March 07, 2011

Adopting the "growth" mindset

I just finished reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  It has changed a lot about how I think about learning and personal growth in my life (both professionally and otherwise). I'm trying to implement the idea of having a "growth" mindset in all I do for my classes and my research.  It's hard work, but I guess that's part of the point.

If there was only one thing I could implement in my classes from the book, it would be the following passage from chapter 3:

How teachers put a growth mindset into practice is the topic of a later chapter, but here's a preview of how Marva Collins, the renowned teacher, did it. On the first day of class, she approached Freddie, a left-back second grader, who wanted no part of school. "Come on, peach," she said to him, cupping his face in her hands, "we have work to do. You can't just sit in a street and grown smart....I promise, you are going to do, and you are going to produce. I am not going to let you fail."

Robert Talbert recently asked about the responsibilities of students and instructors in college. I don't know if I have a set answer to his question, but I do believe that if students are willing to put in the effort to do the work that I ask them to do in my class, then it is my responsibility to provide whatever assistance they need to be successful in learning the content in my class.

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