admitting a weakness in their skills/smarts. Even though these individuals may make it to the top from their talent alone, they do not stay at the top because they do not have the ability to grow and improve. On the other hand, individuals with a growth mindset, take failure as motivation. They see every failure as an opportunity to do better, work harder, and learn from their mistakes. Even when growth mindset individuals reach the top, they continue working to better themselves and stay on top. Not only are growth mindset people good motivators for themselves but they are also team players. They can enjoy a game solely on the fact that they did the best they could do and worked well with their team. These individuals consider themselves a PART of the team and not THE team. It is so important to understand and unleash all of the potential your students and athletes have. This message really hit home for me and will definitely aid me in being a better teacher, coach, and version of myself.
I like the part of your responce where you said "These individuals see practice and putting in effort as admitting a weakness in their skills/smarts." I think that is a really good way to express the way someone with a fixed mindset can put harsh limits on themselves by believing they can not achieve something before attempting to achieve it. I thought it was great a Dweck used sports to help get this point accross as well, and trying to find athletes that succeed only because they have a natural ability to do so. Especially when Dweck discusses Babe Ruth and how others said he shouldn't bother with batting practice because he was a pitcher. As if he couldn't be a good batter of he was already a good pitcher. Babe Ruth proves the success of a growth mindset by working hard and practicing to achieve what he wanted to achieve despite what others believed he was capable of in the early stages of his career.
After reading chapters 3 & 4 I have come to really like Dweck's book. (I can't say that for many college textbooks). I found his methods of teaching and expressing topics to be very interesting and enlightening. What I enjoyed most about these chapters, particularly chapter 4 is his natural ability to connect his thoughts to real life experiences and people that we all can make clear connections too. I think he demonstrates an very important teaching styles by writing this way. As an elementary educator I am always trying to make real world connections for my students so that they have a better understanding of our lessons. Dweck's use of celebrates, professional ball players and movies to make his readings more easy to connect and understand.
In chapter 3 Dweck spoke about an interesting theory about growth mindset and fixed mindset. While reading about these mindsets I was able to evaluate myself through my school age years and what type of student I was and had become. I remember all through out late elementary school, middle school, high school and even my first year of college, math was an absolute struggle for me. Now that I think back, I was intimidated by math and formed a fixed mindset about the entire subject. Math quickly became a irritation, constant fights with my parents and low test grades. When college came I had to take a general ed. math course and again I struggled. It wasn't until I had to take a methods math course for my major did I realize that I needed to fix my attitude towards it before I moved on any further. I lined myself up with tutors and had friends help me and sure enough my math did improve and is now tolerable.
The passage Marva Collins in chapter 3 was also very interesting to me. As I read it I was able to visual those teachers he spoke about and their methods of teaching even in the school I substitute in. Just today I spent my day in two different Kindergarten classes and had to do the same writing lesson with both the classes. The morning class, struggled very much and was having difficulty spelling and even creating sentences. The students constantly asking how to spell words and what sentences to write. Then I got to the second class and I observed them writing several full sentences with capitalization and punctuation. They students were even trying to sound out words and had them spelled decently. Made me realize that these two teachers, same grade, same lesson has completely different teaching styles. One strives to figure out how she can teach her students to make them better writers and the other teaches them how to write.
I agree with you that this is a great read because of all of the connection Dweck makes to things we experience in every day life. All of the examples she gives are really helpful to understanding her concepts, especially the examples that include iconic people such as Thomas Edison or Babe Ruth. Although I think my favorite example is the college student who worked so hard to solve an unsolved math problem because he thought it was homework! What a great example of mind growth, definitely know mental capactiy limits there!
Its funny you bring up these examples Jennifer because that stuck out to me too. I totally pictured Thomas Edison in a dark room, all alone, with 75 empty coffee cups all over the place and was shocked to read that he worked as a part of an elaborate team.
I also agree with Colleen in respect to created real like connections between our lessons and our students. Mindset can really play an important role is how much our students can or are willing to accept. It is important that we understand the differences between mindsets and are able to idenfity which students have fixed and which have growth. This will allow us to better teach and modify when necessary.
Examining the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset in relation to achievement and success has been very interesting to me because I can relate to so many of the examples that Dweck discusses. In my own experiences as a student through out grade school and beyond, I was happy to learn that I have always been one of the growth mindset. I was always interested in learning things to learn them and not just for the sake of the upcoming test. Although, I knew I could not do well on a test by just memorizing and would need to really understand what I was doing to do well. I also have always believed that I could learn anything as good as any one else good if I worked really hard to. I was always aware, however, that many other students were able to learn things just as well with out needing to put in nearly as much effort. I remember trying to tutor some of my peers in math and showing them over and over what to do, and they just could not learn it. Now I understand that they couldn't learn it because of having a fixed mindset. I can remember them saying "I'm just not good in math."
