- Homeschooling: Making Education Natural Again - October 28, 2016
- Six Reasons Why Tests Suck - October 20, 2016
- I Remember When Teachers Were Allowed to Teach Their Passions - October 14, 2016
- By Not Allowing Your Children to Fail You Are Making Their Brains Smaller - October 13, 2016
- Why Poetry Is So Great for Teaching Growth Mindset - October 7, 2016
- Deliberate Practice and Growth Mindset - October 5, 2016
- Seven Steps to a Fresh Start for your Class - September 23, 2016
- How to Integrate Literacy into the Non-ELA Classroom - September 21, 2016
- How To Do A Focused Writing Bootcamp - September 16, 2016
- You Probably Shouldn’t Be a Teacher If… - September 12, 2016
When she first studied students to learn about how a growth mindset can be instilled in people, Carol Dweck gave kids puzzles. After successfully completing the somewhat easy puzzles, one group of kids was praised for their effort while the other was praised for their talent at puzzles or for being “good at puzzles.” Thus instilling the first group with a growth mindset about puzzles and the second group with a fixed mindset about their skill with puzzles.
After that initial praise of their puzzling abilities, students were given more challenging puzzles. The group that was given the fixed mindset praise was more likely to give up and, when given the opportunity to go back to the easier puzzles, jump at that chance. On the other hand, the group that was given the growth mindset praise was more likely to relish the challenges, including even when they were unable to complete the difficult puzzles. They knew that they were growing and learning when they were being challenged, because they had been praised for their effort. (And if you’d like to see this research in action, you can actually watch a Youtube video of it here.)
So time to get your students some puzzles, right? But how do you give puzzles to an ELA class?
One of my favorite ways to do that is with poetry. These are the reasons why poetry is so great for teaching growth mindset to your classes.
Most poetry is plenty challenging. From difficult word choice or syntax to complex takes on themes, poetry challenges students right from the beginning. Poetry also has that uncomfortable factor for most students—even if they understand what they are reading, it is a challenge to read something that is not written the way that most texts are.