Do you think new learning can occur? Remember the old saying "Can you teach an old dog new tricks?" Do you believe all kids can learn? Do you believe we are born with our intelligence or do you believe we can develop our intelligence? Would you believe that Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.'s work shows us that students who learn the growth mindset way of thinking, show significantly greater motivation in school, better grades and higher test scores.
Let's begin with a real life story. Every Monday evening my 6 year old daughter brings home her spelling words. Every week we spend time on her spelling words. At first it was a painful chore for us both. She didn't want to have to spell the words because it would frustrate her so much when she would get a word wrong. Once she made one mistake she was done. It would devastate her and she would plunge into despair. She was now trapped into a never ending spiral to know where. Then we flipped her thinking about the spelling words. We thought through the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Lens of Engagement and offered her the choice of how she would practice her spelling words. This engaged her and brought her back to learning and having fun. Then we used the Growth Mindset, instead of the Fixed Mindset way of thinking. Soon my daughter realized that missing words during practice spelling was a good thing. She quickly realized how missing a word would focus her in on it more and she had less and less chance of missing it again. Now she looked at missing a word as part of the building block process of getting better. So now instead of getting upset and shutting herself down, we celebrate missing words. Now when my daughter and I work on her weekly spelling list, she always enjoys the time and so do I. It's now positive Daddy, Daughter time.
So if you are stuck in the fixed mindset way of thinking then check out the following 4 steps which will lead you from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. (http://mindsetonline.com/changeyourmindset/firststeps/)
Carol Dweck, researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems.
Here is a link to Carol Sweck's Ted Talk link: (http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en#)
Adults using the growth mindset strive to strengthen their own learning, rather than blame others. They are responsive to honest feedback instead of being defensive. Dr. Dweck is clear that we want a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset. Here is an example of fixed mindset - "I just wasn't born an artist, therefore I cannot draw." Now an example of a growth mindset "I may not be able to draw very good right now, however I'm going to try it and practice it until I get really good." As you can tell by the drawings in this blog post, I'm trying to draw, however I'm just not there yet. According to Dr. Dweck my skills of drawing will develop through effort and persistence. She would also probably say by adding specific, timely, feedback my skills will quickly grow.
Be sure to checkout the Storify on May 22, 2014 to see how Growth Mindset supports the Universal Design for Learning framework.
In conclusion, ask yourself, "what is my mindset?" Am I of the fixed mindset mentality or the growth mindset mentality, and reflect on your thoughts until you go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, and on your way to work, think about the mindset you chose and ask yourself if it enhances your work?
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.
"#udlchat May 22, 2014 at 9:00pm EST (with Images, Tweets) Â· Impala1." Storify. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. https://storify.com/impala1/udlchat-may-22-2014-at-9-00pm-est.