In the book “Mindset – The New Psychology of Success” Carol Dweck discusses how the fixed mindset and the growth mindset affects the way students approach the learning process. She says that the fixed mindset causes learners to abort completing the learning process. The growth mindset is so important because it can cause you to stay focused on your goals and work on developing yourself despite your failures (Dweck, 2006). It helps you to appreciate progress. Process is viewed as a component to learning. I mentioned in my learning philosophy that learning is not only from experiencing success, but incorporates the failures into the process. I identify with this because of a personal experience of failing a class in college. I chose not to get depressed and quit but because I never made an “F” in my life. Yes, I cried, but I decided to get information to help me make better choices and retake the class. First I looked at the things that contributed to me not being successful to understand the material. One was I had taken too many hours when I took that class and two was I had an old edition of the text book. I called my adviser and asked her how that affected my academic standing. She told me that I was allowed to repeat one class without being penalized. So because I had a grow mindset (which I did not know at the time) I took away the hindrance’s and passed with an “A”. Developing this mindset I was able to turn my failure into a success.
Dweck’s discussion of the characteristics of children was beneficial in helping me to identify these two mindsets in young children. She makes a good observa human qualities are cultivated and developed over time. We are born not being aware of failures, but as we grow and have different life experiences we become aware of them (Dweck, 2006). Most of my teaching is done with preschoolers and I have observed their response in this area some have a fixed mindset towards learning they will stick with things they can easily do and some do not have any fear of failing, they meet challenges head on. My approach in communicating “yet” to them is to consistently tell them that saying “I can’t” is not allowed, a better way to say it is, “I will but I just can’t do it yet.” The author goes on to caution about using praise and positive labels (i.e. “you are smart”) because it can promote a fixed mindset and cause students when doing more challenging activities to resist because it might expose their flaws (Dweck, 2006). I came across a video Sesame Street promoting the growth mindset set and while researching this subject. I am going to use this as a tool to reinforce this to my class take a look.
Looking back at my course design from “Alignment of Outcomes and Assessments, and Activities” and “Creating a Learning Environment with Understanding by Design Model” I believe that I have created opportunities for the growth mindset to be exercised by the students. I have allowed for students to learn literacy in play environment that is initiated by them. Students will participate in discussion groups to extend their knowledge. Students will access to various tools that will enable them to practice literacy skills (i.e. books, iPads, writing tools, and paper) to be successful. Providing a course to support early literacy has been a desire of mine for some time. I believe after reading this book on the growth mindset it has given me a resource to use in the implementation of my course in making sure students get a good foundation in knowledge and understanding of literacy and will maintain a growth mindset. I will close with a quote from the book in Chapter 7:
“The great teachers believe in the growth of intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning” (Dweck, 2006).
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
[The Magna Carta School]. (2014, Nov. 8). Sesame Street do Growth Mindset. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/SnrHZ_uvtxk .