Sunday, February 27, 2011

Carol Dwek- Growth Mindsets and Motivation

Changing motivation from money to purpose

Carol Dwek - Self Theories of Motivation:   full reading
Incremental/Maleable vs Fixed Entity Intelligence

Ch 1 Meaning Systems - People develop beliefs that organize their world and give meaning to their experiences(and justify them).  Different people's beliefs can create different psychological worlds leading them to think, feel and act differently in identical situations.

Mastery orientation = Successful individuals love learning, seek challenges, value effort and persist in the face of obstacles.
The Theory of maleable intelligence leads to mastery oriented qualities.- you learn from mistakes, taking risks, facing difficult situations, being stretched and failing.

Self esteem is not something we give to people by telling them they are clever, but something they get for themselves by teaching them to value learning over the appearance of smartness. - to relish challenge and effort and to use errors as routes to mastery.

2 reactions to failure are 1. Helplessness as in once failure is immenent one believes that the situation is out of their control. vs 2. Mastery oriented patterns

Ch 3 Looking Smart vs Learning - depends on if you see challenges as tests of intelligence or opportunities to learn new things. This is dependent on the way goals are set or viewed:
1. Performance goals - to look smart or intelligent or avoid looking dumb
2. Learning goals - desire to increase competence, learn new skills, master new tasks, understand new things- desire to get smarter. - more likely to choose harder challenges and be persistent in adversity.
These are not mutually exclusive but can be in conflict- Either choose a task that will make you look smart or one that you may look dumb at but learn something new.

Therefore - Set up tasks as opportunities to learn new things and get smarter, not as tests of how clever you are. When children are focused on measuring themselves from their performance , failure is more likely to provoke  a helpless response. When children are focused on learning, failure is likely to provoke  continued effort.

4. We can influence the way students view intelligence
- eg the brilliance of Da Vinci and Einstein was a result of their actions and environment not their genes.
When students have a fixed view of intelligence, those who most need remedial work are those most likely to reject it. They begin to have overriding concerns about looking smart and begin to sacrifice learning opportunities when there is a threat of exposing their deficiencies.
If you are an entity theorist and you fail it means you are thick- this means summative tests and exams are high risk, horrifying and demotivating. If you are a learning theorist they could be used as tools to get smarter with.- depends how you set it up.
 Every time people meet a challenge, exert mental effort and learn something new, their brain grows neurons and they get smarter

6, The Meaning of Effort
In fixed intelligence making a lot of effort or struggling  means your dumb. Its only the winners who feel smart, and only if they didn't have to work to hard to win
This is sad because  students may never come to value effort. Effort gives meaning to life. It means you care about something, that it is important, and you are willing to work for it.
In Incremental intelligence effort is what turns on peoples intelligence and allows them to use it to their full advantage. + it can foster a more collaborative atmosphere among students because everyone can feel smart by applying their intellectual abilities to the problems they face.

Often we praise students for their performance on easy tasks and tell them they are smart  when they do something quickly and perfectly. This is not teaching them to welcome challenge and learn from errors. We are teaching them that easy success means they are intelligent and that  errors and effort mean they are not. - Instead we should apologise for wasting their time  and direct them to something more challenging. In this way we may begin to teach them that meaningful success requires effort.

12 Belief in Potential to Change:  Nature vs Nurture. 
If a student believes a being can be nurtured for change and is therefore maleable he she is more likely to have an incremental approach to learning and believe in potential to learn/change grow.......
In an incremental mindset currently low skills and knowledge do not rule out high skills and knowledge later on. Assume achievement is the end point of a process.  Assumes that rehabilitation is possible.
Entity, fixed intelligence  theorists give up on others- they don't grant people the potential to grow, not themselves, not others. Incremental theorists see their own failures as problems to be solved and the same for others too.

16. More Praise That Backfires
-Praise for intelligence might make children shy away from challenging learning tasks that could jeopardize our positive judgment of them.
When children are praised for their intelligence after a job well done this increases their vulnerability. so they may be afraid of failure next time as they would lose status. Intelligence praise makes students so focused on performance goals that they will lie about their failure and it reinforces entity fixed intelligence theory
- Better to praise effort, process and strategies used to get there rather than final success. So that when they hit obstacles they can be confident of using learning processes and not afraid of failure.

17. Misconceptions About Self Esteem and How to Foster it.
We assume that having good self esteem is instilled by telling children how clever or good they are and puffing them up and helping them succeed. So we exaggerate the positives and hide the negatives, fearing that negative criticism will damage self esteem. like entity theory where children need constant success to feel good about themselves. When we boost their egos, hide deficiencies instead of helping them overcome them, and eliminate obstacles instead of teaching them to cope with them. This conveys entity theory, telling them intelligence is the most important thing. This may teach them to feel entitled to easy success and lavish praise for minor success. - recipe for disaster when world doesn't fall over itself to praise them or make them feel good or when the world makes harsh demands or rejects them.

Different view
We want our children to have basic self worth and know that they are respected and loved but after that self esteem is not something we give them. It is something they are in charge of. We can simply teach them how to live their lives so that they will experience themselves in positive ways. So its not something you have or don't have- but a way of experiencing yourself when you are using your resources well- to master challenges, to learn  to help others. Within an incremental framework self esteem is how you feel when you are striving hard to understand something new, when you master things independently, and use knowledge to help others.- What feeds your self esteem-meeting challenges with high effort and using abilities to help others- is what leads to a productive and constructive life.
To encourage this we can model enthusiasm for challenging tasks  and encourage positive attitudes to challenge in them, and we can tell students the truth. tell them where they are at and what they need to do to reach their goals.
When self esteem is derived from your own striving, from the use of your own efforts and abilities, it is not in conflict with others, Thus within the incremental framework, rather than being rivals for self esteem, peers can gain self esteem by co-operating and helping each other.

My Conclusions
So this complements personalised learning and close relationships
1. Find out where the learner is at
2. Discuss honestly where they are at and what needs to be done to achieve a goal
3. Praise effort and strategies for trying to get there.
- allows different students to be at different stages and support their progress not their performance.
- encourage students to get better at the way they do things.
- Turn exam revision into a game of improving skills.  Exam doesn't measure your intelligence, it measures how well you have practiced and developed skills and knowledge so you can take control of your grade. By practicing now and learning how to do hard questions you can influence your grade a great deal.
get smarter for exams by practicing specific skills like thee guys, they weren't born with it,, they developed their intelligence

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