Monday, August 13, 2012

Talent vs Skill

Today I attended a data retreat for all the department heads, curriculum leaders, etc. in my district.  (Had to sit at the superintendent's table!)  It was a morning of lots of specific data and goal-setting for the year, but there was also a discussion on the concept of a growth vs. a fixed mindset. 

Basically a student (or adult) with a fixed mindset believes that the intelligence he is born with is all that he has to work with.  A student with a growth mindset believes that he can grow significantly in intelligence through work.  This may seem fairly obvious, but one take-away I had was how this applies in the way we validate student work.  The emphasis should be less on the final product or on the student's ability to complete a task quickly because this implies a fixed mindset and may lead to some students giving up with they cannot get a task done quickly or on the first attempt.  Rather, we should praise students for endurance throughout a task, for making good choices in completing his or her work, and even for making errors that show the student is trying.  This shows the emphasis is on growth.

We also watched this video that ATP and I showed our students last year.  It's a good one, even if you just use the first chunk with students.  Will Smith shares his beliefs on the value of hard work:

Lay those bricks!

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