Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset Classrooms

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Obadiah, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    May 1, 2016

    So I will ask this question, I have asked it in other threads as well.
    Other than the these:
    1. telling stories or showing opportunities that promote perseverance, hard work, and effort
    2. providing good feedback
    3. goal setting and process including some sort of data notebooks
    4. ability to retake certain tests/assignments
    5. establishing a culture of risk taking and learning from mistakes
    What specific "things" do you do or have in place that directly supports your belief in a growth mindset?
     
  2. Sassy98

    Sassy98 Rookie

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    Don't forget Mother's Day is May 8th! Its early this year so don't forget MOM!!! All moms, grandma's and all the special women in your life will appreciate your thoughtfulness on this special day which celebrates WOMEN.
     
  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    To add to the conversation, here is a short video by Jo Boaler. I am going to preface this by saying I am a mother of a daughter who is seriously struggling in math. She is about 2 grade levels below. This is difficult and frustrating, and without having a growth mindset, I might have just thrown in the towel at this point. Instead, I am trying to help my daughter develop a growth mindset (she always says she just doesn't get it...she doesn't understand and never will, and I fear this attitude alone negatively contributes to her current math struggle). I work with her every night, I am teaching myself her math (I haven't done algebra in years, so I have to reteach it to myself), and I am also enrolling in an algebra course online, all in the name of helping my daughter. If I didn't believe strongly that my daughter's brain was actually capable of change and eventually grasping this, I would not go through all of this. Pay attention to the introduction of this video where the host mentions that the research shows kids with a growth mindset are 2 levels above those with a fixed mindset.
     
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  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Why are those things not specific enough?
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    They are specific enough. Maybe it is because you are a new teacher and growth mindset is the language that is often linked to these "things". IMO, these things have been around far longer than the popularity of the term growth mindset. I am looking for new "things" that have emerged due to Dweck's book, not unifying already good practices under the title growth mindset.

    You are under the impression(I think wrongly) that growth mindset is something new, I think it has been around forever. Again, read quotes, watch themes in movies, read biographies, stories...etc. The idea of growth mindset has been fundamental in all areas of civilization forever. Yes, there are crappy teachers and people in other professions that don't use it or believe it. The "new science" only supports what we already new. How did it change it? What is really "new" in Dweck's book(again I haven't read it).

    Growth mindset did not lead to these practices imo, I think it was the other way around. Growth mindset is just a unifying term for what many teachers have been doing forever.
     
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  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I want to try saying this in a different way. I think the Growth Mindset demands some sort of action on our part. It begins with realizing that growth is possible, that the brain is malleable and holds great potential. Just like the idea that "What you don't know can hurt you" is very true, the implication is that knowledge is power. There is something powerful about the knowing. However, what good is knowing if that knowledge effects no behavioral change? There must be some sort of action that follows this knowledge. To highlight this point, how many of us are aware of the importance of sleep? My guess is almost all of us know that sleep is of huge importance for us physcially, mentally, and emotionally. However, how many of us have actively changed something in our lives to ensure we get enough sleep (setting an earlier bedtime...foregoing certain activities to make more time for sleep, etc.)? How many of us actually know the benefits of sleep because we have experienced sufficient nightly sleep? I am going to bet there are some people out there who have changed their behavior to obtain enough sleep and consequently have reaped those fantastic benefits that come with it. However, my guess is that those persons are in the minority and that there are more persons who exist in a constant sleep-deprived state. We can make this same point with real food. Anyone would probably tell you that real food is superior to packaged food and fast food. However, does this knowledge reflect in the lives of most people? Most likely not, as evidenced by the pervasive metabolic diseases (many directly resulting from our food choices) that are ever present in our society today (high blood pressure, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver dieases, obesity, etc. ). There are many things that are obvious and that we inherently know but don't appear to affect our behavior or our choices inspite of that knowledge. Therefore, knowledge is key, but knowledge additionally requires some sort of action or change. That change might be actively seeking a million different ways to make material accessible to a struggling learner because the teacher truly believes that the learner is capable of understanding (whereas without this belief maybe the teacher might have grown frustrated and silently just given up after the first few tries). Or, that change might be a mother who equips herself with math armor by taking additional math courses to teach herself the math so she can help her struggling daughter (instead of just giving up because this struggle is a nightly struggle and she is exhausted from this battle) because said mother believes her daughter's brain is capable....There are many different ways that a Growth Mindset can manifest in someone who thinks this way.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 1, 2016

     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    When you make comments like "Maybe it is because you are a new teacher" I take offense. As stated above, I have been teaching for 7 years. Yes, I am relatively new to the teaching world, but certainly I have some experience and time under my belt. The implication in that statement is I am "new" and therefore my opinion does not matter or count.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Did you read what I posted?
    I never said or implied that your opinion did not matter or counted. EVER!
    In fact I have said several times that I agree with parts of what you are saying.

