Step 3 B: The Effort Effect

The Effort Effect: This article highlights the work of Carol Dweck around growth and fixed mindsets.

After reading the article, use the comment section below to cite one phrase, sentence, or chunk of text that resonated with you and discuss why. Read through a sampling of responses from your colleagues to learn about how others think about fixed and growth mindsets.

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1,263 thoughts on “Step 3 B: The Effort Effect

  1. Andrea Smith says:

    The sentence that resonated with me is, “Just being aware of the growth mindset, and studying it, and writing about it, I feel compelled to live it…” Wow, learning that the attributions you make determines how you relate to helplessness and mastery. I like the research part. The psychology of growth mindset. Dwecks’ study is grounded in research. The way we think and behave determines how we will react to setbacks. I was always one of those who gave up. Rather than trying something new, I would say to myself, “But I do this so well, or I’m not going through that again.” My students will be new this year, and I will be in a bran new field, so I will have to step off the boat and use a growth mindset to support and be more aware of the way my students assign attributes and the way I look at my future.

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  2. San Fernando High - Mettlen says:

    “Culture can play a large role in shaping our beliefs, Dweck says. A college physics teacher recently wrote to Dweck that in India, where she was educated, there was no notion that you had to be a genius or even particularly smart to learn physics. “The assumption was that everyone could do it, and, for the most part, they did.” But what if you’re raised with a fixed mind‐set about physics—or foreign languages or music? Not to worry: Dweck has shown that you can change the mind‐set itself.” This intrigued me because maybe this really is just a matter of changing our mindset. So many times we look at other cultures and countries as being smarter that us in the states, but it makes sense that it really isn’t about smarts, its about growing up in a growth mindset culture.

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  3. Loyda Ramos says:

    This is a wonderful article that not only highlights the key point of a changing mindsets, but it also puts it into context. One phrase that really resonated with is taken directly from the article …’Her advice for the Rovers rings true for anyone stuck in a fixed mind‐set. “Changing mind‐sets is not like surgery,” she says. “You can’t simply remove the fixed mind‐set and replace it with the growth mind‐set.” ‘ In my experience with teaching a growth mindset in my own classroom, I have learned that changing another individuals mindset is not that simple. Some individuals are more “moldable” than others by nature. Other individuals on the other hand, are more fixed in their thinking. In their mind something is the way it is because it simply is. They are more apprehensive to changing something that has worked for them or simply cannot be easily open to “change”.

    While I don’t think it is ever too late to change ones mindset, I believe that the younger you start instilling this belief of changing mind-sets, the better! However, I also strongly believe that I can begin to mold those students with fixed mind-sets through modeling it in my own classroom, patience, and perseverance. One example is that I can “think out loud” and model how I process making a mistake and my reaction to it. I can also model how putting an effort into something will help me improve in anything I set my mind to. I really enjoyed reading this article because I want to strongly encourage my students to not give up but rather put all their efforts into persevering at a challenging task.

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  4. S Duran says:

    My favorite quote from the article is: “… the difference between the helpless response and its opposite—the determination to master new things and surmount challenges—lay in people’s beliefs about why they had failed. People who attributed their failures to lack of ability, Dweck thought, would become discouraged even in areas where they were capable. Those who thought they simply hadn’t tried hard enough, on the other hand, would be fueled by setbacks.” How many times in the classroom some of our students have sat an entire semester (or even a school year) without even trying any activity you have proposed to them? They have remained in a state of helplessness since…? Growth mind-set requires to change what has taken years to learn: “I’m not smart”, or “I’m not good”. Patience and an array of activities that can lead to engagement, rather than practicing what feels good and safe. We need to take small steps in the classroom that may lead to that one giant leap towards determination and positive attitude.

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  5. But psychologically, explains Dweck, many people who believe in fixed intelligence also think you shouldn’t need hard work to do well
    THis resonates with me because Dweck is saying that people who are good at something often think they are just good and don’t need to practice. I find that many of my stduetns that easily catch on to the math concepts that I am teaching feel this way. THey often say that I am just too hard of a teacher or my tests are too hard when I think that even if you catch on quickly to a concept practice is what helps you master it and transfer it to a novel situation which is what I am striving for my students to do.

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  6. Irineo Yanez says:

    “The fallacy comes when people generalize it to the belief that effort on any task, even very hard ones, implies low ability,”

    This quote resonated with me because I find it to be true. People see hard work as a negative in the sense that if you work hard at something it must be because you are no good at it. This is a fixed mindset kind of thinking. Many people don’t want to work hard at learning new skills but instead want to stick to what they know already. People believe that things should come easy and that you should not have to work so hard at skills.

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  7. LETICIA CALLELA AUSTIN says:

    “The belief that you can’t improve stunts achievement.”
    This sentence stuck out to me because it describes a very specific set of students that walk into my classroom at the beginning of the year. Many students walk into the music class believing that music is easy and that they are going to coast. When they realize that it isn’t as easy as it seems, some students give up – two weeks into the class. They believe that they can’t learn the content, and so the small tasks that they are given to do is quite difficult for them to complete. I’ve had conversations with a few of these individuals and it always comes back to this: “I can’t learn, Ms. I really want to play, but I don’t want to mess up.”

