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.

 

 

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5 Tips for Building A Growth Mindset Environment for Learning

Following are five things successful parents, teachers and leaders can do to build a more inclusive and open environment that engages and challenges the status-quo of a “fixed mindset” and supports “growth mindset” principles.

  1. Give power and recognition away to others who are eager to learn and have demonstrated the capacity to handle challenges and accept responsibility for their actions .
  2. Create a favorable environment which encourages curiosity and learning skills.
  3. Don’t always try to save others from pain or disappointment and stop second-guessing others’ decisions and ideas because this causes dependency on others. This type of rescuing behavior undermines self-efficacy and confidence in person’s ability to discover and initiate their imagination and creativity they need to keep growing in positive ways. .
  4. Give others autonomy over their challenges, tasks and resources. To do the best they can so they can learn from mistakes and success.
  5. Communicate with “growth mindset” words and phrases that emphasize effort, taking on challenges, support lessons learned from mistakes and failures, collaborate on how to problem solve and discover new strategies for learning, expose others to models of success, educate people on the concept that the brain is a muscle and can be developed and grow with the right practice and exercise.

Growth Mindset Framework for people who are willing to exercise their leadership in such a way that others are involved and encouraged to discover new ways of learning, create innovations, make decisions, share information, and most importantly learn from their experience. Most people see the value in creating a participatory and discovery climate and are willing to take risks and responsibilities that come with it. If all of us can develop the wisdom to observe, listen and learn from their own experience with certain safety limitations and reasonable boundaries all of us involved and engaged will share in the benefits of a “growth mindset” and a discovery environment.

Weekly Quote and Challenge: Learning to Handle Crucibles in Life by Assessing Your Grit Factor

Weekly Quote: “Life is what happens when you’re expecting something else.”

Reflection: With all of life’s uncertainties, we need to learn and accept what life brings us and use these difficult experiences to create opportunities for personal learning and growth.

Research shows that Significant Emotional Experiences (SEE) or what we now call traumatic experiences can result in post-traumatic growth or problems depending on our perception, grit and resilience. Positive learning following SES starts by acknowledging that life is not based on certainty facing and embracing ambiguity as a fundamental principle of human existence. It also requires self-awareness to acknowledge your personal responsibility for the choices you make and learning about what you control or don’t control in life. You cannot go through life without getting knocked down and experiencing suffering and pain. The question is how you will respond, and whether you will come back stronger than ever (resilience). Rather than living a depressed and angry life, suppressing the realities and crucibles of life I recommend you turn them into opportunities by challenging yourself to learn and grow from these inevitable twists and turns of life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Make an assessment  of your “grit” developed by Dr. Duckworth and her collegues  then identify what you need to do to develop more grit. Also, identify the crucibles and difficulties you are now facing and how are you handling the situation. Make a plan for learning and start today to adjust your thinking that these difficult and SEE experiences won’t happen to you.

Note: Defining “grit”

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Angela Duckworth 

 

Growth Mindset Effect-Case Study on Improving Performance

Growth Mindset Effect-Fundamental Learning Methods for changing the ability to improve our mindset and performance by taking on challenges for learning.

“Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way. When people…change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Their commitment is to growth, and growth take plenty of time, effort, and mutual support.”
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Case Study on Challenging the Development of Performance (High School Band project)

Congratulations to Julie Verret, music teacher at Fiske Elementary and elementary band leader for all of the Wellesley, MA School District, recently reported to Mindset Works how she used the concept of malleable brain to teach students about “ learning how to learning” using Growth Mindset methods and strategies. She eloquently describes the process of how a Growth Mindset helped her band students tackle a challenging piece of music. Julie applied the malleable mind concept to her music students because of multi-year, school-wide Growth Mindset initiative led by the principal. Verret introduced the idea that a musician’s brain can grow with effort and practice. To put this concept into action, Julie and her 4th and 5th grade students worked on a piece of music that would typically be played at the middle school level.

