Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol DweckJun 11, 2021
Thank you. Today I want to talk to you about the power of "yet." I learned in high school in Chicago where students had to pass eighty-four units to graduate and if they didn't pass they got the grade "not yet." I thought, isn't that wonderful? Because if you fail you won't get anywhere, but if you get a "not yet" grade, you're on a learning curve. "Not yet" opened the way for them to the future. And “not yet” also helped me understand a critical experience early in my career. To find out how children deal with challenges, I gave ten-year-olds some problems that were too difficult for them.
Some of them reacted in a surprisingly positive way. They said things like, "I love a challenge!" or "I was hoping this was informative!" They understood that their abilities could grow through their hard work. They had what I would call a “
mindset.” But for other children it was tragic, catastrophic from their more fixed-minded perspective: their core intelligence had been tested and devastated. Instead of the power of "yet," they were dominated by the "tyranny of now." So what did they do next? In one study, after failing a test, they said they would cheat next time instead of studying harder.
In another study they found someone who did worse than them in order to feel better. And in many studies we find that they flee from difficulties. Let's see what that looks like in the brain. Moser and his colleagues measured children's brains when they encountered errors. The processing error appears in red. If you look at the fixed
mindsetbrain on the left, nothing happens. But if you look at the right's
growthmindset, it's burning with "yet!" They are processing the mistake deeply, learning from it, and correcting it. So how are we raising our children? Are we considering them for growth now or for "yet"?
Are they focused on the next “A” or the test score instead of dreaming big? Instead of thinking about what they want to be and how they want to contribute to society? And if they are too focused on "A's" and test scores, are they going to continue this in the future? Maybe. Because a lot of employers come to me and say, "we've already created a generation of young workers who can't get through the day without a reward." So what can we do? How can we build that bridge to the “yet”? First, we can praise wisely. Our research shows that when we praise children for the process they engage in for their hard work, strategies, focus, and perseverance, they learn to seek out challenges.
They learn that resilience. Praising talent, praising intelligence makes them vulnerable. There are other ways to reward "yet." We partnered with a game scientist at the University of Washington to create a math game: Brain Points. The typical math game rewards correct answers, right now. But not the brain points. We reward the process and learning curve for effort, strategy and progress. The Brain Points game generated more sustained learning and perseverance than the standard game. And we believe that just the words "yet" and "not yet" after a student has had a setback creates greater confidence and greater persistence. We can also change the mindset of students directly.
In one study, we taught students that every time they stepped out of their comfort zone to learn something really difficult and stuck with it, the neurons in their brain could form new, stronger connections and, over time, could become stronger. intelligent. Those who learned this lesson showed a sharp increase in their grades. Those who did not showed a decrease. We have done this with thousands of students across the country with similar results. Especially for students with difficulties. So let's talk about equality. In our country there are groups of children who chronically underachieve and many people think that this is inevitable.
But when educators create growth mindset environments infused with “yet” equality can happen.” Let me give you a few small examples. One teacher took her Harlem kindergarten class, many of whom couldn't hold a pencil for The first month, they threw daily tantrums, took them to the 95th percentile on the National Achievement Test. That same teacher took a fourth grade class in the South Bronx - far behind - took them to the top of New York State in the state math test. She is a Stanford graduate and she is here today. And another Stanford graduate, doctoral student, now a teacher, returned to her Native American reservation in Washington state.
She transformed elementary school in terms of a growth mindset. That school had always been at the bottom of the district - at the bottom of the state! Within a year or a year and a half, the kindergarteners and first graders were at the top of the district in reading and reading readiness. sections of Seattle, so the reservation kids outnumbered the Microsoft kids. And they did it because learning a growth mindset transformed the meaning of effort and difficulty. It used to mean they were dumb and now it means they have a chance to become smarter. Difficulty simply meant "not yet." Last year I received a letter from a thirteen year old boy.
He said: "Dear Professor Dweck, I read your book. I liked the fact that it was based on solid scientific research. That's why I decided to try your growth mindset principles in three areas of my life. As a result, "I'm getting higher grades , I have a better relationship with my parents, I have a better relationship with the other kids at school. I realize that I have wasted most of my life." Let's not waste any more lives because the more we know that basic human capabilities can be developed, the more it becomes a basic human right for children - all children, all adults - live in environments that create that growth.
Live in environments full -overflowing- of "yet". Thank you.
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