Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grit, Failure and a Growth Mindset

(Will a growth mindset help this daffodil persevere in this winter weather?)

This weekend I spent some time tackling a few computer issues.  My brand new home computer was upgraded a few weeks ago and since then I have had issues with Internet access, printing and uploading my photos to my computer.  To say the least I was extremely frustrated.  Each time I tried a new solution, the computer continued to act up, and I was ready to send the "box" out for repair (or out the window).  This weekend, I decided to give it one last college try.  Finally, I was successful.  
Through all of this I realized that I did not want to accept failure, I wanted to persevere until I met with success.

But do I persevere in all situations?  Can I accept failure and move forward all the time? 

Carol Dweck, professor of Psychology from Stanford University, researched such a topic and found that there are two mindsets that people can develop: A growth mindset and a fixed mindset. 
According to the website: mindsetonline.com "people with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just givens. They have a certain amount of brains and talent and nothing can change that. If they have a lot, they’re all set, but if they don’t... So people in this mindset worry about their traits and how adequate they are. They have something to prove to themselves and others.  People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through their dedication and effort. Sure they’re happy if they’re brainy or talented, but that’s just the starting point. They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things—not Mozart, Darwin, or Michael Jordan—without years of passionate practice and learning."  (To learn more about fixed and growth mindset check out this Teaching Channel video: Teaching Channel or read the book: Mindset by Carol Dweck)

The more I discover about fixed and growth mindsets, I more I realize that this brain research has great potential for me especially if I realize that through perseverance and passion, I can "accomplish great things."

Questions for reflection:  Thinking about growth and fixed mindsets, how does this impact the way I look at the children in my class?  What can I do to foster a growth mindset in each child? 

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