Here is an excerpt from her Growth Mindset project: “When they received the piece, some were excited to have such an awesome challenge,” Julie wrote. “Others thought [it] was going to be impossible.” Although her students reacted to the challenge in different ways, Julie and her class developed a number of strategies to help achieve their goal. Using the growth mindset as a foundation, the group aligned to tackle the task together, with help from the following this set of learning strategies and performance tips:

  • Learn to take-on challenges rather saying this activity is to hard for us
  • Isolate the tricky bits in the music that can trip them up
  • Practice slowly and carefully so you don’t learn it wrong.
  • Take a moment to learn from mistakes by marking missed notes and rhythms.
  • Use a Plus-One Small dose learning strategy by not trying to tackle the “whole piece at one time”; instead, work on 8 measures at a time.
  • To get everyone on the same page and set a standard for getting a learning session going she used a metronome every time when they began a new learning activity.
  • Learn to take a “time-out” by stepping away from playing for a few minutes if you stumble or get frustrated. (Managing Emotions technique from EQ            research)
  • Actively listen to the musical piece (modeling) and pay attention and be attuned to follow their part when playing.

” Julie’s class followed these strategies together, and every student worked to master the challenging piece. According to Julie: “They now cheer when I ask them to take it out so we can work on it. Not one child felt it was beyond their abilities because they used the strategies.” And so, the band played on”!

See more at  MindsetWorksNewsletter:

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?

 

Your Children Can Learn Anything: Growth Mindset Basics

Growth Mindset for Parents                                 

Parents need to learn what a growth mindset is, why it’s important, and best practices to support their children in a quest to become the “best they can be”. Learning for all of us just doesn’t happen because we are born smart or not. Learning is a life-long process that can be shaped by growing our brains over time just like we develop and grow other muscles through deliberate exercise and nurturing.

New research shows that parents beliefs and the way they talk about abilities and learning can have powerful effects on their kids’ beliefs. Certain types of seemingly positive praise like “You’re smart at this!” can backfire and make children more likely to avoid 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/

 

 

My Message for 2014 College Graduates–“Live to Learn then Learn to Live”

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Ghandi 

Although I was not asked to give a commencement speech this year, here is what I would have tried to convey to the 2014 college graduates: Your accomplishes during college have been many and lessons for life abound if you were paying attention, so congrats to you and your family on this very special day.

A lot of professors give talks titled The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question:

What wisdom would you impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If you died or vanished tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

Reflection:  As with every ending there are mixed feelings of sadness and happiness and some anxiety about what the future brings. During my 70+ years of living I have learned many things and missed other things,  but one thing for sure I will always hold dear is my love for learning. 

Learning to me is beneficial in every aspect. It is beneficial for overall progress in society; it can raise the levels of civic action and participation; on an individual level it can boost our curiosity, critical thinking and challenge our stereotypes and narrow thinking. Well let me just say it straight out– it can help in every way, literally. The good news is that learning after formal schooling is usually free and self-directed, this type of learning can help us keep current and keep growing.  Actually learning is my favorite thinking to do in life because it is what makes us human.

Your new beginning will be more successful if you keep in mind this maxim by Ben Franklin “time lost is never found again”; so don’t waste your time being pessimistic, critical of yourself or others and “sleep walking through life” grab life by the horns and always be a “life-long Learner” 

My formal educational experiences provided me with seven critical things:

1. The gift of life long learning–  “learning how to learn”

2. Need to be curious in life–always acknowledge you don’t know somethings and can learn by listening and asking questions.

3. Learning to be more “open “minded and not “fixed” in my ways or the view of the world

5. The motivational spark to overcome obstacles and keep improving by “getting better” Never give-up…Never give-up

6. Respect and dignity for others—tolerance is the glue of relationships

7. Being self-aware and responsible for my own choices and behavior

Self-Coaching Challenge: So the challenge facing you as you start your new beginning is to reflect on your learning in school and figuring out your next chapter. For some this is just letting life come at them and hoping they will be ready to apply things from their education; for others it will be struggling to define and figure out the next steps; but no matter how you attack your next phase in life be clear on one thing, so as to avoid some pain and difficulties, be a life-long learner by taking advantage of training and professional development courses offered by your employer and start today document your accomplishments and create  a career portfolio because you are responsible for your career and reaching your potential. Promise me and yourself today that you will sit down in the next 24-48 hours and define what success in life will look like for you. For me it has not been defined by money or material stuff ( I always had enough to get by)– it is doing that which fulfills me–by making a difference in creating a better world to live in for all.

Finally, “remember that when it comes to learning there are no mistakes, only lessons. Respect others, trust your choices, and everything is possible; and if you face difficult times stop take a deep breath and as Marcus Aurellus once said: “Look within; within is the fountain of all good.”