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  8. M. Seestedt says:

    In the article, The Effort Effect the part that resonated with me was when Dweck conducted an experiment on students that were labeled “helpless.” Deck found that, “These kids fit the definition perfectly: if they came across a few math problems they couldn’t solve, for example, they no longer could do problems they had solved before—and some didn’t recover that ability for days…the experimenters trained half the students to chalk up their errors to insufficient effort, and encouraged them to keep going. Those children learned to persist in the face of failure—and to succeed. The control group showed no improvement at all, continuing to fall apart quickly and to recover slowly.”

    This resonated with me because I commonly see this amongst my students. I have had students that don’t try and feel like they aren’t smart and will say “I’m not smart! or “I’m not going to college so why should I care?”

    From reading this, I’m learning solutions and thinking about howI can create a classroom learning environment that fosters a growth mindset.

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  9. laurenvaron says:

    “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’”

    This quote from the article really stood out to me. Failure is just a self or socially created construct that we push onto ourselves or others. My 8-year-old students already have an understanding of what failure means but sadly it’s because they have learned it from schools, teachers, parents, and their peers. The ability to see a problem and then try something new or in a different way is so important.

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  10. Susan Enman says:

    There were several phrases in this text that resented with me, but perhaps the most weighty statement was in the conclusion. It is the teacher becoming the student. “Just being aware of the growth mind‐set, and studying it and writing about it, I feel compelled to live it and to benefit from it,” says Dweck, who took up piano as an adult and learned to speak Italian in her 50s. “These are things that adults are not supposed to be good at learning.” It inspires me on a personal level to practice what I preach. I am even more convicted that everyone can learn. There are so many things that I have given over to be unable to learn, however reading that last statement inspires me to take on new challenges.Barring being a gymnast, which my two hip replacements preclude me from doing, I can take real life stories back to my students to serve as inspiration. It also will limit to amount of joking I will do about myself being too ‘old’ to learn. I need to put my money where my mouth is.

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  11. Rick G says:

    I found Diener’s statement a powerful idea: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’” In addition to not giving up or giving I to the “I can’t do it” mode, this reminds us that we must actively look for new approaches to learning. I also think this is essential for student mindsets and that instructors can reinforce this by providing multiple, stystemic opportunities for learning so that the student remains open, without feeling like a failure, to mastering a skill.

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  12. Noe Solares says:

    I find it very interesting that the most talented soccer players disdained serious training. In school, that is what happens with grades, the most talented students disdained doing the classwork or homework which is reflected in their grades. So it is important to provide challenging assignments for those talented students to keep them engaged, and easier assignments for other studenst so they don’t get frustrated.

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  13. Angelique McNiff says:

    In her article, “The Effort Effect”, Dweck gives advice to the soccer team who is trying to change a fixed mind-set in star players, those who deem the necessity to practice as an indicator they are not a star. The coach realizes that it is best to work with the rookies as the stars have no incentive to change their mindset as they already earn millions and accolades. In the article it says, “Her advice for the Rovers rings true for anyone stuck in a fixed mind‐set. ‘Changing mind‐sets is not like surgery,’ she says. ‘You can’t simply remove the fixed mind‐set and replace it with the growth mind‐set.’” This quote indicates the need to develop growth mindset in people as young as possible as those who find success with what they believe is innate talent lack motivation to strive to improve. It also indicates the challenges and effort needed to make changes for most of our students who may not want to risk what they perceive as failure instead of a challenge.

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  14. Jenny Burman says:

    Krakovsky explains the growth mindset. “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’” This means that growth mindset is taking the negative connotation out of failure. When she refers to it as, “information” it destigmatizes failure. Instead of hiding a mistake, it is a signal to follow and adapt one’s path. If someone has this attitude they can grow from the information they receive and improve.

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  15. STEPHANIE MIRANDA says:

    ” Many kids believe they’re invariably good or bad; other kids think they
    can get better at being good. Dweck has already found that preschoolers with this growth mind‐set feel okay about
    themselves after they’ve messed up and are less judgmental of others; they’re also more likely than kids with a fixed
    view of goodness to try to set things right and to learn from their mistakes. ”

    I have taught special education preschool-5th grade and I’ve seen kids at every grade level have a view of themselves that is fixed. It is heartbreaking to see a child think they are “bad” when they are only 4 years old, or view others as bad, and don’t shift that mindset. Many parts of this article were important to me as well.

    “The big
    surprise: some of the children who put forth lots of effort didn’t make attributions at all. These children didn’t think
    they were failing. Diener puts it this way: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t
    work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’” During one unforgettable moment, one boy—something of a
    poster child for the mastery‐oriented type—faced his first stumper by pulling up his chair, rubbing his hands together,
    smacking his lips and announcing, “I love a challenge.”

    This was an awesome section, children don’t necessarily use the language adults use and their mindset can have such a powerful impact on education.

