The school year is starting, a good time to talk about favorite books and inspirations.
My favorite book about children and education is Mindset—the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychology professor. She sets out the advantages of a growth mindset, instead of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is based on effort, working hard, grit, believing that a student can learn, and, according to the book, even believing that a student who works hard can grow his/her brain! A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is based on a label—you are smart. You are pretty. You are not smart. You are lazy. Whatever the label. Students get stuck there and believe their futures are pre-ordained. Even worse, smart kids don’t try new things where they might fail because then the grown ups will see that they are really not smart. How liberating is the growth mindset—for all! Praise children for the effort, not their adult-perceived label. A great mantra for the start of the school year.
Some schools have adopted her approach, including, I believe, the Fieldston School in NY. And see Salman Khan’s Huffington Post, “The Learning Myth: Why I’ll never tell my son he’s smart.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/salman-khan/the-learning-myth-why-ill_b_5691681.html
Carol Dweck’s book tells me pretty much everything I need to know about what we are doing wrong. Let’s hope we get it right this year.
What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite inspiration?