I’ve written a lot about the work of Carol Dweck and her research and recommendations about how to promote a “growth mindset” among students.
She has a very good article in this month’s issue of Educational Leadership. It’s titled “Even Geniuses Work Hard.” Here’s one part that I especially like:
Teachers should also emphasize that fast learning is not always the deepest and best learning and that students who take longer sometimes understand things at a deeper level. Students can learn about many historical figures who were not regarded as “fast” learners in childhood. Albert Einstein swore that he was slow to learn and that’s why he pondered the same questions year after year—with, as we know, excellent results.
Some teachers teach their students about the different mindsets directly. (To learn about a growth mindset curriculum that my colleagues and I have created, go to www.brainology.us.) Teachers may illustrate the concept of the growth mindset by having their students write about, and share with one another, something they used to be poor at and are now very good at.
In one class, for example, the students were astounded to learn that the school’s baseball star used to be inept at baseball and only became proficient after much practice. Such discussions encourage students not to be ashamed to struggle with something before they are good at it.
Done in the right context, this could be useful. I’ll let readers know how it goes when I try it.