March 30, 2017

Growth Mindset work at WRS!


If you’ve visited our school recently, you may have noticed a bulletin board as you enter the building that looks like a superhero busted through with the “Power of Yet”. One of our teachers, Mrs. Derosier prepared this display to help our entire school community know that we as a school staff have focused our attention on the work of Professor Carol S. Dweck of Stanford University.  Ms. Dweck has done extensive research on the amazing brain’s ability to learn and develop for all of us.   She’s done extensive research on the psychology of this and she’s written a powerful book that I highly recommend:  Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success.  (Follow this link to review this book on Amazon or copy this link into your browser: https://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Carol-S-Dweck/dp/0345472322/ref=mt_paperback?_encoding=UTF8&me=)

During monthly assemblies with our students in grades k-5 I’ve introduced the work of Dr. Dweck by teaching our students that our brains have neurons and that when we are learning new things if we persist and practice, these neural pathways (brain pathways) become stronger and with enough effort, persistence and practice we solidly learn the skill.  This is true when we learn to walk, talk, track with our eyes or learn how to divide and multiply fractions!   As a staff we have begun the work of not only teaching this to our students, but also trying to focus our praise on effort, process and strategy.  We are focused on helping our students learn that mistakes are expected and that when we make them it means that we haven’t learned the skill yet!  However, when we think deeply about the mistake made and ask ourselves, “What part did I do correctly, or well?”  and “Which part didn’t I do well or understand?”  Then we take responsibility for figuring out our mistakes and then….we learn!

Here are a few resources that I’ve used recently with our staff.  These may be helpful to you to help you understand Dr. Dweck’s work and why we as educators value it:

-- “The Power of Yet” and the Growth Mindset      

-- Dweck video - here  or copy this into your browser:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiiEeMN7vbQ

-- Clip from Google Talk Dweck interview: clip from 11.00 minutes to 13:33

-- Another Carol Dweck video in which she explains how one can develop a growth mindset from the Teaching Channel (See www.teachingchannel.org)

Sheila Powers