Behind the Blog

Behind the Blog
My name is Cindy Kruse and I've been learning from elementary students for the past 16 years. I enjoy discovering new technology and implementing it in the classroom, absolutely love literacy, and am passionate about Responsive Classroom. I am constantly striving to learn new and innovative ways to teach students in order to provide authentic, interesting, and joyful classrooms.


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Friday, April 1, 2011

Having a "Growth Mindset"

I'm enjoying some time this weekend at the Northeast Foundation for Children; catching up with the most amazing group of educators - Consulting Teachers for Responsive Classroom, and learning about having a "Growth Mindset". Does our belief about ourselves determine our ability to succeed?

Carol Dweck has completed some intriguing research which answers this question with a resounding, "Yes!" She has coined the phrase "Growth Mindset", which she explains can be developed in both children and adult learners. When people have this mindset, they believe that they can develop their brain, abilities, and talents. People that have a "Growth Mindset" care more about stretching themselves and challenging their learning. They are OK with not knowing everything. This mindset can influence both behavior and achievement.

Learning environments and learning tasks can be designed and presented to help learners develop a "Growth Mindset", which in turn, can lead to short-term achievement, ultimately resulting in long-term success.

Take a few minutes to watch this video that explains this research:

This research has profound implications for teachers. Dweck offers some concrete suggestions to help teachers create learning environments and meaningful learning tasks that will encourage students towards developing a "growth mindset": creating a classroom culture that supports risk-taking, providing specific feedback when giving students praise or encouragement, emphasizing deep learning rather than fast learning, directly teaching students how the brain works, personal goal setting, and evaluating student work with "growth mindset" criteria. While I don't believe that having a "growth mindset" will cure all academic ills, I can envision benefits for both adult and student learners; such as increased motivation and effort as they are nurtured in an environment that values "becoming" rather than "being".
Some of the questions that I'm left with to ponder:

Am I creating a risk taking environment for my students?
What does this look like as I work with adult learners?
How am I cultivating a "Growth Mindset" for myself?

Interested in finding out more about Dweck's research? Check out her book: Mindset or her website for kids: Brainology.