Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (2014) speaks of “growth mindsets”

In previous posts, I’ve spoken of Ellen Langer’s concept of mindful learning (based on her particular definition of mindfulness) and have also spoken of research about how we learn, the concept of the organized mind, and how to maintain “memory fitness.”

tips for studying smarter

I was thinking about the above-related topics when I came across a Feb. 7, 2015 Vox article via Twitter that I found of much interest. The article is entitled: “Re-reading is inefficient. Here are 8 tips for studying smarter.”

The 8 tips are:

1) Don’t just re-read your notes and readings

2) Ask yourself lots of questions

3) Connect new information to something you already know

4) Draw out the information in a visual form

5) Use flashcards

6) Don’t cram — space out your studying

7) Teachers should space out and mix up their lessons too

8) There’s no such thing as a “math person”

This item is No. 8. It happens that WordPress, which serves as the software platform for this website, interprets a No. 8 with a closing bracket as a happy face with sunglasses – which brings to mind Malcolm Campbell High School alumni who like to spend their winters in Mexico. But I digress:

Regarding the latter topic – that there’s no such thing as a “math person” – the article notes:

“There’s some really interesting work by Carol Dweck, at Stanford. She’s shown that students tend to have one of two mindsets about learning.

It turns out that mindsets predict how well students end up doing

“One is a fixed learning model. It says, ‘I have a certain amount of talent for this topic — say, chemistry or physics — and I’ll do well until I hit that limit. Past that, it’s too hard for me, and I’m not going to do well.’ The other mindset is a growth mindset. It says that learning involves using effective strategies, putting aside time to do the work, and engaging in the process, all of which help you gradually increase your capacity for a topic.

“It turns out that the mindsets predict how well students end up doing. Students with growth mindsets tend to stick with it, tend to persevere in the face of difficulty, and tend to be successful in challenging classes. Students with the fixed mindset tend not to.

“So for teachers, the lesson is that if you can talk to students and suggest that a growth mindset really is the more accurate model – and it is – then students tend to be more open to trying new strategies, and sticking with the course, and working in ways that are going to promote learning. Ability, intelligence, and learning have to do with how you approach it – working smarter, we like to say.”

[End of exerpt]


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