I, as an art teacher, ofcourse loved the portion in Dweck's book about the misconception that art is a gift from God and you either have the talent or you don't. I am constantly trying to educate my students that anyone can be a great artist if they want to be, and have even discussed Jackson Pollock when trying to prove my point. Although everyone starts out with different life experiences or abilities, everyone can achieve artistic abilities if they keep believing they can improve and practice. I have achieved great success with my students by teaching them how to look at things and convincing them that anyone can be a great artist if they can practice.
I agree with you Jennifer. I believe everyone has the potential to do anything if they put forth effort and practice. There are motivational signs all over the middle school I work at. I actually read one recently that said “Talent gets you to the top but character keeps you there.” I always took that as talent can push you up but you need to be a good person to stay there. While this may be true, I am looking at this quote differently now. Character is not just categorized by being nice to people and being honest. Character is also your effort and your determination and your care for yourself. Sure, talent can definitely bring you place but if you have a fixed mindset as soon as the task or work becomes hard you shut down. People with a fixed mindset will not practice or try difficult things because there is a chance they may fail. However, people with the growth mindset will try many new things and realize that failure does not mean incompetence. Instead, failure is a chance to try again and fix one’s mistakes. I think this is an important quote that encourages one to work to their full potential.
I enjoyed chapter 3 & 4. I especially enjoyed how Dweck explained the difference between fixated mindset and growth mindset. I can't wait for her to explain in more depth the necessary steps to deviate away from being a fixated mindset. Its funny how our perception is our reality. Growing up as a first generation Haitian American, failure was not an option. My family was always fixated on being better off and education was always the route to take. My father worked crazy hours and sacrificed a lot to put us in excelling schools. However, I was never a competitive individual and that just added on to my pressure . It was always my dream to give my parents more than they struggled to give me to make up for their sacrifices. Although it is still my goal to give back, my mindset definitely can limit me or help me to expand. Dweck definitely opened my mind in understanding how our mindset and drive can set us apart-hence Thomas Edison.
After reading Chapter 3 and 4, I started analyzing myself to see if I have fixed mindset or a growth mindset. I realized that I have both and it all depends of the area. This book is teaching me that I can change my fixed mindset on these areas and a change of mind is possible. I like the examples that this book mentions on each area. It helps me to understand the benefits that a growth mindset brings to a person’s life. I like Mrs. Beer growth minded message to their students. She compares her student’s learning to a horse race and shows them with visuals that a horse is like a brain. Every time they learn the horse moves towards the end line. The message that everyone can learn and that it all depends on the dedication each student it’s so true. I think messages like this can help students connect themselves to schooling and I will also add in there that we can learn and have fun at the same time.
I thought that praising my children in their abilities was a way to give them confidence and encourage but after reading the “The danger of praise and positive labels” made me rethink of this. I can’t wait to read the alternatives ways that the author will explain in later chapters.
It’s encouraging to hear that there are no “natural geniuses”. This reminds me when I was in high school; I had a hard time with physics. I used to think that my friends were “smarter” than me because they had better grades than me in physics. I found encouraging reading the example of Mozart. He was not born a genius and that he was successful because he was dedicated and a hard worker. Examples like this might had motivated me back then.
I agree that I am having difficulty determining whether or not I have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Many time when I am reading scenarios in the text I find myself saying "well I would do that, but, I would also do that." It really does depend on the situation that is present and the current internal and external factors that determind your mindset. I do not think it is black and white.
I definitely agree with Cinthina and Nicole. Even after reading this book, I have a lot of trouble deciding if I have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. I think it depends on the situation. For example, I still do not think I am a 'math' person. I still stand firmly on the fact that I am not good at math and I most likely never will be. I think this also has to do with my place in life. Right now, I will never have to take another math class in my life- nor do I feel that I will use math other than the necessary math functions in everyday life (addition, subtraction, multiplication- aka the calculate on my cell phone). However, I am sure if I changed my mindset to a growth mindset and really put forth effort into learning/mastering math I could... not that I will chose to. However, in other aspects of my life, I feel that I exhibit a growth mindset. Take basketball for example, not that I believe I will ever professionally or competitively play basketball it has been something I have been working on for a while. As a Physical Education teacher, I think it is necessary to be versatile in all sports so I don't look incompetent in front of my classes. I never thought I was bad at basketball or too short to play, I just knew I never put in enough effort. However, now that I am working on my skills and forms on my off-periods or with my brother at home, I have been improving. I think it's important that I focus on my form rather than the fact that I make the basket or not. I know that I can get better and better the harder I work. Not making a basket does not discourage me, it just makes me focus more on my form and work harder for the next shot. In turn, making a basketball does not make me think I can compete in the NBA- it just shows me that my work is paying off and I should continue working to become even more skilled. I know math and basketball are silly things in the scheme of life but these are two examples of how I exhibit a fixed and a growth mindset about different situations.
