Hey, hey, hey friends!! It’s our third week of our Summer Book Study reading, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Chapter 3. This week Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard
and I are happy to have Chad Boender from Male Kindergarten Teacher with us, as our weekly guest host.
This week is all about chapter 3, which is The Truth About Ability and Accomplishment.
So in the first chapter, we learned about the mindsets. We learned what they were and how to identify them. Go HERE to read more about the mindsets.
In chapter 2, we learned about what makes up the mindsets, or what’s inside of them. A lot of of times, people with a fixed mindset NEED to prove themselves and depend heavily on peoples opinions about them. You can read more HERE.
So now, we come to chapter 3 and we are finding out what the ‘REAL’ ingredients of achievement are. Carol Dweck gives her first example of Edison. Everyone knows who Thomas Edison was and yet, most people only focus on one thing…the invention of the light bulb. But did you know that that invention, was only one of many successful inventions? What was it that set Edison apart from other inventors? His mindset and drive is what set him apart from others.
While we may look at students and think this student is so ‘smart’ in math, or this student is a talented artist, let’s change OUR mindset and give the gift of a love for learning! Let’s make learning a hands-0n, whole-brain experience!! Let’s work together to change education and build kids up, instead of boxing them into little categories and stereo-typed groups. Let’s interest students in learning and they WILL grow!
Why can’t I play the piano like Mozart? Well, the truth is that I did take piano lessons when I was a young girl…but I hated it. I used to come home from school and fall asleep and would then be wakened by my mother to come and sit at the piano for my lesson. As you could probably guess, I was tired and not fully awake and my piano teacher was not tolerant of my drowsiness. After a few weeks, the piano teacher told my parents that piano was not for me and they were wasting their money. So today I can’t play the piano like Mozart, because one, the teacher did not believe in me, nor think I was capable, two, I didn’t have the interest, and three, I just gave up. On the other hand, Mozart practiced until his hands were deformed and his passion fueled his desire to be better. But just as Dweck says on page 63, “Prodigies or not, we ALL have interests that can blossom into abilities”. Piano may not have been my interest, but singing is and my family can tell you that efforts, can really turn into abilities!
Now we are having great mini-lessons in our classroom, with hands-on learning, high motivation, and engaged learners…now what? STOP giving generic praise…like good job.
Carol’s research shows people with a fixed mindset already focus too much on their ability,so praising them for their ability, forced them deeper into a fixed mindset and fear of ‘failure’. But praising students for their effort resulted in those kids showing better and better performance!
3 school years ago, we had a staff development training in specific praise and on the research from John Hattie (a topic for another day). I immediately embraced the idea of specific praise. And believe it or not, my principal even tallies our specific versus generic praise, when he observes us! I can honestly say that it is hard to break old habits and even 3 years later, I still struggle with giving specific praise, but I won’t give up…I just need to work harder on this goal! Below, I have created a ‘cheat sheet’ of Specific Praise Prompts for you to print out and keep handy in your classroom! I have it in bright colors and also in black and white. Click on picture to take you to the FREE download.
Chapter 3 is definitely a chapter that is worth reading. It will teach and/or remind you that ALL students have potential to learn and grow and with the right mindset and the right teaching, students are capable of a lot more than we think! (pg 64) This chapter will also remind you of the dangers of generic praise and praise of the ability. And the final aspect of this chapter is a good reminder to STOP labeling students and placing them into stereotypical groups! Give them the gift of Growth Mindset!!! (pg 81)