Teaching a Growth Mindset

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heatherberm, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    I want to take some time at the beginning of the year to really focus on teaching my kids about having a growth mindset. I kind of flipped through previous threads, but I was wondering if anyone had particular materials - especially videos but anything concrete - that they've used successfully for this. I'd also love to find a good article about growth mindset that's actually written at a students' level. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've been browsing through this site the past couple of weeks; there's some good stuff here.
     
  4. otterpop

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    This is really a hot phrase in education right now. It's crazy how something pops up and then everyone is talking about it (at least in my school).

    Teacherspayteachers has a few things.

    Also, try typing this into Google: growth mindset filetype:pdf

    I use the pdf search a lot. It tends to yield better materials than just a regular search.

    ETA: it's putting a smiley in there... type filetype : pdf with no spaces
     
  5. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    I think the essay "You Can Grow Your Intelligence" is from Carol Dweck's website. Google it and pm me if you can't find. It says "Brainology" at the top on mine, so maybe that's the site? Or "Mindset Works" the whole unit seems based at middle school.There is also a unit put together by CSU called ...I think - "What it Takes to be Great" again, based on Dweck's work, but they use an article by Geoff Colvin called "What it Takes to be Great" that talks about "deliberate practice." I don't know if that unit is available on line, but the article probably is. I think they adjusted it to be suitable to MS students.
     
  6. Mr. Radiohead

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    I told my superintendent about the book Mindset last school year after I had discovered it at an unrelated soccer coaching clinic I was attending. I sold her on the idea of signing up my fifth grade class for the Brainology program. I taught it to my 30 students using the materials provided, and taking them into the computer lab to do the online portion. I loved it, the kids loved it, I saw change in my most hardened students towards their learning.

    I don't have hard numbers to support my beliefs that Brainology made a difference- but I had the highest test scores in my district. That could have been for a variety of reasons, but I firmly believe them learning about a growth mindset made a big difference.

    My superintendent has now asked me to present the book at a staff meeting, and she is purchasing Mindset for each teacher in the district.
     
  7. Mr. Radiohead

    Mr. Radiohead Rookie

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    After reading Mindset- it literally changed my outlook on life. I could go on and on and sound like an infomercial so I won't. I highly recommended reading that first before attempting any real work with students.
     
  8. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Thanks, everybody! I've already found some really great stuff in these links. I appreciate the help.

    Mr. Radiohead, I'm reading Mindset now which is why I'm so excited to work on it with students. I was just looking at Brainology yesterday and wondering about it. Did you do the online portion every day? About how long did each online portion take? How long did it take to work through the whole program? I'm departmentalized so I don't have all day with the same students and was wondering how much of each block I would have to give up. (Not that I don't think it might be worth it but that's something I know administration would be concerned about.)
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I have them read the "You can Grow your Intelligence" article too, except I've excerpted it, to make it shorter: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JZq5AMo1Bnig2FZlZt4TSkHB3gK2EieQmhSC9uup8ks/edit?usp=sharing

    Then I have them apply claim, evidence, and reasoning to prove that you really can grow your intelligence, and show off some posters I printed a few years back.

    I only really spent a day on it, but this year my motto is: If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. And I have it posted up on my wall, so I'll keep coming back to that anytime a student says something is too hard.
     
  10. otterpop

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  11. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I've heard that when working with students, it's best to avoid saying things like "You're so good at this" or "Wow, you figured this out so quickly" because when they struggle, they may assume that they are bad at what they are struggling with. Instead, it is better to praise how hard they are working to foster a growth mindset.
     
  12. Pashtun

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    I have kids keep a reflection journal where one of the things is we graph and reflect on quiz scores and multiplication facts. I stress a growth mindset by having students understand that learning takes place over time. Students are able to see their growth, reflect on why they are showing growth(academic behaviors and effort).

    This helps students see that they can learn new things IF they put in the effort.
     
  13. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Someone just shared this video on FB and I am showing it to my classes this week:

    What Baby George Taught Me About Learning:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbRFAq9XEV0

    It has a great message abut the importance of failure in learning!
     