After reading Mindset this weekend I have to say that I learned a lot from the chapter on relationships. I Think she gives alot of examples of do's and don't of relationships. This chapter should be required for most man before trying to enter a serious relationship (no offense men). It was interesting to hear peoples horror stories and love stories and how their relationships grew to a successful marriage or burned to pieces and fell apart. Being that I am young and newly engaged I can be susceptible to some of these traits. More times than not I do usually find myself agreeing with his notions. This is only because he is in the Army and we are very limited with our options and schedules. I usually am not always compliant with him and his suggesting but when its related to living and event planning agreeing is my only option. the Army is so regimented and orders need to be followed it quickly becomes frustrating to the both of us.
The chapter on adolescents was very interesting and sparked something inside me that brought me back to high school. My mindset in high school was VERY different than it is now (as it should be). I remember telling myself that I was just stupid and I physically could not do the work when clearly that was not the case. I was a perfect candidate for the low-effort syndrome without a doubt. I was more worried about my friends than T was school. It wasnt "cool" to do well in school; it was "cool" to skip class and text my friends and be silly. I did what I had to do to get decent grades and that was enough for me.
My college transition wasnt as difficult as the author describes here though (for someone who clearly seemed to have a fixed mindset). I was given more freedom and, although there was more work, it was work that I could do at home on my own time. My mindset changed when I got a D in my first and only class. I knew that I needed to step up and get my act together if I ever wanted to amount to anything. I am a true believer in being able to change your mindset but only you can do that for yourself. This book has really opened my eyes to the reality of how your mindset affects your attitude towards everything.
After reading the chapter on adolscents I realized that it related to myseld in so many ways. In high school I definitely had a fixed mind set and was a true candidate of the low-effort syndrome. I was more concerned with my friends than I was school work. It wasn't "cool" to get good grades; it was "cool" to skip class and hang out with your friends. I did what I had to do to get decent grades so my parents would be happy and that was it. Without that push (my parents) I probably would not have graduate from high school.
My tranisition to college wasn't as bad as the author would have expected it to be for a child like me. I was given more freedom and, although there was more work, it was work that i was able to do at home and on my own time. My mindset changed when I received a D in my first (and only ;p) class. I knew I needed to get my act together if I wanted to amount to anything. This chapter would be a great reference for parents of teenagers because it shows how children need to do things on their owna nd hopefully, once they mature, their mindset will change. I am a firm believer in this idea mostly because I went through it. I am now working full time, going to school full time and have a 4.0 average. When you make the change and see positive results it feels good and is something you strive to accomplish for the rest of your life.
I thought this chapter on achievement was enlightening because it gives a lot of great insight on growth mindset. According to what I read, adolescents are afraid to try hard not only because they are worried that aren't going to look cool but also because they are afraid of failure. It also away for adolescents to assert their independence and escape judgment. As a future teacher it is important to remember this it is our job to motivate students and keep them interested in learning. We also have to let adolescents know that we are here to help them and not pass judgments on them. We need to make them feel that safe to try and work hard. If they aren't successful they need to know it is okay and that as their teachers we are here to support and help them.
Chapters 5&6 of mindset have to be inspired me to be successful in both my career and relationships. Dweck emphasizes ones ability to grow through adversity and challenges. In chapter 5 the business men who continued to question and make their companies better where the ones who thrived. The business men who experienced success and did not try to better their corporations where the ones who ultimately went out of business.
Although relationships and business can be to very different subject areas, similar themes carried out in both chapters. I really enjoyed the relationship chapter. The couples that helped each other to grow and become better people where the ones that ended up staying together, rather than the couples who expected each other to be perfect. Or the couples that realized that they may have different opinions from each other. It also spoke about rejection. People either rose from their failures or wallowed in them. Experiencing bitterness and a desire for revenge. However the people who chose to rise from their failures were able to learn about what they did and did not want in a relationship and ultimately ended up finding what they wanted. A story that resonated with me was the bride that got left at the alter. I'd like to think of myself as someone who has a growth mindset but I don't know if I would have been able to show the courage that she did. She put on a black party dress, went to her reception and partied with her family and friends instead of running away and being embarrassed. In the end she ended up getting married to someone who was better suited for her. Although this could have been damaging to anyone's psyche she chose to grow from it.
