Growth Mindset Research–Why we need to re-consider teaching cursive handwriting.

Quote:  “Cursive handwriting improves neural connections in the brain,” and stresses physiological movement of writing cursive letters to “build pathways in the brain while improving mental effectiveness.” Iris Hatfield

What you may not realize–and what many educators and parents do not realize– is that by learning cursive you are learning how to communicate in another method from printing and keyboarding. In practicing cursive you are building the neural pathways necessary to stimulate brain activity that enables language fluency and vision-motor control important for cognitive development, learning, reading, sports, and other everyday tasks. In most three grade classrooms computers and key boards now dominate every classroom. With the entrance of the information age has come a shift to emphasizing the development of knowledge skills over physical skills.  Keyboarding is in vogue and cursive is out as one of the Common Core Standards for best education practices.

What you may not realize–and what many educators and parents do not realize– is that by learning cursive you are learning how to communicate in another method from printing and keyboarding. In practicing cursive you are building the neural pathways necessary to stimulate brain activity that enables language fluency and vision-motor control important for cognitive development, learning, reading, sports, and other everyday tasks. In most three grade classrooms computers and key boards now dominate classrooms throughout our nation. With the entrance of the information age has come a shift to emphasizing the development of knowledge skills over physical skills.  Keyboarding is in vogue and cursive is out as one of the Common Core Standards for best education practices.

Without recognizing it, those repetitive cursive handwriting drills we did as children were some of our first and most basic steps in developing our cognitive abilities. Fine motor skills are the building blocks our brains need to connect and make sense of the world around us through our 5 senses. Understanding and knowing how to form letters on lines to a certain shape and size, at a certain angle, in real time and space comes through the fine motor control of the hands and arms. Cursive handwriting naturally develops sensory skills, as they are called, by taking advantage of a child’s inability to fully control their fingers. Through repetition the child begins to understand how much force need be applied to the pencil and the paper, positioning of the pencil to paper at the correct angle, and motor planning to form each letter in fluid motion from left to right. This physical and spatial awareness allows them to write but more importantly builds the neural foundation  of sensory skills needed for a myriad of everyday tasks such as zipping up clothes to tying shoes, picking up and using objects, copying words from blackboards, shaking hands, and most importantly, reading! Unfortunately we are abandoning the activities that allow for this cognitive and physical development to take place.

Over the past few years doctors and neuroscience specialists alike have been working to understand and educate the masses on the effects of educating the mind alone.

As Pulitzer Prize nominated neurologist Frank Wilson wrote in his book, “The Hand: How its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, And Human Culture,” “teachers should not try to educate the mind by itself.” If educators continue to dissolve the disciplines that involve the hands and the body in full movement, much of the knowledge will be poorly processed and inadequately learned.

So what do we need to do as parents if neuroscience science experts and their brain research studies show the positive effects of teaching cursive handwriting as a basic building block of cognitive development?

Challenge: Find ways to educate school leaders on the neurological benefits of cursive handwriting and make parents aware of the positive effects on brain development and cursive handwriting One solution is to promote this problem is for schools to require and teach all three modes of writing–  printing, cursive and keyboarding. All of these modes have benefits for brain development and are necessary tools for brain development.

Consulted resources and research:

  1. The Hand: How its use shapes the brain, language, and human culture. Frank R Wilson. First Vintage Books Edition, September 1999.
  2. http://www.newamericancursive.com/docs/NAC Why Teach Cursive.pdf
  3. http://www.helium.com/items/197736-cursive-handwriting

 

Three Decades of Growth Mindset Research tells us how to Raise Smart Kids

Rule #1:

” Don’t tell your kids that they are”smart”. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on “learning process and strategies”—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life” Carol Dweck

 A classic paper by reported in Scientific American by Claudia Mueller and Carol Dweck about “Growth Mindset” and how we talk to students  showed that praising young adolescents for their intelligence—saying they were “smart” when they did well—created a fixed mindset and its problems. It put students in a world in which people evaluate and judge intelligence and does not encourage students to challenge themselves or make the effort and risks needed to learn new things. Praising reinforces their need to show they are smart in every situation by avoiding learning challenges and not making mistakes which undermine the belief that they are “smart”.
Growth Mindset talk which praises the student’s “learning process” like their effort or willingness to seek out more challenges and use different learning strategies to improve their understanding of new material put learners on a growth mindset track and fostered resilience from mistakes and failed attempts.

