In September, schools leaders engaged in a close reading of work by Carol Dweck (exemplar here) describing “fixed mindsets” and “growth mindsets.” The following video demonstrates how praising 5th graders for their intelligence versus their effort leads to the two aforementioned outcomes. If you know Dweck, you know the punch line. Praising students for their effort instills the motivation to persist through new and rigorous tasks. In this case, students are given simple puzzles to complete. As they work, they are either reminded how smart they are or how hard working they are. The students who hear how hard working they are continue through more challenging puzzles while the other group asks to return to easier puzzles.
Knowing how educators impact the development of “growth” and “fixed” mindsets becomes especially important as students are asked to wrestle with increasingly complex text and its academic vocabulary. You can watch the entire video here and gain a firmer understanding what you can do to help your students.
About Aaron Grossman
I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary.
Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here).
In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador.
I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at email@example.com