I agree that the bride who partied after being left at the alter is a great example of the benefits of having a fixed mindset. She did not allow the rejection to give herself a fixed mindset that she was unlovable or that there was something wrong with her to make her fiance leave her. She recognized that she could grow from the experience and make her life better.
Chapter 5 and 6 were the two chapters that I found the most interesting chapters of the book and the chapters I felt that I could connect to most. Dweck outlines how a fixed mindset can negatively affect ones work ethic, self-esteem, career, and relationships. I find it so interesting that people with fixed mindsets do not find it necessary to better themselves by trial and error experiments, studying, or admitting their mistakes. This in turn can hurt themselves and those around them. In the section about businesses and CEOs, businesspeople with fixed mindsets only like to use their strengths and do not seem to think about the future- they just look for instant gratification and recognition. Even when their business is failing, these people only look to better themselves, not fix the company. However, people with growth mindsets look to fill their companies with people who have a passion to learn and growth with the company rather than just talented people. They are not afraid of someone being smarter than them or better at a skill than they are. This, in turn, allows the company to growth and shares the accomplishments and achievements with all employees, not just the CEO. I also enjoyed the section on relationships. I think too many times in relationships, one person (or even both people) try to be the superior one. This can cause many issues in the short-term and long-term future. It is important to understand that a person and a relationship can grow. It is extremely important to have a growth mindset in every aspect of life in order to be successful and happy.
In chapters five and six of "Mindset," Dweck continues to point out the positive aspects of a growth mindset compared to a fixed mindset, using the examples of the business world and in relationships. In the business world Dweck compares the success of several different coprorations based on the mindset of its leaders. In the fixed mindset CEO's the leader often saw themselves as a perfect genious with no need to learn or grow. They expected all other workers to just follow their lead and their orders because they saw themselves as superior. The growth mindset leaders would values to development and contributions of its workers and would constantly question workers on how things can be made better. It was always the growth mindset learders that were unltimately more successful. When looking at different kinds of relationships a growth mindset was also the better mindset to have. In a love relationship, for example, a partner in a fixed mindset has a set idea of who they are, who there partner is, and how the relationship should be. We things don't go exactly right or the partners disagree the fixed mindset views the relationship as a failure. A growth mindset however believes that a relationship needs to be worked at and partners are able to learn how to deal with each others differences and learn from them. Dweck also considers relationships between students, specifically bullies. Bullies are often considered to have a fixed mindset because they view themselves as superior, just like the unsuccessful CEO's. A victem of bullying with a fixed mindset can be extremely dangerous because when they are bullying they can't undetstand why a bully might do the things they do, they only see the bully as a bully and want nothing but to seek revenge. I thought the tips Dweck gives for educators to help students develop a growth mindset in their relationships to be very insightful. I think it's important for students to be able to put themselves in other students shoes to understand why they may do the things they do.
I found chapter 5 and chapter 6 very interesting. I like the examples that Dweck gave on both chapters. In chapter 5, the author gave examples of different companies mindsets and why of their successes or failures. I like the comparison's of a fixed mindset CEO and grow mindset CEO. This reminded me on my previous job. I remember that as soon as the owner's son graduated from the university he started to work in the warehouse of the company. Then he went to several departments and after 6 years he became the head of one department. After reading this chapter, I learned that the company's owner had a grow mindset and wanted his son to experience and learn from the people of each department.
In chapter 6, I like the great example of a growth mindset of the girl that was stood at the altar and went to her wedding party and dance "I will survive". Instead of feeling humiliated and want revenge she decided to take it as an experience. I agree that "the whole point of a marriage is to encourage your partner's development and have then encourage yours". It's very easy to say it but to apply it in the real world is very hard. Specially if a couple has a different mindset.
Chapter 5 is a chapter that I can also relate to because my parents own their own business. My mom is definitely a person with a growth mindset and my dad has a fixed mindset. This causes them to disagree on certain decisions that need to be made within the company. They both, however, have the qualities that Dweck describes as a great leader in this chapter which is why their business is successful. They are both had faith and pride in their company and took on whatever obstacles they were faced with. They don't brag about their work or put others down, but rather let the quality of their work speak for itself. They are constantly trying to improve the company whether its through training a, new equipment or new machines. It makes me proud to read texts like this one and be able to relate it to the hard work and dedication that my parents have always put into their work to provide my sister and I with an amazing lifestyle!
