Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Carol Dweck - Conference 18th March

Learner or non-learner - the world can be divided into these two categories. Benjamin Barber

Babies approach life with infinite interest, curosity and effort.

Sometimes our actions as teachers create kids who feel like they have to be infallible.
This might show itself by removing yourself from opportunity for failure.
Young people feel like they need awards and recognition every day for just doing the job.

Fixed Mindset: Intelligence is fixed - limited = non-learners, avoid risk, avoid failure
Growth Mindset: Intelligence ca be developed = hard work, strategies, mentoring

Can mindsets be changed:
We can change our mindset, grow and learn. It is a teachable attitude.

Alfed Binet believed that mindset can be changed. The IQ test was intended to identify children who needed extra help rather than put a permanent label on children.

Are mindsets all or nothing?
In different subjects or life situations we slip into a different mindset. Kids might have a positive mindset in maths but a fixed one in writing.

Mindsets Matter:
How do the different mindsets perform?
In American schools and university, students with the same starting grade performed in different ways. After failing in an exam the fixed mindset people gave up while the growth mindset people developed study groups, contacted the tutor and worked harder.  The result was that the scores were very different. Mindset matters.

In Chile research - the different socia-economic groups made no difference. It was the growth mindset that enabled the poorer kids to perform at the level of much wealthier children.

How do they work?
They create a whole psychological world...
1. Fixed mindset - you must look smart at all times. Never look dumb.
2. If you have ablility then you don't need to use any effort. (Coast on natural talent)
3. In a fixed mindset - set back show that you are a failure. Run from these!

1. Growth mindset - don't repeat tasks to look smart. Work on getting smarter.
2. Hard work, strategies and mentoring helps grow intelligence. (Know they have to work hard)
3. Set backs are part of learning. Growth mindset people use these as learning opportunities.

How does this work in the brain? (attitude towards errors)
1. not interacting with the error

1. vigrous activity
2. processing error
3. correcting

Adults have a large part to play:
Intellingnce - create a fixed mindset, they avoid hard tasks. "You are so clever."

Process praise - creates a growth mindset, they enjoy hard challenges. "great work. You have used some good strategies and never gave up."

This is a good word. Working hard to achieve something of value.
What are we struggling with? What do I want to struggle on next? What is there of value that I am really interested in struggling with?

Praise options:
1. You did that really easily - you must be good at maths. Fixed
2. You did that so quickly. Sorry, here's something more challenging and interesting for you. Growth
We need to praise effort, strategy and progress.

Students playing a ICT game with positive mindset praise ...
 - played longer
 - used more startegies
 - perservered
 - just as many high achievers as strugglers styed in to the end of the game.

What does this mean for us in the classroom...?
Failing grade - should be 'Not Yet Achieved' sets learners up knowing we believe in them and that is is part of a journey. YET!

Direct teaching of mindset:
Teach study skills & growth mindset training.
- Learn about how we can grow the brain - how do the neurons work?
- Getting smarter is in our own hands.
- There was a huge different in the results of kids with just study skills in relation to those who also have the mindset training.

A mindset is powerful but it is a belief. Beliefs can be changed!

Having a Growth Mindset changes the attitude to effort and difficulty.
I want to do this because it is so hard!

Growth Mindset for teachers:
Legitimise having a Fixed Mindset. Tune into the FM and notice when you are using the FM. Share those reflections.
Move into replacing these with Growth Mindset thoughts. Talk about the science.

For teachers:
Attitudes about themselves....
We lose teachers who are told that they are 'natural teachers'.
They need to understand that there will be failures. This is the worst they are ever going to be. There will be lots of learning and improvement.

  • Collaborate with other teachers
  • Ask for feedback
  • Look for strategies that will help all students.
  • Look to change rather than blaming students. 

Growth Mindset Organisations:
Do we believe in fixed intelligence or believe that we can grow our teachers and learners.
Growth mindset organisations feel empowered and supported.
In action it looks like sign up sheets - projects, workshops, all staff incorporated and given training...
People collaborated. Sharing information and working together rather than being in competition with colleagues.
Growth mindset organisations result in lots more innovation as people have the confidence to take the risk. The school supports risk and failure, so long as lessons can be learned.
These are a more exciting and productive place to work and learn.

Into the Wider Community:
Teach the parents how to support the growth mindset.
Make it tie into the cultural values of the community.
Growing your brain so you can help you whanau.
Because we care for you, we will spend 6 hours a day growing your brain.
Student struggles with learning helps grow teacher's brains. 'Thanks for growing my brain!'

Abilities are capable of 1.5 - 2 years additional growth by using the Growth Mindset. As teachers we must be thinking that this is the HUMAN RIGHT of all students to be given this tool.

How to evaluate / measure mindsets: 
a short questionnaire that gets them to agree or disagree with simple statements. Everyone can become lots smarter.  Mindset Test

What does the GM look like in the classroom: 
Students begging to have their mistakes used as an example to help the class learn.
Use a pre-test then show improvement.
Promote the understanding that we can all lean this.
Culture of faster is not better - deeper is better.
Process praise  - encouragement.
Look for improvement over time.
Who has stuck to a challenge and make improvement.
No-one coasts or feels superior because they don't have to work.

Have you done research on how GM affects students with dyslexia or other learning disabilities: 
GM is especially important to these students.
Exhortation to effort is nagging and does not work.
These kids are struggling and need support to find the strategies that work for them.
Learn how to systematically test strategies for the most effective.

How can we change systems and policy so this becomes an expected approach:
We need to stop them from implementing this in the wrong way - being accountable for mindset and therefore doing it superficially.
It needs to be a school based approach.
We need to give permission to experiment - try new things.
Failure is part of the process of learning GM deeply.
Policy needs to be about rewarding experimentation and improvement.

What are the results of rewarding everyone for participating:
Every piece of praise or trophy sends a message about what you value. Don't give them out for nothing. They need to mean something! Focus on team spirit, improvement and attitude.
You have to earn it so it can be valued.

Gender differences with GM:
GM is particularly important for female, especially in 'non-female' stereotype subjects. The more they have a GM, the more they can withstand the negative stereotypes. These are a learned set of skills that they can learn.
Males seem to have a hardier confidence and less fear of mistakes. You get this from a GM.

Some subject disciplines have mindsets:
Some believe that their subject is about sheer brilliance while others believe that it requires hard work.

Ability grouping:
Sometimes the grouping works but it needs to be fluid rather than lasting for the whole year or school career. Does it mean we push one group and water down the curriculum to another group?
Always with the idea of changing groups as children change and improve.

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