This is an amazing TED Talk from Carol Dweck and speaks to the power of teaching a kid to keep trying. Angela Duckworth calls it “grit” and calls for making kids “grittier” but one thing we have to remember is that a lot of the time “at risk” students have never see someone be successful. They were raised in the Homer Simpson school of philosophy “Kids, you tried hard and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.”
We laugh when that is on our television but the problem is that students need to see and experience success before they ever believe they can achieve it. At the very least they need to be cheered as they work through the process, not for their successes but for their efforts. Think about the first time a child tries to walk, they are never very successful. But we coach them through it, we praise their efforts and push them to keep trying. Eventually they are running all over the house and we wonder why we even wanted them to be mobile in the first place. I believe that all children are born with a growth mindset, we often just pound it out of them.
What if this was your approach when teaching students:
Could you be unsuccessful? So, like Carol Dweck says, lets start pushing kids towards the Yet and have them focus on that. This will require a complete turnaround from how most of us approach education. We have been conditioned to believe that students who don’t know something by the test date are out of luck and should have tried harder. This is the process that pounds out growth mindset. Our goal as educators should be finding ways to harness the YET and harnessing growth mindset. Because no body in the world can succeed alone – Ernesto Sirolli, and you can’t learn anything unless you make mistake – Benjamin Zander.