    I'll try to say it again.
    Many of the things you are saying are true and I agree with them. However, they have all been around, they did not emerge from the idea of growth mind set(IMO). I referred to you as a new teacher because perhaps that is how you have heard of these "strategies and ideas", under the UMBRELLA of growth mind set. They were there before growth mindset. From the beginning of time.

    I don't understand your last post. You must act and use knowledge...duh?

    Is your stance that Dweck's work is moving people to use knowledge and act on it?
    Is her work a means of unifying well known, good practices under the title growth mindset to disseminate the information in a better way? If the point is to get the already known strategies and information to more people, I can agree with that. My question has been what is NEW, that I can use in my classroom.

    I can link about 30 youtube videos that support growth mindset that you can share with your students if you would like?
     
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  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Pashtun, I think you and I will just have to agree to disagree.
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Haven't read every word on this thread, but I think everyone is probably right, just a little different emphasis may need to be made. Pashtun, you're right in that there isn't new science, so to speak. I do think there is new supporting evidence, but the overall idea that one can get better at something, and that those who believe they can improve often do so more than others, is not a new concept. However, sometimes new information or ideas are created by reconsidering or repackaging old ones. To the extent that Dweck's work frames ideas in a way that leads to better results, we - as educators - win.

    Also perhaps to your point, Pashtun, I actually bought a copy of Dweck's book and wasn't all that impressed. I was hoping for more meat - strategies, extensive research, etc. - and what I got felt like a layman's 101 self-help book. The information and tools I found online were more helpful to me. Maybe I just bought the wrong book?

    I'd also say, as a side note, that Dweck isn't actually, technically right when she says that IQ changes. The brain itself may form new connections, pair connections, etc. (i.e., change), but that's really describing the neurological process of learning, not intelligence. Intelligence isn't really something that changes over time. So, we're perhaps doing a disservice by trying to tell kids that, but I think the overall message is good. Personally, I stay away from the word intelligence, and just talk about the "brain" getting stronger and more effective.
     
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  12. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    As EdEd implied, the above posts are agreeing more than disagreeing. I have to side with TamiJ, though, that growth mindset practices are not being implemented to their most beneficial potential in most schools. Why? Malcolm Gladwell mentioned in one of his books that there are three groups of people, those resistant to change, those who readily change, and those who are in the middle (hesitant but not resistant). Overall, this social structure is a good check and balance to keep from going overboard with every new idea but to also allow for change as needed. I also have noticed strong paradigms exist in educational science, and many educators resist paradigm shifts. The strongest paradigm that I've encountered is an adherence to traditional education; but the definitions of traditional education seem to vary. (I want to be respectful to differences in philosophy here, too. Much valid research exists to support some ideas of traditional education, but as mentioned in this and the above posts, research also calls into question some aspects of traditional education). I also still see the paradigm of fixed mindsets, which often results in teaching to the students who can achieve the outcome quickly, and (my current ponderings) weakening the potential achievement of students who do not work as quickly, by moving ahead to the next outcome whether they're ready or not, or by re-grouping them into a lower group that moves so slowly they will never advance out of it, (although, in some instances, re-grouping is essential to make up for a lack of previous learning to connect with).

    The media tends to support these conceptions. I've heard, concerning adjusting the pacing, that the whole class falls behind so a few students can catch up; the opposite, according to research, is true in a growth mindset classroom which seems to advance more than a fixed mindset classroom. I've also heard, concerning heterogeneous cooperative learning, if a child is helping the "underachievers", shouldn't that child receive a teacher's salary? The truth is, cooperative grouping supports metacognitive development for all the students in the group; also, an engaging activity is beneficial for all the learners. Concerning encouraging students, I've heard (a zillion times), these students cannot do the work, but at least they feel good about it. The truth is, growth mindset corrects mistakes; the students learn from their mistakes and are able to do the work. Some time ago, I heard on a TV news report that teachers are now giving A's to students who incorrectly answer math problems as long as they can show that they used the correct algorithm. The truth is, Boaler discourages grading papers and non-contextual repetitive algorithm practice. I've also heard a new one, and I'm buffaloed! I have no idea why this is considered wrong, but some are now saying it's wrong to encourage a student, any student, to keep trying. (???)

