Posted by Brian Williams on 10/2/2014 11:00:00 AM
Hello and welcome to my first Principal Post. My goal is to share my thoughts and ideas regarding middle school "life" in general and TMS in particular.
I've been recently intrigued by a powerful yet simple idea discovered by Stanford University psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck. Her concept of mindset and how it relates to motivation, achievement and success has multiple implications for middle school life. I'd like to give an overview of her research. Mindsets are beliefs individuals hold about their most basic qualities and abilities. Dr. Dweck has identified two mindsets, the Growth Mindset and the Fixed Mindset. I think you will see how this concept can be applied to a school setting. In a Growth Mindset, individuals believe they can develop their brains, abilities and talents. This view creates a love for learning, a drive for improvement and the resiliency and perseverance to accomplish difficult tasks. The Fixed Mindset person believes that basic qualities, such as intelligence and abilities are fixed and can't be developed. They believe that talent alone creates success and that effort is a sign of weakness or deficiency rather than an effective strategy to reach one's potential.
From Dr. Dweck - Whether human qualities are things that can be cultivated or things that are carved in stone is an old issue. What these beliefs mean for you is a new one. What are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something that you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait? What other thoughts and beliefs are generated from a certain mindset? If you only have a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality and a certain moral character, where does effort count, how do you view challenges and obstacles, how do you receive criticism and feedback?
Check out Dr. Dweck's work. Examine your own mindset. Look for examples of mindsets in action in your life. Let me know what you discover.