Intentionality. This is a term that we have been using in our building, among ourselves and with our students, K-5th. Seemingly small shifts, are in fact, HUGE shifts for many students. Here is an example: instead of saying and settling on the phrase, “I can’t do this” or “I don’t get this” we educators are being proactive to flip the switch and change the students’ language to say “I can’t do this yet” or “I don’t get this yet“. By adding the small component of “yet” we are saying that it is not impossible or insurmountable. This past week our district’s gifted and talented differentiation coach (that’s a mouthful) came to share with our staff. Ideas we know were revisited in a fresh way as we continued with The Growth Mindset.
So this week I am looking deeper into this topic. Carol S. Dweck, PhD., and colleague, Lisa Sorich Blackwell, PhD. are the researchers and fuelers of The Brainology online program. Their mission is to look at success and what helps students achieve at high levels. As a takeaway, I give you an activity that we did this past week. It can be done with any age in any group or individual setting. Our presenter read the book, Beautiful OOPs! to us, and then we were given a piece of paper with “mistakes” on it. We then went to work to fix the mistakes. Finally we shared our new pages. Here is a duplicate rendering of my page. This activity literally took about 10 minutes. I highly recommend it regardless of your setting. 😉
And now, on to the article, The Science: The Growth Mindset.
When considering the rubric to grade the articles we read, I would rate this article with the highest points in most categories: content, economy, flow, and audience. This is a educational science site that expands on the brain, it’s importance, functionality, etc. so much of what is published is original to their research and findings. It draws the reader in, it gives concrete examples, it informs with what we do know about being negative vs. being positive, it gives succinct information. The article is a page on the website Brainology. I opened several URLs by typing in Brainology and different articles came up, so this is not necessarily the main page when you search the website. It is broken down into an easy to follow outline, with the “why” and “what”and then other sources are given for triangulation. I am such a visual person, but it is interesting to me that until I reread the article I actually did not notice that there were no visuals. The information is perhaps so well laid out and communicated that visuals were not needed.
And now, on to a video. Students’ perspectives on Brainology and Mindset This has a bit of a different critique for me. I understand that it is students, but I felt like having them lined up in desks speaking out one by one in order is so NOT our school. It was published in 2011, only 5 years removed. Am I too harsh? For me, the classroom setting was fine, but I would’ve preferred to have seen a more relaxed atmosphere, perhaps all of them in a common area either on the floor or circled up with chairs like a socratic seminar. There is not much diversity either with regards to students and culture. To promote the idea of Growth Mindset, which is excellent, I would suggest they pull this video and create a newer, more authentic video with a broader range of students. Show, for example, students in really tough neighborhoods, speaking to how Growth Mindset has helped them to focus, to learn, to achieve, and to have confidence in themselves. That would’ve been more powerful to me. Now that I’ve sliced the video, I should say it wasn’t horrid…but….well on a scale from 0 – 10, I’d have to go 2.34321. 🙂 Not even a “slice of Pi”