New Year, New Mindset

After a very long hiatus, I have been drawn back to blogging by a challenge.  Though there are no prizes, Sam’s New Blogger Initiation was reason enough to jump back into this community.

Something new I have wanted to integrate into my classroom culture for several years is mindset coaching as developed by Carol Dweck.  The diagram below is a good summary of her work comparing students who have a fixed mindset to those who have a growth mindset.  The question is how can a teacher influence a student to change their mindset to a more growth oriented one?

My Berkeley colleague Marlo Warbuton developed a curriculum
based on Dweck’s book.

All of the documents below which I plan to use this fall were made by her.  During the first week of school, I’ll give the brainology survey and then allow students to share out their reactions.  After reading their responses that evening, I’ll share out my initial reactions and show them the fixed versus growth mindset diagram.  They’ll each get a copy to keep in their interactive notebooks (a place for both important class documents and math notes). For more on interactive notebooks, Sarah at Everyone is a Genius is the most organized crafty teacher I have ever come upon.

Then, once a week, we’ll spend 10 minutes discussing a quote.  These are quotes which Marlo compiled from Dweck’s book.  We’ll follow the same protocol each session:

Structure of the Coaching Lessons:

1.Students listen to the quotes of the day

2. Students think silently

3. Students share their thoughts in small groups

4. Students participate in a whole class discussion

5. Teacher shares her own personal response

 6. Students write a reflection

Last year, when Marlo did mindset coaching in her classroom, she used two quotes per session and tried to do it several times a week.  She found that it began to take up too much class time and has recommended to me that I do just one quote per class period, and one session per week.  I think that’s how I’ll start.

If you are familiar with Dweck’s work and have done similar mindset coaching with your students, I’d love to hear about it.  Also, I’m especially interested if anyone has done mindset coaching with adults.  I’m coaching my school’s math department this year and want to go through a very similar protocol each time we meet.  Not so that they’ll necessarily do this with their students, but so that my staff will begin to think about their own mindset in terms of how they approach teaching and their attitudes towards their students.  Now THAT is a work in progress…

8 thoughts on “New Year, New Mindset

  1. How awesome that you restarted blogging today! Someone asked about teaching kids integers and I remembered a post of yours, then thought “she hasn’t blogged in a while.” Glad that’s no longer true.

  2. Two years ago, I enrolled in our district sponsored Skillful Teacher course and we spent several hours discussing Dweck’s work and creating lessons regarding the growth mindset along with emphasizing effort, refraining from using personal statements of praise such as, “You are smart.” Next week I’ll be giving my students a questionnaire based their feelings about math to reveal their growth or fixed mindset and reinforce it throughout the year. The district I work in believes in this so much that they continue to offer the course during the school day and pay for substitutes. We also discussed attribution retraining.

    When I share the growth/fixed mindset to my sixth graders, I spread it out over the course of the year. For me it works better that way.

  3. Never heard of Dweck’s book but I’m glad you blogged about it. I love the idea of mindset coaching. I teach adults and I think that is something that could really be useful for them. I’m participating in the new blogger initiative too, thanks for sharing!

  4. Just cleaning out my in-box (finally!) and saw your blog e-mail (yeah, it has been a while!). In a random coincidence, I read the book a few weeks ago. I read the parenting chapters most closely, but also found the business ones super interesting (although sort of repeating what I’d already learned in school and books like “Good to Great, which Dweck cites quite a bit). Anyway, good for you for introducing these concepts to your kids and other teachers. This is a bit random, but if you’re ever looking for new curriculum to illustrate or reinforce these concepts, there’s a lot of great stuff in the “entrepreneurship” field. I used to do a lot of volunteer work with kids (mostly high school age) and “entrepreneurship,” which is basically just a euphemism for goal setting and working hard… and not being disappointed by “failures.” There’s tons of fun stuff out there, also good for teaching math skills. Anyway, good for you. Enjoy it (I’m sure you will!)

  5. @ Tina: Thanks for the encouragement. National Boards took every ounce of free time (and then some) last year. Hopefully I can keep the blogging more consistent this year. Speaking of which, I am excited to try to get our work published…let’s talk off line about it.
    @ misscalcul8: Jump in. I plan to spend just 10 min. per week for the whole first quarter. I hope since it’s not a huge time commitment I can actually keep it going.
    @Mary: Very cool that your district offers PD for teachers around these topics.
    @Victoria: Absolutely…I plan to give the initial survey to my classes at the end of this week and go from there. The teachers I coach will get it next week as well at our first coaching session, though I will revise the questions a bit to address them as teachers.
    @Jill: I haven’t heard much about Dweck’s work being used with adults, but it seems really important. We’ll see…
    @ Rachel: I might look into those ideas this year. Not sure if I have time in my math classes, but I like the idea and it’s an interesting one to connect to some of our after school programs.

  6. Allison, I am curious; are you still doing the mindset training 6 years later? Does it appear to be working? Or has it become a more integral part of your teaching and less explicit?

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