  14. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    I totally agree. This is such a good book.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

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  16. Peregrin5

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    Thanks! :p
     
  17. Mr. Radiohead

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    This is off the top of my head, but here is the outline of what I did with the program-

    8 weeks long for the entire course
    2 weeks per unit (4 units total)
    -2-3 lessons per week (approximately 45 minutes long)
    - 1 online session per unit (approximately 45 minutes long)

    It does not take up a lot of time at all, and it is high-interest nonfiction.

    The program itself comes with lots of great research articles written at a level my 5th graders could grasp. Reflections, links to video clips, etc.

    I supplemented with my own articles that I found, and stories of people who have succeeded in life because of a growth mindset. I plan on launching Brainology within the next month with my new group of 5th graders.
     
  18. Rockguykev

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  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    So on a more broad level, especially after reading the Rockguykev link (thanks by the way), I do think it's helpful to note that there is some level of deception in the way that Growth Mindset is sometimes framed. First, I'd say that I LOVE Growth Mindset because attitude toward learning is huge, and I think the way it's explained to kids does work. It can truly be an "Aha moment" once they get it.

    That being said, I do think it's important to throw out the clarification that IQ isn't something that is generally amenable via intervention. We don't generally get more or less smart because of what we do. While our brains are able to adapt, grow, and respond to new challenges, many underlying processing elements aren't changed by intervention, though it may appear as such because we're getting better at certain skills. Another way of putting it - our brains change for a variety of reasons, some good and some bad. When we learn a new skill (e.g., how to decode short vowels), the connections in our brain change. However, this doesn't mean intelligence itself is actually changing. It doesn't mean we're actually getting smarter.

    So, to a degree, we're sort of deceiving kids when we say they can get smarter. They CAN get faster and better at certain skills, and the attitude they have toward learning can affect all of learning, in a way activating intelligence.

    In a way, I don't think the whole intelligence piece is really important to growth mindset. Growth mindset is about knowing and believing that you can improve, and that difficulty is a sign of improvement - not defeat. Intelligence really never needs to be factored into things. Learning is a more accurate description than intelligence.

    So, why is this a big deal? It may not be a lot of situations, other than the general issue of presenting false information and leading a new generation of citizens to thinking the wrong thing about the brain. But, for some kids who really do constantly struggle with tasks, and in which intelligence is an issue, how will they feel if they are never really able to overcome certain challenges - if they can learn skills, but the underlying struggle is always there? Will that lead to an even greater sense of failure?

    Just some thoughts - again, not against Growth Mindset, but may be worth not talking about intelligence as much, but learning.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

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    "Deception" is, I hope, a stronger word than you intend, EdEd. One deceives intentionally, knowing that one is leading another astray. Without having read either Rockguykevin's link or the Mindset materials, I suspect that each is drawing on the work of Howard Gardner, he of Multiple Intelligences fame, and Gardner does explicitly claim that the seven or more intelligences that he identifies (most of which are not tested or even testable via Stanford-Binet) can be enhanced through practice. If Gardner's is the model of intelligence that Mindset and that link are following in good faith, one who disagrees with either the model or the subsequent uses of it can properly challenge those on grounds of inaccuracy or error - but not on grounds of deceptiveness.

    "Deception" and "deceptiveness" remain the wrong labels even if one believes that Gardner's model is flawed (which it is).

    As for the growth mindset, from what I've heard so far I'm all for it, especially for the gifted child. Praising a child in terms of being smart tends to teach the child that her value lies in being able to arrive at answers fast, without struggle and without any help: that gives the child no room for failure, and in addition is a terribly unstable foundation on which to base a sense of one's worth. Furthermore, most of us learn compassion for the struggles of others by receiving compassion for our own.
     
  21. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I agree that it is important to accept that some people will have certain limitations and that "just working harder" isn't going to solve every learning delay or issue. I also agree that it's important to think about different definitions of "intelligence" beyond IQ. However, I was taught in my MAT program that IQ can change and grow (or shrink) over time based on training. I did a quick search and found this article:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/actually-you-can-change-your-iq-if-you-work-hard-enough-2011-11

    This supports what I was taught in my MAT program, that IQ can be increased over time through effort.
     
