After just reading the first few chapters of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, I knew that I wanted to at least share the concepts of growth and fixed mindsets with my students. After reading, the chapter “Parents, Teachers, and Coaches: Where to Mindsets Come From?”, I realized that sharing the mindsets with my students would not be enough. If want mindsets to become part of the campus culture of San Pasqual Academy, I need to reach the adults, too.
Over the past few weeks, I have become increasingly aware of the popularity of mindsets among educators. Mindset is a popular hashtag, mindset infographics and articles are commonly tweeted, and many users list the mindset in their Twitter profiles. I have even received direct Twitter messages from a user stating that she is “on a mission to spread the growth mindset.” So, I was not surprised to discover that will minimal search effort, I was able to find an abundance of mindset resources.
While collecting resources, I stumbled upon the upcoming conference Academic Mindsets : Promoting Positive Attitudes, Persistence and Performance hosted by Learning and the Brain. However, once I saw the registration price of $499, I scratched it off my list. My district supports professional development, but that seems a little pricey. Additionally, the conference is not until February 2016 and I want to bring mindsets to my school this fall. I also discovered many fee-based resources that support Mindsets, including Mindset Works’ Brainology Program, which costs $6,000 per school site. Again, I moved on.
Next, I considered the idea of using the free mindset resources available online to create and facilitate a mindset professional development session for the school staff at my site. When I remembered our already packed professional development agendas, I thought of asking my district and our partner agencies to purchase copies of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and host book clubs throughout the year. And then I remembered by preexisting list of special projects and decided that it would be unwise to start another project that would take my time away from directly supporting the learning taking place in my own classroom.
Wait! Classroom? Project? Oh! I already know the perfect way to integrate the growth mindset into my campus!
Instead of using mindset as an add-on, I decided to directly integrate it into my curriculum. Since my site is switching to block schedules and trimesters this year, I already plan to implement at least one large problem-based learning unit into each course. I am going to use Mindset as one of these large projects; the students will read the book as an anchor text and participate in problem-based learning based on Dwek’s key concepts.
Instead of a whole-class novel, I am going to teach a whole-class informational text. I will request a class set of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success from my district. I plan to customize the rhetorical reading and writing strategies utilized in the California State University’s Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum to help my students comprehend and analyze the text. We will focus on key ideas, craft and structure, and writing explanatory texts.
Instead of teaching about mindsets, I am going to have my students develop their own growth mindsets and teach others about mindsets. I will build the project by following the Buck Institute for Education’s Project Based Learning Project Planner template. The following is a summary of the project.
Dweck, Carol (2006-02-28). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.