[MTBoS Blaugust] New Teacher Orientation, Day 4

Today was the last day of the new teacher orientation. I’d rank it below the previous days, but it had some necessary stuff: license renewal info and continuing education. One cool thing they did was talked about Growth Mindset!

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At my school in NM, I found out about growth mindset through the MTBoS (twitter & blogs). It’s something that I had talked with my students about, and would even go so far as to say that I convinced some of my class of the validity and value of having a growth mindset.

Most of the talk was great, I’m just going to nit-pick one small thing some people were saying. There was a line that went something like this: “A fixed mindset focuses on the grade or the outcome while a growth mindset focuses on the process.”

I think I understand the sentiment behind this, but I want to push back on this a bit (if for no other reason than to start discussion!). Here’s my example/justification: LeBron James has a growth mindset when it comes to basketball. He works incredibly hard and (correctly) believes that this hard work makes him better at basketball. However, he is laser-focused on winning the NBA Finals, as that is one of the main things that, for many, will put him ahead of MJ in the argument for “greatest player ever”. The NBA Finals is an outcome: either you win or you don’t. Sure, he understands the process of improving himself as a player and athlete, but his focus is on the “assessment”.

I think equating fixed mindsets with “too much focus on the assessment” detracts from the main point of fixed vs. growth mindset discussions. The real core of it is showing students that hard work can improve intelligence and ability (or math ability). So what if they’re doing that just to get a better grade?

Agree or disagree? Discussion is welcome: please comment below or on twitter with me (@newmanmath)!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “[MTBoS Blaugust] New Teacher Orientation, Day 4

  1. Solvingforx

    Is it a fixed mindset to focus on grades because there is no opportunity to show growth after the initial assessment? I wonder how much of this type of fixed mindset exists because of the structure of a traditional grading system?

    • Hmm, perhaps. As an advocate of SBG, I’d like to say that has something to do with it! But if the LeBron analogy resonates with you, the NBA finals are a pretty summative assessment!

      But i agree that SBG, because it allows for growth on a grade, is much more “growth mindset oriented”. It is interesting/unfortunate that SBG didn’t come up as a subject in that growth mindset class.

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