    Students who "struggle" are learning--struggle is learning. I've been thinking, it seems all learning is a correction of one of three types of mistakes. Yesterday, I looked up the definition of an omega block, a current weather phenomenon. I did not know what it was, but learning the definition corrected that blankness in my brain. The second type of mistake is to actually apply misinformation to a task resulting in an incorrect response. The third type of mistake is what happened to me the other day while improvising at the piano. (Oops!)

    On the radio the other day, I heard an illustration about struggle. We can be like an egg or a potato. An egg gets cooked and becomes hardened, but a potato gets cooked and becomes more pliable. A growth mindset classroom embraces mistakes as a learning experience, making the brain more pliable for more learning.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    These opinions are interesting in light of what you said.
    http://www.livescience.com/36143-iq-change-time.html
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yes. This is true. Many times the struggle is moving someone further away from the desired goal and the learning or connections the student is making is incorrect. So, all struggle is not good struggle. That is why teaching needs a balance and students to their own devices would not all learn what is necessary, but decide they understand and be very, very wrong.

    I can give an example why keep trying may be a bad practice in some situations. For example, telling a student to keep trying when trying to spell a word continues to make false connections when they have no strategy to get to the right answer. Same goes for math facts. When the strategy ends up being guessing, the student should never keep trying. Often keep trying omits making sure the student knows what strategies to apply when the student has come to the point of frustration or never understood the strategies in the first place.
     
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  15. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    a2z, that is an excellent point. That was a valid criticism of invented spelling. It reminded me of my college professor, who constantly said, "We teach by creating environments." The teacher's role is to create an environment of instruction. Instruction can include direct instruction, provision of resources (e.g. dictionaries, encyclopedias, examples on the wall), scaffolding, heterogeneous cooperative learning groups, etc.

    On a different avenue in this discussion, Boaler's book sounded very similar to New Zealand's "whole maths" approach. I was wondering if any teachers in New Zealand would like to comment on growth mindset teaching. Does New Zealand still teach from a "whole maths" perspective? How successful has it been in the real world apart from the world of research?
     
  16. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Thanks a2z - some interesting comments in that link. I'm familiar with a few of those researchers, and it was interesting to hear how they summarized their thoughts on the topic in a more popular science format.

    Most comments seem to agree that IQ is relatively stable. There are exceptions (e.g., children under 6, TBI, measurement error, etc.), but the idea that intervention leads to an increase in IQ is not an established one. Only one of the folks quoted referred to research that suggests IQ can vary considerably over time, but no specific references were given. I'd be interested in seeing those references, particularly as we see a rise in "brain-based" activities, instruction, and interventions that seem to boast improvements in IQ.
     
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  17. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I agree, this is an noteworthy counterpoint to consider. Does research support a variable or a static intelligence? Another consideration, do IQ tests always measure intellectual potential, and even more specifically, what physical properties do IQ tests measure? I'm also thinking of an unpopular question among today's research: is there also a non-physical component to intelligence? David Eagleman, although as I recall he also follows the view of a material intelligence, asks if New York City, with similar connectivity and complexity to a brain, is non-sentient, (Eagleman, David. The Brain. Pantheon Books, New York: 2015).

    On a humorous note, I'm remembering a question an elementary student once asked me. She overheard her parents talking about how well she does in school, and her mom suggested it must be in her genes. She asked, "What do my blue jeans have to do with it?"
     
  18. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Obadiah those are all great questions, and ones that have been around for a while. If I may, amongst my colleagues, in every discussion I've been a part of over the years, and in anything I've ever read, research supports a stable IQ. Of course, that begs questions that define IQ, to which you'll receive answers that are a lot more variable. In general, IQ tends to refer more to ability or potential, not to skills learned, content knowledge, etc. IQ is messy, though, and invariably it's hard to keep things neat and pretty.

    All of that said, the even better question is why do we care about IQ? Given that the research doesn't suggest any interventions which can improve it, why do we assess it? If it doesn't lead to better outcomes for kids, what's the point? Many folks who deal with IQ tests and education have largely answered this question by saying that, truthfully, IQ tests don't really matter and aren't very helpful. There will be disagreement, of course, but the trend is moving away from giving IQ tests, and measuring things that are helpful with instructional planning. As an example, with a child with reading difficulty, moving away from measuring "verbal intelligence" and moving toward directly measuring reading skills.

    Oh, and love the blue jeans quote!
     
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  19. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Yes, I agree!
     
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  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    May 5, 2016

    I don't disagree with this.

    So is your stance that the book by Dweck is just helping to disseminate already known good practices and that it may contribute to changing poor practices for some teachers? If it is I can agree.

    In many ways I need to get off my butt, group a few good teaching practices into a category, give it a cool new name, sell the book and make some money.
     
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