Five in five is five things or reasons in about five minutes on a specific topic.
Today's topic is the book "Mindset" by Carol Dweck
Carol Dweck discusses two different mindsets
You believe your basic qualities and intelligences are set in stone. These qualities are rigid and your basic abilities, intelligence, and talents, are just fixed traits.
Fixed-mindset individuals dread failure and their goal is to look good in front of others, and not look deficient in any area.
According to Dweck, "Growth Mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort." (Dweck 17)
Growth mindset individuals don't mind or fear failure as much because they realize their performance can be improved and learning comes from failure.
No Yelling on the Bus!
My fixed mindset mentality started in middle school when discussing academics. In elementary school I was a semi-bright student, that always got his work done, and finished his assignments. In middle school is when my confidence level stopped with academics. One distinct memory I have was in Dr. Sergeant’s Science class in seventh grade. We had to take an aptitude test to determine our future careers. I took this test as a seventh grader with high hopes. When I got the results back it was crushing - You are best suited for (dot dot dot)
Wow! Talk about a defeated moment. Let me say here, if you are a bus driver and that is your profession and what you love to do, then more power to you, but I don’t think that most seventh grade or middle school students' imaginations take them to being a bus driver. Especially with some of the scary bus drivers I had encountered in elementary school. Her name was Lee, and she used to always take a broomstick and hit it against the roof if the bus was getting too loud and yelled out “Quiet!”
As a kid your imagination is limitless, and this stupid test stymied this imagination. I have never forgotten this moment.
Here's the funny part...
I moved to Oklahoma City and was offered the job as Seventh Grade English Teacher/Coach at my current position, and the athletic director suggested all coaches to get their CDL, or in simpler terms - become a bus driver - needless to say it took me a little bit to finally get this yellow endorsement (two years).
And guess what!
I love driving a bus.
I have embraced this responsibility with smiles.
After this aptitude test, my academics didn’t mean much to me and athletics turned into my passion. There was a mindset disconnect between my academics and athletics. In my academics I had the fixed mindset thinking of I’m not that bright or smart, and would hide it behind my shyness.
I had a successful high school career as a basketball player.
In high school athletics I had the growth mindset mentality. I worked my butt off every day to be the best. I saw the rewards of my work ethic and mentality, with accolades, and a full scholarship to play in college. College was different. Players were faster, stronger, quicker and better than I was. Instead of overcoming those challenges I started developing that fixed mindset - "I’m too slow" -and- "I'm not quick enough to keep up."
Instead of my previous thinking "I’m going to work every day on my game, and I am not going to let anything stop me" - I defeated myself with my inner chatter. Now instead of a disconnect the fixed mindset started merging into my athletic growth mindset I had developed. This carried over into my twenties, until I started teaching and started having the work ethic mentality I had as a high school basketball player. I began to believe that if I worked hard enough I could be the best in my field. Of course, that negative inner dialogue began to creep back up when my confidence was threatened or compromised. I started to see this, and so this past summer I wrote down ten goals. One of those goals was to read four nonfiction books. I have had this goal in the past, but never followed through. I didn’t get started right away, but I was looking at my goals on a daily basis.
Quick fact about me - I have never been a reader. I have tried, and would really get into a book, but then after about a hundred pages, I would get bored and watch mind numbing TV to escape this failure and never return.
I was on my way to following the repetitive cycle of the past, until I wrote a blog called "5 Things all Teachers Should do on Their Summer Break." In that list I had - Read at Least Two Nonfiction Books. I wrote these words down and published them for a couple people to see. This simple blog post held me accountable.
I began with Dr. Google, and found a few ideas in order to overcome struggles with reading stamina. The one I found was chunking pages. Instead of looking at a book as a big task, if you chunk about 5-15 pages a day reading becomes less of an obstacle and more enjoyable. So I did this and finished the book in a week, and read Stephen King’s “The Shining” in about two weeks. I was developing a love for reading (only took thirty-six years).
This developing habit was a simple concrete goal of chunking. My mentality was starting to change, "Mindset" by Carol Dweck helped me to understand my thoughts and actions.
5 reasons to read "mindset"
1. Self Development
This book will help you realize what the thoughts in your head mean. Changing thoughts like “I’m not good enough," or "That’s the way it is" mentality to asking yourself, Why?
For instance, change the thought most of us have in this life
I can't lose weight.
Why can’t I lose weight?
I’m exercising and eating better?