  22. EdEd

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    I certainly didn't mean it in a negative light, as to imply that folks were using the "grow your intelligence" idea in a harmful manner. But, I do think that we're saying something that isn't true - and leading students to believe the same thing - by claiming that we can improve intelligence. I'd refer back to my previous post for rationale and thoughts as to why this may not be helpful, and why we may not really even need to bring "intelligence" into the equation at all.

    I'd also say that this wouldn't be the first time we've stretched the truth as educators - consider historically used statements such as "You can do anything if you put your mind to it," or even what most of us now know to be a not-so-good thing to say - "You're smart, you can do it." Also, take the implicit statement many gave to kids over decades: "You're special." Our intentions are great, but what happens we when say things that aren't exactly true? Maybe nothing. Maybe something.

    Responding to the Gardner comment, I'd first echo your statements that there really isn't much empirical support for Gardner, particularly when it comes to instruction/intervention. I've never seen a study that has demonstrated that targeting one of his 7 intelligences results in improved academic outcomes. Doesn't mean it's not true, but it doesn't pass the muster of "evidence-based practice" or "best practice." More generally, most of my colleagues generally think that we get too caught up in worrying about intelligence at all, however you define it. IQ tests don't lead to meaningful interventions, and the history of aptitude by treatment interactions research has demonstrated it doesn't work.
     
  23. Pashtun

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    @EdEd

    I haven't read the book, so maybe I am off base.

    My intentions with the growth mindset have nothing to do at all with "intelligence", it just focuses on if you do certain things you will improve at them. That most everyone has the capacity to improve at anything given the right approach.
     
  24. Peregrin5

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    One of the concepts in the Growth Mindset book is that someone who has preparation in learning can learn ALL things much better and faster.

    i.e. a student who has learned reading earlier in life, seems more intelligent than another who hasn't had that chance because they have access to more information and knowledge.

    If you think about what intelligence really is: it's the ability to learn things. What the book says is that your ability to learn things actually improves the more you learn, so learning is in some ways, an exponential process. You start off small, but the more you learn it improves your ability to access all of the other facets of the concepts you just learned.

    So I think it is accurate to say that it does improve intelligence.

    The book doesn't say that everyone is equal however, even if they all had the same experiences growing up. They simply say, that it's possible to improve your intelligence the more you learn and challenge yourself. Are there natural differences in how fast kids learn or how well they learn? Absolutely.

    But improvement is within reach for everyone. And most people aren't too far apart in their natural propensity for learning (if they had the same experiences) so the main argument is that effort, taking on challenges, and not being afraid to fail mean a lot more in how smart someone is perceived than a natural ability to learn.
     
  25. ExcitedNewbie

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    My 2nd graders really enjoyed the book, "A Walk in the Rain with a Brain" last year. I feel like part of promoting a growth mindset is dispelling the idea that "smart" is one thing. This book makes good points about brains having different strengths and that brains do best when learning new things. This book is probably best for early elementary students.

    The text in the book can be found at this link:
    http://www.mindspace.bravepages.com/brain.htm
     
  26. EdEd

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    Yeah I would agree with this. My comments before were really just a side note, not a general disagreement with the book or concept.
     
  27. EdEd

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    So again, I'm not trying to derail the conversation here, and do support the book and concept, but for purpose of discussion (because I do think it's interesting & relevant), the concept of "learning" is really a combination of skills, ability, and motivation. Each are separate, but do overlap and influence each other. For example, "study skills" can be learned - they aren't part of intelligence. So, learning study skills can speed up learning, but not because it's altering one's underlying capacities to learn, but because new skills have been learned which make learning more effective & efficient. Similarly, motivation or attitude toward learning can have a huge effect on learning, but it isn't so much affecting underlying intellectual capabilities.