Chapter 6 was an intriguing read. After reading the other chapters in this book it is easy to understand where the author is coming from and it all makes sense. People who have a fixed mindset when it comes to love and relationships are typically looking for a specific person. Rarely, do they find it and wind up unhappy for a majority of their lives. People who have a growth mindset find love when they least expect it. This mindset allows for spontaneous love which, in my opinion, is the best kind of love to find. This isn't to say that people with growth mindset don't have their preferences, but the essence of love is finding someone you match with in so many ways that are deeper than physical preference. I like Dweck's characteristics of the mind sets falling in love; if you have to work at it, it wasn't meant to be and problems indicate character flaws. I actually suggested this section of reading to my girlfriend who is going through a rough time with her boyfriend (he's a real jerk!). These sections are real eye openers to people with a growth mindset that are unsure of what direction they need to go in to better themselves. They are very motivating passages that explain the realistic situations with a huge hint of what should actually be done. Who would have thought, a textbook assignment would help me get my point across to a friend who I've been trying to give advice to for years!?! :)
After reading chapter 7 and 8, I found some points very interesting and enlightening that I plan to keep in mind for my teaching days. First, in chapter 7 when she talks about praise and how it can be used ineffectively. I wasn’t aware that how a teacher dictates her praise could be harmful for a child when interpret by a child. It was insightful to look at praise in a different approach and that its most important to encourage children to love challenges, engage over mistakes and to enjoy the whole process of learning. It was interesting to read this because through out my career thus farm praise was and has been a major part of my classroom management. It has been because I feel that that is how I was taught growing up and how my professors in both undergrad and graduate work have taught me to be a better educator.
Another useful statement from this reading was Isn’t Discipline Teaching? So many teachers believe that by disciplining their students is a way to teach them a lesson. It’s common to see in even parenting. Disciplining is fine both as parents and educators but if the child doesn’t understand or know why they are being disciplined and how to fix it for the next time that discipline time was useless and will occur again. Through out my observations and my own experiences I have see to many times teacher reprimand children, send them to the office or take part of free play away because the child did something wrong. In particularly, the school I sub at there’s a little boy that is continuously being disciplined. He is continuously being spoken to by his teacher, isolated from his class or sent to the assistant principal. I have not seen a teacher try to talk to him, try to understand him and why his behaviors continue to occur as they are or try to resolve the problem that’s causing him to create attention seeking behaviors.
A third interesting point I found was in chapter 8 about Brainology. This computer software sounds very interesting and useful in a classroom. Integrating technology into teaching is always giving the teacher and students advantages in their learning. It states that the Brainology is only used for middle school children, but I wonder if there is software for younger grades.
I thought that chapters 7 and 8 were very useful for both teachers and parents. Like Colleen, I was surprised to see how some forms of praise can be damaging to self-esteem. It allowed to make some direct connections to my own life experiences and help me to find some clarification as why I was so afraid of failure growing up. I also recently read a peer reviewed article on motivation. This study agreed with Dweck completely. They examined specific verses non specific forms of praise. According to the article and Dweck they both stated that praising the child about what they did to reach those goals was more effective and had more of a lasting impact, than just telling the child "good job". This is something that I feel I should work on when I am at work. I love to praise my kids when they do something well because it makes them happy and I want to build up their confidence. However now I have learned to use praise in a more meaningful and constructive manner.
Chapter 8 talks about the growth mindset as a whole and how we should use it to grow and learn rather than place judgment on ourselves and others. I feel that it gives human potential and growth the benefit of doubt. We tend to label ourselves and others by something negative that has happened. Although you may not have control over what others think or say; according to the book and something that I believe as well is that we can grow from our mistakes and continue to make ourselves better. It is also important to feel that we can grow and advocate for ourselves. For example Dweck shares a life experience where she was going to meet up with some children to go watch a movie. When she turned the corner to meet her friends she saw them leaving and she felt sad and accepted defeat rather than just running up to her friends and telling them to wait up, that she was coming. I don't know why but this story made me feel so sad, so as a teacher I want my students to not just advocate for their learning, but more importantly to advocate for themselves. Especially for special education students, I want my children to feel that they can speak up to get the help they need or know where they need to go our who to approach to get what they need because this will be something that they will need to use forever. Especially when its time to go out and get a job and be a part of the adult world. The only person who will truly be able to advocate for you is yourself. So as a teacher we need to teach confidence and independence as well as the curriculum.
