Dweck's research has huge implications for our classrooms as well as in our personal lives. Some of the book is dedicated to how we interact with children and how many of the classroom cultures and systems we have created actually work against our best intentions and desires to help students to become self-directed learners. One of the many benefits of being a standards based educator is affirmed through Dweck's research in that we need to help our students focus on the learning journey, not the end goal of achieving a "score".Dweck maintains that the myth of fixed intelligence is perpetuated every time we falsely praise our students for being smart or by categorizing students by what they can and can not do. One of my biggest takeaways from the book, is that despite my belief that all students can learn if provided the right supports, many of my actions, including the way I offer praise and feedback have been counterproductive.
Just last week, George Couros, a principal whom I recommend everyone read or follow on twitter, posted commentary on mindset vs skillset which echoes Dweck's research very nicely. As I read through his post, I found myself nodding along to many of his sentiments. Successful use of technology in our personal and professional lives is rarely about the skills we do or don't have. It's about building habitudes such as perseverance and open mindedness. It's about flexibility and patience. It's about problem solving and creativity. What also deeply resonated with me is how often I failed to model this for my students. If we want our students to persevere, to take risks, to be creative, to be flexible and patient, to problem solve, then we must be willing to hold ourselves to those same expectations. If we want our students to be growth minded, we must be growth minded. If we want our students to be focused on learning, we must be learners as well.