Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Recommendation: Mindset by Carol Dweck

By Kim Miklusak

I've just finished reading Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  The book is an informative and eye-opening read for everyone, but it's especially insightful for teachers, parents, and students.

The short and overly simplified version is that there are two mindsets: "fixed" and "growth."  The fixed mindset believes people are good/bad at something, that people like/dislike them, that there is success/failure and no possibility to change.  Conversely, growth mindset people learn from each experience.  They see paths and take steps to improve and grow.  In the book Dweck covers several chapters on how these mindsets are demonstrated in business, sports, school, and so on.  She explores situations where a person could think and act differently and provides suggestions for change.

Graphic from the book
This idea of mindset has enormous consequences for our students but also for ourselves as teachers.  We know the student who says "I'm bad at math," "I'm good at writing," and so on.  As I noted in my other blog (shameless plug!), it is imperative that we show students how a growth mindset leads to greater success.  It's equally imperative that we set up our curricula in such a way that students have tangible steps toward this success: feedback via formative assessment.

Additionally, it's important for us to look at our own mindset as teachers: do we feel we are done growing?  Do we look at each opportunity as a way to learn and explore?  Do we assume that we "deserve" success/failure based on our actions?  Do we look at our students that way?  And if not, can we take steps to change?

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