Sign up for our newsletter to become part of the conversation:
** Please enter a valid email to join our community **
Thank you for joing the Mindset Works Community! Check your email for more information.
James is our colleague in Australia and this post was originally on his blog in June 2016.
Sometimes I'm asked, "James, what's your mindset? And I'm inclined to reply "Which one? I've got lots of them." But that's only partly true.
In Carol Dweck's research she often talks about a person's mindset, and it's easy to be misled into believing that people have just one. But that's not true. The research only reads that way because it's usually talking about a person's mindset in a particular context. In different contexts, we can have a completely different mindset.
The highest aim of education is to develop driven, efficacious learners. That's what will best enable them to thrive.
Why ignite lifelong growth?
Today's world is a learner's paradise and a non-learner's pit. The accessibility of knowledge, rapid pace of change, and vastness, present unlimited opportunities for exploration, growth, and contribution. Driven learners:
What is more important for education to do than to ignite lifelong growth?
A Principal Learns With Staff and Brings Growth Mindset Practices to Students
One of the greatest challenges any educational leader can model for her staff is her own vulnerabilities – that is publicly sharing what one doesn't know. This willingness to not only share in the struggle and confusion that comes with learning, but to actually foist it into the spotlight at a staff meeting takes a great deal of courage.
Karen Barker took such a tenuous leadership proposition and turned it into an opportunity to lead - in her first year as principal no less.
Barker is the leader of three schools within the Dickinson Elementary School building in Lake Washington School District just north of Seattle, Washington. In addition to the elementary school there is a pre-school and a community school. At the time of her appointment four years ago, Barker was the fourth leader in three years when she moved from the teaching ranks into the principal's office. She found a fractured school culture.
"I was eager to build a really healthy school," she said. "And success is rooted in the teachers. They're the ones who are behind initiatives and who run with them. Change cannot be driven by the principal only."
"The key variables in getting better at something are effort and time." –Ben Marcowitz, CEO, Sci Academy of New Orleans
Sci Academy is a high school in New Orleans, LA, that exemplifies a growth mindset school culture. At Sci Academy, everyone is learning every day and student growth is valued and celebrated en masse. Teach For All made a series of videos highlighting their work, and this video specifically about promoting a growth mindset – applying effective effort will grow my intelligence - in students and educators alike. One student says, "That's the thing about Sci Academy, it's not easy. It's up to you to take that extra step..."
About Mindset Works
Mindset Works was co-founded by one of the world's leading researchers in the field of motivation, Stanford University professor Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. and K-12 mindset expert Lisa S. Blackwell, Ph.D. The company translates psychological research into practical products and services to help students and educators increase their motivation and achievement. For more information, visit http://www.mindsetworks.com.
What do students need in order to take the reins?
This article is adapted from the article "Mindsets and Student Agency" originally published in Unboxed, High Tech High Graduate School of Education's magazine, in their Spring 2013 issue.
Learning happens in the learner's mind. It always does. In fact, the only thing that determines how much learning takes place is what happens in the learner's mind. What happens outside of it is only meaningful to the extent it gives the brain material for it to think.
Wonderful opportunities for learning, such as great instruction, may exist in the classroom or elsewhere, but if the learner's mind is not attentive, not reflective, not engaged, then little learning happens. Yet an engaged mind will make the most out of learning opportunities and further enrich activities and discussions to generate even deeper learning.
But we can't force students to develop agency and drive their own learning. It must come from within. So how do we catalyze that?
Hierarchy of Learner Needs
A large body of research in psychology and education is uncovering the critical elements needed for students to drive their own learning. It points to two essential focus areas that hold the most promise: Learning Mindsets and Learning Strategies & Habits, highlighted in Figure 1 and discussed in the sections that follow.