 

Bottom Line Tip:

Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their persistence or strategies (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.

 

 

Trump Supporters and the Implicit bias frame

Trump supporters who still overlook his most hazardous downsides could be deploying the following implicit bias:

Confirmation Bias–Unconsciously collecting information that supports our original position by triggering implicit bias, or selective attention and perception. Here is a political example of the confirmation bias in action: Employing this bias we tend to seek out information that already conforms to our beliefs and assumptions while ignoring evidence that challenges our points of view. One example would be Trump’s supporters refusing to acknowledge how many times he’s contradicted himself. Think of the time Trump said this: “You [Megyn Kelly] have done a great job, by the way, and I mean it.” and then this: “I have zero respect for Megyn Kelly, I don’t think she’s very good at what she does.” (That is, among other comments about the Fox News anchor’s character.) By ignoring the contradiction, his supporters arrive at the conclusion that “[h]e’s never flip-flopped.”

Having Problems with Goal Setting ? Try using Mental Contrasting Technique.

Daily Quote and Challenge:

” Mental contrasting when used by those with high expectations of success leads to increased goal commitment and energization.” Gabriele Oettingen,

In using mental contrasting or visualization technique to reach a personal change goal it is important to identify and picture how you will FEEL once you have attained your goal. To execute mental contrasting answer these two critical questions:

  1. What does success look like ?

 

2. How will you know when you have reached your goal?

 

Growth Mindset Toolkit for Parents

Growth Mindset for Parents

” No one thinks babies are stupid because they can’t talk. They just haven’t learned how to yet. But some people will call a person dumb if they can’t solve math problems, or spell a word right, or read fast — even though all these things are learned with practice”. David Yeager and Carol Dweck 

Parents who are will to learn about the positive effects of growth mindset vs. fixed mindset can set their children on a path toward loving learning. New research shows that the way parents talk about abilities and learning can have powerful effects on their kids’ beliefs and mindset about learning. Certain types of seemingly positive praise like “You’re smart at this!” or you are so “smart” can backfire and make children more likely to avoid learning challenges or give up in the future when something is difficult.

Fortunately, the same research also shows that there are many things that we can do to help children develop into resilient learners.

Stanford University’s professor Carol Dweck has spent decades studying how people think about intelligence. Dweck and her colleagues have found that people tend to hold one of two very different perspectives about intelligence. One perspective is called a “fixed mindset”. That’s the belief that intelligence is fixed at birth and doesn’t change or changes very little with practice. It’s the belief that intelligence is like eye color. You’re stuck with whatever you’re born with.

The other perspective is called a “growth mindset”. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence improves through study, deliberative practice and effort. In other words, people with a growth mindset think intelligence is like a muscle that grows stronger with training.

For children with a “fixed mindset”, the classroom can be a difficult and unwelcoming place. They see school as the place where their abilities are evaluated and worth is judge, not as a place where their abilities are developed and failures are seen as challenges to overcome. Their goal in school tends to be to show that they are smart or at least to avoid looking dumb. For them, mistakes are a sign that they lack talent and god given ability.

For children with a “growth mindset”, the classroom is a more exciting, fun and less judgmental place. They believe they can develop their ability, and they understand that the classroom is just the place to do that. Children with a growth mindset tend to see challenges as opportunities to grow because they understand that they can improve their abilities by challenging and pushing themselves. If something is hard, they have to put in more effort and find new ways to learn and push themselves to get better.

Children who understand that the brain can get smarter—who have a growth mindset—do better in school because they have an empowering perspective on learning. They focus on improvement and see effort as a way to build their abilities. They see failure as a natural part of the learning process. In contrast, students who have a fixed mindset—those who believe that intelligence is fixed—tend to focus on judgment. They’re more concerned with proving that they are smart or hiding that they’re not. And that means they tend to avoid situations in which they might fail or might have to work hard.

Many studies show that children who have a growth mindset respond differently in challenging situations and do better in school over time.

Want to learn more on Growth Mindset visit this wonderful site that summarizes studies from praise to achievement scores for children with fixed or growth mindsets. https://www.mindsetkit.org/growth-mindset-parents

Or http://mindsetscholarsnetwork.org/about-the-network/