In the final chapters of "Mindset," Dweck discusses how children can develop different kinds of mindsets while growing up and what can be done to help develop or change to a growth mindset. The mindset a child develops can come from any of the adults a child interacts with. A child can develop a certain kind of mindset just by the language an adult uses to praise, motiviate, or discipline. I learned that it is important to label actions or certain behaviors as opposed to labeling the child. Adults should also step in if/when they hear a child labeling themselves. If a child labels themself to be a certain way they are developing a fixed mindset and wont be able to change, adapt, and improve in the future. Its important to help others understand what a growth mindset is and why it is more benficial to have a growth mindset over a fixed minset.
I was waiting for Chapter 8, “Changing mindset”. After reading these last chapters I decided to buy this book and give them to my youth group that is graduating this year from High School. I know it will help them to get acclimated to the college life. I will also apply these growth mindset techniques with people at work. I like the example that Dweck gave about the child that feels he needs to cheat playing Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders because he can’t take the feeling of losing a game. This reminds me of my 6 year old son. He also finds his homework very easy and is bored with it. He always need to be a winner and can’t take losing a game. With this book I learned to encourage him and challenge him with homework. I will apply the example of finding ways to make homework fun and more challenging as well as asking questions on what he learned at school. This book help me so much to analyze my ,way of seeing the world and I am applying techniques to enjoy learning and to have fun doing it. I am going to see if I can find this book in Spanish because I think it can benefit members of my family that doesn't speak English.
In chapter 5, the book breaks down a how a fixated and growth mindset makes a difference between a boss and a leader. A boss always rides the staff to complete expected results but a leader creates direction and effectives ways to see ad create growth. Unfortunately, I am experiencing this change right now. My well-seasoned manager resigned not to long ago. She always was part of the team. She felt it was important to build employee moral, maintain a structure, and encourage staff to expand their mindset. However, the company I worked for because of their fixated mindset stifled her. She eventually parted ways with my company. Her replacement is the complete opposite. He delegates his assigned responsibilities and whips his whip hard. Now staff morale has drop and the structure of the house is gone. I have honestly have never been so burned out in my life. However, I learned a huge lesson. Our perception is definitely our reality. If you are fixed in your mindset that limits you as a boss, there is only room for power control.
In chapter 6, they talked about the effects of the mindsets in relationships. It is clear to understand that a fixated mindset won’t be adaptable to change. They are fixated on the perfect picture with no exception. Dweck hit the nail when she explained the two problems within a fixed mindset, which are “If you have to work at it, it wasn’t meant to be” and “Problems indicate character flaws”. There is no such thing as a perfect picture relationship. Problems will exist and people have flaws. How we communicate and accept each other allow us to grow and change. Honestly, looking for Mr. Right and Mrs. Right will only get us hurt because it’s deceiving to believe there is a perfect match. However, embracing an individual is a necessity in understanding the importance nurturing a relationship. I’m starting to think, are the high divorce rates related to the mindset of people?
In chapter 7, I was excited to read this chapter after the first paragraph. People invest time in people who invest in them. People need to be nurtured. The more you allow people to be themselves and question their surroundings will they truly be able to learn. That is why as teachers we have to think beyond the problems such as standardize testings and many more other challenges. Our true focus should be on our interactions for that will be a lasting impression on how they learn them. It is never the content of what we teach but the experience. Children results will fluctuate within in their lifespan. To think that a failed or missing assignment means they are not capable or underachievers is FIXATED. If our roll is to empower our students to grow and change for the better, then we need to understand our students will eventually be the future or a reflection of our investment in them. However, this does not only apply to us as children but also adult. Our mindset haunts us within our lifetime. Two years ago, I attempted to obtain my master ed degree in an accelerated program. This school was no different to me for I got my bachelor degree from that school. Prof. jinx haunted me. I had her in my undergrad. She was a fixated professor focused on expected results. My undergrad had uproar one day after weeks of her embarrassing my colleagues’ grammatical error with a projector in front of the class. She left upset. Fast forward to my first day of my masters, not only she remembered my name but she had an evil smirk. She literally bullied me with papers stating I would not be able to be a good teacher due to my writing skills. Desperate, I went to a writing center. They stated I was fine. I was maintaining a B average in her class but a B+ was needed to pass. I eventually dropped out but still kept those papers. I don’t remember one thing she taught me but how she treated. That rule applies to every living being on earth.