I need to find out why.
You might start reading some nutrition articles online, learn about your body type, any habits you need to develop, or learn about why diets fail.
There is an answer, it’s easy to say: "I can’t lose weight -OR- "Must be hereditary," and go back to the regular roller coaster of trying and failing. The roller coaster that I have been on most of my life and still riding, but I am at least acknowledging the ride's map and course.
These two mindsets help you to see the differing viewpoints of people. Knowledge of the two mindsets is a great indicator of whom to hire.
According to Dweck:
“When you enter the world of the growth mindset leaders, everything changes. It brightens, it expands, it fills with energy, with possibility. Growth mindset leaders believe in human potential development both for themselves and other people."
Learning is a journey, not a destination.
3. Solidify your Goals
Most people; including myself, make plans to accomplish goals on a daily basis:
*catch up on work
If you're a teacher...
*fix weekly lesson plans
We then say...
“I’ll do it tomorrow!” -OR- “I’ll get it done this weekend!”
To no avail we don’t get it done!
What Dweck discusses is to stop vowing to do things and make concrete plans.
Instead of grading essays tomorrow, plan specific times of the day and scheduled breaks between each twenty minute block.
Write down some obstacles you plan on facing that may hinder you from accomplishing your goal. For example, a football game you can't resist, or your phone constantly going off.
What would be some remedies for these roadblocks?
4. Refine Parenting skills
I am not a parent, but if I ever become one, I am grateful I have this book as a reference.
According to Dweck,
"We should stay away from praise that judges their intelligence or talent." (Dweck 198)
The book goes in depth with this, and examples that stood out to me are simple praises such as: “You’re so smart!” -OR- "You're so creative," are a detriment to children. It makes them lock up that mentality of "I better not fail," or he/she won’t think I’m smart/creative." This is a heavy burden to place on anyone, let alone a young child.
Start by just being aware of the messages you are sending
"Are they messages that say: You have permanent traits and I'm judging them? -OR- are they messages that say: You're a developing person and I'm interested in your development?" (Dweck 235)
5. Refine Teaching Skills
Dweck says: “The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning. If you can have a joy in the learning process of both you and your students then success will inevitably happen." (Dweck 217 & 236)
Lowering standards doesn't equate better self-esteem by the student. Also, neither does raising the standard without proper scaffolding of that high standard.
Dweck gives many examples in her book of successful teachers developing their students in the growth mindset classroom, and how these teachers love of learning gives them the edge.
Carol Dweck revisited the book in a blog post on EDWEEK (September 2015)
"A growth mindset isn’t just about effort. Perhaps the most common misconception is simply equating the growth mindset with effort. Certainly, effort is key for students’ achievement, but it’s not the only thing. Students need to try new strategies and seek input from others when they’re stuck."
"We also need to remember that effort is a means to an end to the goal of learning and improving. Too often nowadays, praise is given to students who are putting forth effort, but not learning, in order to make them feel good in the moment." CAROL DWECK (EDWEEK) SEP 2015
Dweck also discusses that we need to acknowledge our fixed mindset.
"Let’s legitimize the fixed mindset. Let’s acknowledge that (1) we’re all a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, (2) we probably always will be, and (3) if we want to move closer to a growth mindset in our thoughts and practices, we need to stay in touch with our fixed-mindset thoughts and deeds. If we “ban” the fixed mindset, we will surely create false growth-mindsets. But if we watch carefully for our fixed-mindset triggers, we can begin the true journey to a growth mindset." Carol Dweck (Edweek) Sep 2015
This book changed my life. I realized this life is learning, that I can be anything I want to be, if I work at it and not be afraid to fail.
My destiny is determined by my mind and not my circumstance.
My happiness in life transformed from autopilot to the one in control.
I shape my happiness, and if I don’t know how to get there then I figure it out - and ask the question - Why?
Dweck, Carol. "Carol Dweck Revisits the 'Growth Mindset'" Education Week. 29 Sept. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.
Jon Belt lives in
The Teacher Tunnel Podcast is an entertaining and authentic look at the teacher leaders in education and beyond. What are their habits, routines, and strategies? As a teacher and learner, Jon Belt wants to bring great people and thinkers to the surface and share their thoughts and insights about teaching, learning, self-improvement, and education.
Jon Belt is a middle school teacher in Oklahoma City, and the host of the Teacher Tunnel Podcast.
If you're not struggling, you're not living, you're not learning."