Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Reflection on Mindset by Dweck

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck.

The book had some really good things about mindsets. Some of it got a little cheesy, but overall, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to implementing it in my classroom with kids, relationships, and various other aspects of my life. Some of this stuff is ripe for teaching and education. So much so, some chapters of the book hammer away at that idea; how this plays out in education. Again, some of it feels forced, but I’m willing to try it.

Early in the text, Dweck discusses how the “fixed mindset” makes itself prevalent in schools. “They granted one test the power to measure their most basic intelligence now and forever. They gave this test the power to define them. That’s why every success is so important.” Although we're a long way from this now, I can see it starting to show up in the AP classes. The house of cards that some schools have build around GPA and AP scores is beginning to collapse under the weight of a shifting paradigm. So many kids are starting to worry about a GPA and such that they don’t have a self, and that’s sad.

Two good journal topics from the text:
    When do you feel smart?
    Do you think intelligence is fixed?

One of the things that I’ve got to tell my kids is that they have “the luxury of trying to grow.” There were some students I had last year that felt that “one evaluation can measure you [them] forever” (29). It’s crazy. I’m capable and understand that I can grow and that I can learn new things. Sometimes I look around at systems and feel that so many things are operating under a fixed mindset. Maybe that’s what is causing some of the cognitive dissonance with the young teachers. Perhaps they are feeling the rush of the future and everything around them is telling them that things are fixed. The power points, the need to just get through the next day, the idea that “you can’t save them all”. So, the dissonance is kicking in because so much of the living business of teaching is wrapped up in a fixed mindset. As such, there is a discordant notion between what they are seeing and experiencing and the feelings that are rushing through them. The buzz of teaching, creating, interacting with the very state of human identity and evolution. What a weird, weird, thing we do as teachers.

“How do we teach a growth mindset when the grading system is setup to perpetuate a fixed mindset?” is something that kept coming up in my annotations. How can we foster the love of learning in an authentic and safe environment when grades are due and for the kids at least, they are permanent? How can we teach them to take control of their own learning when they don’t even have control of their own schedule?

She says not to label kids. It perpetuates a fixed mindset. I’m only X, or Y.

"In our evaluations, we mustn't judge the students, but allow them to grow and learn" (188). I should definitely think about that in terms of the annotations I’m making. What does that look like in a class? Retaking tests? Conferences? Some would argue that we don’t have the time to enact those types of things or string them along. They would say, “what about the real world?” and I would respond, “If we want to change it, we have to change it.” We are sculpting the world right now. Every day.

The last 20 or so pages, I was just ready to finish it.

1 comment:

  1. Some more good questions from the book:
    "If you are somebody when you're successful, what are you when you're unsuccessful?" p. 32
    "If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it." p.40 Agree or Disagree?