In chapter 8, Dweck summarizes how our beliefs are a catalyst to our change. Our belief can result to our happiness and misery. Those inner voices we hear can be internalized as judgments or therapeutic reasoning. Those perceptions effect our interactions in our lives daily. In addition, how we monitor and interpret what we experience can shockingly exaggerate our feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger in our lives. Especially with the rise of mental health disorders, I can definitely see where the problem lies. As human beings, we need to be taught how to reflect and be reasonable. We rely on judgments too much. As professor Whittney stated, its easier to send the “bad” student to the principal office but what can they learn from that moment when they did something wrong.
Chapter 7 was one of the more motivating chapters to read because it spoke about my mindset as a teacher which is something I can relate to. It also showed readers a view of how they should look at and deal situations from the perspective of a teacher, parent or coach. The first sentence of the subcategory, “Teachers: What makes a great teacher (or parent)” talks about how many educators believe that if they lower their standards and expectations for children that their students will flourish in many aspects. Lowering your standards doesn’t push your students to achieve the best that they can be, rather, it shows that the teacher is ‘lazy’ and is not looking out for the best interest of their students. This is not to say that the teachers’ expectations for students should be overly drastic to the point of almost being impossible. It is imperative that educators be able to assess their students’ abilities and knowledge prior to learning, create expectations based on the information received and modify and adapt their lessons to best suit their students’ needs. We spoke today in class about the importance of assessment and what you do with it. It makes much sense, and seems almost too obvious, that when you get feedback from your students you must use it to take the next step forward.
I love the quote that Dweck publishes in this chapter under the subtitle, “Great Teachers.” It reads, “The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning.” This quote is intriguing to me and relates closely to my philosophy of teaching. Having fun, being creative and discovering new things are essential through the process of learning. The best teachers, in my opinion, are the ones who enjoy watching their students learn and grow and are able to be effective and assertive while doing so.
The last chapter in this book, chapter 8, talks about people’s ability to change mindsets. I have been thinking to myself and blogging about how I believe that I fit the criteria for some fixed and growth mindsets depending on the situation at hand. I also believe that my mindset from when I was 17 is completely different than the mindset that I am in now. What I found most interesting in this article was the concept of Brainology. I had never heard of Brainology before but the consensus that I get from reading this part of the book makes me believe that it could be a successful tool. It seems obvious that to receive best results you must treat your body properly. Eating right, getting enough sleep, exercise and vitamins all seem essential to getting the best results. Who would have thought that being taught more scientific knowledge about your brain and telling students that they have the ability to make themselves smarter by studying and doing their work would actually produce results! This theory introduces students to the idea that working hard is will produce outcomes. It also shows students how doing work helps in building pathways and connections in the brain and helps them understand that the more you use it, the stronger it gets. This concept allows for all students to make strides. Many teachers seem to be using this technique in their classrooms and has shown to produce positive results. I think that all of us should look further into this theory and possibly use it as a basis to promote motivation in our students!
I found chapter 7 very interesting and could relate to it. The chapter addresses the concept of praise. Many parents, teachers, and coaches praise children in the 'wrong' way. This type of praise includes acknowledging a child's outcomes rather than the process and effort that resulted in the achievement. The 'right' way to praise children is to comment on their effort and how they reached, or tried to reach, their goal. I can directly relate this to teaching a Physical Education class. As a teacher, feedback and praise is extremely important. Students need constant comments on their progress. In Physical Education class, it is much more beneficial to comment on a child's form rather than their outcome. For example, a student can learn a lot more from comment "You did a very good job bringing your hand up to your ear and following through on your throw" than a simple "good throw." The first comment not only increases the student's self-esteem and confidence but it also reinforces the key points to throwing the ball. A student who was given the feedback 'good throw' will experience a quick boost of confidence but as soon as they throw one 'bad' throw, that quickly vanishes which exhibits the fixed mindset. However, the student who received the effort-orientated feedback can maintain that self-esteem through the class/unit because they exhibit room to grow which is the growth mindset. This student can understand that not every throw needs to be perfect and what they need to work on. It is very interesting to see how the two different mindsets can relate to all areas of education and life.
