I can file this week’s readings under “Tough Pills To Swallow”… I do not have a growth mindset.
In the article Even Geniuses Work Hard by Carol Dweck, I was struck by how much I saw myself in the descriptions of students with Fixed Mindsets.
I was in gifted programs and accelerated classes throughout school, even skipping 4th grade and finishing my high school classes in 3 years. I went to college at 16 and had no problem doing well in classes. Looking back, though, I see that I shied away from challenges throughout my education. I stopped playing basketball when I stopped getting taller because I knew I would have to work harder to be as good as the taller girls. I dropped out of my AP classes in high school because they were more in-depth than I wanted to go and took more time than I wanted to devote to them. I would be going to college early anyway, so why worry about getting credits in high school? I didn’t apply for the music program at Georgia State even though I’d played violin since I was 3 because the longevity of my training no longer put me above those who worked hard and practiced- the kids who had only started in middle school were beginning to pass me by. I knew I was smart so I saw nothing to be gained from a challenge.
While Dr. Dweck’s article and video helped me understand that I do not currently have a growth mindset, Eduardo Briceno’s video helped me understand what I need to change. I need to realize that I am not simply good at some things and not good at others. This isn’t about pessimism vs optimism. Believing that I am simply “a natural” at something stunts me just as much as believing that I’m just not good at it. Both mindsets are fixed and hinder growth.
During Briceno’s video I also learned how I can affect the mindset of my students with my praise. “You must have tried really hard,” as opposed to “you must be really good at this” teaches students that the process is praiseworthy, not the result and students who are given growth-mindset praise are more inspired to challenge themselves.
When I look back at my learning goals from my first blog post, I see that at least 2 if not all 3 of the goals are fixed. They are achievable points on a checklist that I hope to check off and be done with. I will have achieved my first goal when I feel I have an active PLN formed. While having a PLN is important and remains one of my goals, I now recognize that the development and use of that PLN is the goal, not just its formation. My third goal was to have a plan for what I want to do with my instructional technology degree. Again, this goal is about the result, not the process. The goal should be to continue forming ideas related to my future career, continuing my quest for information and inspiration and eventually finding a job that allows me to further that quest.