    Here's an example of how it may appear that one is getting smarter, but what's really happening is skill fluency: Problem-solving fluency. Let's say a teacher works on a child's ability to solve math word problems that involve reasoning. Over time, the child may improve and get both better and faster at solving problems. One might argue that both effectiveness and speed at solving problems is a component of intelligence. In fact, commonly used intelligence tests do ask kids to solve different kinds of problems, and measure their accuracy and speed in doing so. The problem with drawing the conclusion that intelligence is improving, though, is that solving math word problems doesn't just rely on cognitive abilities, but on certain skills which can be learned & improved. The idea behind IQ tests is that they remove the prerequisite of skill instruction as much as possible, resulting in a measurement of ability. (Side note - many, including myself, disagree that IQ tests do this to a sufficient enough ability, but that's a separate conversation).

    So, bottom line - that learning improves after developing a Growth Mindset is not evidence that IQ improves. It suggests that something about the learning process has improved - either the skills or motivation, both with particular subjects (e.g., skill & motivation with reading fluency) or with a general learning skill (e.g., skill & motivation with "attention to detail."). Again, this is great - and I do think that Growth Mindset can help with this (I've actually implemented some of the strategies with some success).
     
  28. Peregrin5

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    I think learning new things does more than just increase efficiency and speed. New concepts which would be unaccessible to someone are accessible once they learn the underlying concepts.

    Again, my definition of intelligence is simply the ability to learn. Not necessarily the biological cognitive potential. Students' ability to learn increase the more they learn both because they have underlying understandings that boost learning other concepts, also because they have increased confidence, and motivation to do so, and thirdly because the brain does biologically become more complex and different neural pathways and new connections are made that make the brain able to learn more complex ideas.

    I also do not think IQ tests really test for biological cognitive potential, so when saying that IQ improves, I think it's possible because IQ tests aren't perfect or test what they say they test. But I do think that overall (meaning assuming that two brains have reached their full potential of all possible connections and have had all of the same learning experiences--which would never happen anyway) biological cognitive potential in most cases is irrelevant in terms of reality. If we were to have two such brains and intellects to compare, the difference would be very slight, in my opinion.

    But since that would never happen, I think it's safe to assume that similar levels of intellect and intelligence can be achieved through motivation, hard-work, and a conducive mindset to learning, and yes certain students would have to work harder than others to achieve it, but it is possible.
     
  29. EdEd

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    I agree with this.

    Respectfully, I don't think we can just come up with our own definitions of things if we're going to have meaningful conversations about them. I do think what you mention isn't too far off from generally agreed upon elements of what intelligence means when you say "ability to learn," but the term "ability" generally refers to underlying potential, rather than learned skill. So, you've sort of baked biological cognitive potential into your definition.

    Respectfully, there's just not much support for this, again getting back to the generally shared agreement that "ability" refers to underlying potential. I definitely agree that kids can learn how to learn better, and that the factors you mention improve that. However, their underlying abilities aren't changing, but how they use those underlying abilities.

    Take an analogy of a car engine - it's built with certain capabilities, but various factors (oil level, oil quality, fuel quality, outside temp, etc.) influence how well it can perform. You can work on your engine and get better performance, but the underlying capacity of the engine to perform hasn't changed.

    What are you basing this on? Don't get me wrong - I find IQ tests about as helpful as a pile of dirt in a lot of circumstances, but what's your rationale for saying they don't test biological cognitive potential? Also, no test is perfect - doesn't mean it isn't useful or helpful.

    Sadly there's just no scientific support for this statement - the idea that underlying cognitive potential is irrelevant, and that all factors that influence learning are acquired or amenable.

    Again, there's just no support for this. Even if we want to look at the stability of IQ tests - they tend to not change much over age 6. You'd think that if "similar levels of intellect and intelligence can be achieved through motivation, hard-work, and conducive mindset to learning" that you'd see variation of IQ scores after age 6, dependent on the variables you mentioned. In other words, I think you'd find a correlation between motivation and IQ score, for example. We don't find this.

    ________

    Stepping back for a minute from this conversation on IQ, I don't think what you're saying is practically wrong in terms of inputs and outputs - I DO think that motivation leads to greater achievement, etc. However, you just can't call greater learning or achievement "intelligence."
     

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