I agree with Mandie's explanation of "right" and "wrong" way of praising a student and his/her work. Most if not all teacher are guilty of using extrinsic rewards as praise for a job well done but teachers and parents need to stop giving out candy, toys and other nonsense and start boosting confidence and self esteem in our students with intrinsic motivation and praise. After our class discussion, I did not realize that I am one that is also guilty of to much extrinsic praise and not enough personal inner motivation to strive towards their goals. Over the past year I have worked in many different classrooms that had teachers who used various methods of rewards and praise for their students. One of the first grade teachers in the building I work in demonstrated intrinsic praise often and confidently. She knows her students extremely well and knows exactly when they are going to have trouble with something before she even teaches the lesson or gives the assignment. Upon completion of the assignment, she makes it a point to review their work and approach the students she knew would have difficulty and speak with them. She will ask them what they thought of the assignment, and if anyone helped them with the assignment. After discussing the assignment, she will ask the students how do they feel. The students will more than likely respond with they feel great/good etc. She tells them that she is so proud of them in her heart for their hard work and that they should feel excited and happy for their hard work. Every time I witnessed this conversation with the students, the students walked away glowing, smiling ear to ear and usually talking to their friends about what they did for the assignment and how good they feel and the teacher feels. During this conversation not once did the teacher give the students a sticker, piece of candy or a marble in the class jar. The students felt accomplished and happy and their confidence rose because of their teacher.
The last chapter talks about changing mindsets. Mindsets are developed at a very young age and can be influenced by parents, peers, siblings, or any external and internal environmental stimuli. As mentioned before, one 'bad' experience during childhood can result in a fixed mindset which can hinder development and self-esteem. It is so important as teachers and parents to keep in mind the growth mindset for yourself and your children/students. Students should be encouraged to do their best but to focus more on their efforts than on the outcomes (test grades, projects, natural smarts, etc). Young children are known to shut down when they receive a bad grade or are left out of something and that presents itself as a teachable moment for parents and teachers. Instead of dwelling with the child about the setback one should focus on identifying why the child did poorly on the test. The parent/teacher should then help the child to identify their mistakes and plan for the next test. This focuses children on the effort and process rather than the measurable outcome. This can present a problem in relation to standardized testing. The tests are scored on a numerical scale rather than an 'effort' scale. I believe, for many other reasons in addition to this, the idea of standardized tests need to be reevaluated with the growth mindset in mind.
In chapter 7 Dweck's speaks about test performance and how standardized testing and the pressure that comes with it negatively effects the students ability to achieve. Dweck's example of a girl named Kristina, really hits home with my and brings back memories of my standardized testing through elementary, middle, high school and even my teaching certification exams. Dweck's explains that Kristina is a bright girl who achieves highly through out her school year but when it comes to standardized testing, where she needs to prove what she knows right then and there she drowns in the stress and pressure causing her to do poorly on the exam. I can connect to this because I too had similar experiences. After my third grade ELA tests, which I did below average on, my teacher and school members began testing me for learning disabilities associated with reading. I still remember going through the process of being pulled out for testing and joining reading groups with reading specialists. It had gotten so bad that my parents were even given the advice to place me in summer school because my reading scores were below grade level. After all the testing was done, I was place into a reading support group with the reading specialist. Within in a few short weeks, I was quickly removed from the group because the specialist found that I was an average student like the rest of my peers. It was the pressure, anxiety and intense drills that caused me to do so poorly on my state assessment. Standardized assessments are a lousy way to evaluate a students strengths and weaknesses. Through out all of my educational and now professional career, standardized tests have been nothing but a anxious and torturous experience. My accomplishments inside the classroom as a student and a teacher should demonstrate my abilities instead of a computer based exam. My first teaching certification test took me three attempts to pass until finally the last time I went into Manhattan and out to dinner the night before, had a good night sleep and passed the exam instead of trying to study and force myself to bed at a earlier time. Students need to feel relax and calm in order to succeed and putting the pressure of standardized tests is not a successful way to evaluate in my eyes.
I was in a very similar situation as Colleen and Dweck's example of Kristina going through school. I had terrible test anxiety with math and reading. Being timed on a standardized test always used to freak me out. I never did well on any standardized test. It did not really effect me until I had to take my SAT's to get into college. I graduated high school with a 90 average with a lot of extra curricular activities and letters of recommendations, however I scored below average on my SATs. I spent a ton of money on test prep, so many hours studying alone and with a tutor but I got the same grade every time I took it. Since my SAT was low I didn't get into a lot of the schools I wanted to go to. I was so devastated. I felt that all the hard work I put in the classroom and studying and being involved in school meant nothing. Being a future teacher, I feel that these tests are not a true reflection of a students abilities. I also feel it takes the fun out of learning and can make a child unmotivated or feel inadequate when they do not need to feel that way. I agree with Colleen that children are unable to learn and perform when they are under that type of pressure.
Dr. Smith is the Principal of Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Ruth Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University.