Growth Mindset Strategies from Edutopia

creative commons licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by doc(q)man: http://flickr.com/photos/docman/6107473

Edutopia recently shared a new compilation of resources for teaching and nurturing a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck shares a new post which lists several important misunderstandings and applications of growth mindset in schools. One aspect she notes is the act of praising effort alone, without specifically giving students feedback on their learning.

“In many quarters, growth mindset was boiled down to praising effort. Yes, our work had shown that praising students’ process (their hard work, strategies, focus, and persistence) and tying it to their performance, learning, or progress could promote a growth mindset. But in many teachers’ practice, it had become divorced from any learning or progress. “Great effort” became the consolation prize for children who weren’t learning. So the very students who most needed to learn about developing their abilities were instead receiving praise for their ineffective effort.

Teachers need to tell the truth. They can acknowledge laudable effort, but they also need to acknowledge when students are not learning effectively, and then work with them to find new learning strategies.”  Read the rest of the post here.

Ellie Cowen has a great piece on productive struggle.  She begins by describing a young student’s experience and approach to solving a math problem and continues by describing the reasons behind starting lessons with productive struggle for students.

“The format of Mrs. Tambor’s math lesson reflected her desire to build productive struggle into her students’ daily educational experience. To ensure plenty of time for puzzling and reasoning, she started her lesson with independent work time, moving into the teacher-centered portion of the lesson only after students had been studying the problem, first independently and then in pairs, for more than half of their math block.

Why would a teacher decide to structure a math lesson this way? Here are a few reasons that teachers have shared with me:

1. It prioritizes the student-centered portion of lesson.

If time runs out, the students’ time to explore isn’t cut short or eliminated.

2. It builds authentic engagement.

As each student confronts the problem and attempts to solve it, there is a feeling of mounting suspense. What is the question that I need to answer? How will I go about solving this problem? Will my strategy work? Will my classmates solve the problem in different ways? By the time the students gather in a group, they have a rich context for the problem at hand, and are genuinely curious about its solution.”  Read the rest of the piece here.

5-Minute Film Festival: Freedom to Fail Forward

Edutopia’s list of freedom to fail forward clips are also worth a peek.

“Failure is an inevitable part of life, but it’s often accompanied by shame — most people do everything in their power to avoid it. But to paraphrase educational philosopher John Dewey, a true thinker learns as much from failures as from successes. What if educators worked to take some of the sting (and the stigma) out of failing, and encouraged reflection and revision to build upon the lessons learned? Perhaps there’s a goldmine of opportunities if we can re-frame failure as a valuable learning experience, an essential step along the path to discovery and innovation. Check out this list of videos to help start the conversation about embracing failure.”

Check out the clips here.

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