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  16. Sonya Kinsey says:

    According to Carol Dweck, “Students with learning goals take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn.”

    I believe this is such a healthy mind-set. This type of learning is learning through perseverance, leading to a lifetime of achievement. I also believe through mastery grading will support and encourage all students to be risk takers with perseverance, through the learning. I have had several students with this growth mind-set. Those students are always risk takers, asking what can I do to do better, or can I please try it again. Having this type of growth mind-set, in which the students have a desire to develop and learn as much as one can learn, will contribute to a successful lifetime of learning.

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  17. Allison Conant says:

    You know it’s interesting for me to reflect back on my own academic experience as a child. I’d been raised in a household in which I read constantly, so in so many ways school and a traditional academic experience was very easy for me. I was aware when I was shutting down to something and I knew I was doing it out of choice, not because I didn’t get it. That seems like such a luxury now because so many of our students don’t really get that. Diener puts it this way: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’” — that’s a complex idea that takes reprogramming for some students. Plus we are fighting an “instant gratification” predilection in society.

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  18. Maria E. Guzman says:

    In this article, the following quote resonated with me, “The key, she found isn’t ability, it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated, or as something that can be developed.” This quote took me back to the first time I took an art class in college and I was asked to draw a self-portrait. I was extremely nervous and self conscious that when the instructor walked by, I would make every effort to cover up my scribble scrabble. But after reading this article, especially the part that talks about students who drew beautiful pictures after changing their mindset, I got motivated to try drawing or learning to draw. I don’t ever want to say, “I can’t draw”. I want to say, “I can’t draw YET, but I will real soon!

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  19. Sophia Kang says:

    A quote that stood out to me was: “The fallacy comes when people generalize it to the belief that effort on any task, even very hard ones, implies low ability,” Dweck says. This challenges the misconception that those who are born with an innate knack for a skill do not have to develop their skills. Whether naturally talented or not, both groups require effort in order to do well. What keeps one group less successful than the other is the unbudging efforts in the name of keeping cool. It’s similar to the tortoise and hare story–no matter how talented, we equally need to be okay with mistakes and learning from them.

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  20. Brenda Casanova says:

    “The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.”

    This quote resonated with me because it highlights how it’s not our ability that always determines our success in life but our attitude or mindset about things. The article highlighted the difference between people who rely on ability to get them somewhere in life, versus folks who have developed a strong mindset about life. Changing our mentality and attitude towards life can make a big difference when we want to achieve something or even give up on ourselves. I also appreciated that the article talked about how our culture influences our attitudes about ourselves and our notions of success. It was interesting that in India, all students were perceived as capable of learning physics. However, I don’t think I felt the same way or push when I was in high school. I wonder if I had learned about how to change my attitude towards something like Physics for example, if I would have been more successful because I would have realized that the power was in the way I perceived Physics not necessarily if I was already good at it.

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  21. AmberK says:

    I haven’t been able to dig deep in Carol Dweck’s research, but I have been promoting a growth mindset with the few articles and materials I have read over the past three years. It was nice to read this article and learn a little more about her decades worth of research, and I think the key to promoting the growth mindset in the classroom is to begin young. I have been teaching a high school summer school class and I have been trying to impart this with the students whom have failed the class and are trying to do credit recovery. This quote from the article really stood out…”the Rovers are starting their workshops with recent recruits—their youngest, most malleable players. (Faulkner realizes that players who’ve already earned millions from being “naturals” have little incentive to reshape their brains.)”
    The high school students have been resistant to believing they can change that mindset about their abilitiies in math. I have had success with my fourth graders beginning early the idea that mistakes are important and the brain is a muscle that requires challenges and mistakes to help it grow.

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  22. Shareen Gochoel says:

    The phrase in the article that resonated with me was that “Many kids believe they’re invariably good or bad; other kids think they can get better at being good”. I hear students claim that they are “bad kids” quite often. I think it would be great to have some phrases on the tip of my tongue to respond to those students and help them learn a growth mindset to their actions. For example, “You will be better tomorrow”, “tomorrow is a new day to work on that”, “well I guess you know what to work on”…

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  23. Stefnie Evans says:

    On page 2 of the article it states:
    Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process. For them, each task is a challenge to their self‐image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any endeavor. Students with learning goals, on the other hand, take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn.

    This quote stuck out to me because I think teachers are looking for motivators in students, which is a student’s “why” for trying or attempting something in learning. The inevitability of learning is that a challenge is going to come which will require a learner to consider past information and methods of learning, build on them to grow into a new understanding. Students who are performance minded will be unwilling to go through the process of building new knowledge. Teachers, I feel, are in essence always looking for the key to unlock an underachieving student’s motivation. If only a “how to” manual came with every student.

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  24. Michael Dang says:

    “Failure is information- we label it failure, but it’s more like, “This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.”

    These two quotes resonated with me because it made me realize the importance of words that we use and label grading with. The strong negative association that the word “failure” has for most people is detrimental and so if we hope to promote a growth mindset then we also have to be intentional about what words we use in our grading system. Instead of “failure” we can called it D.A for Do It Again.

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  25. ISELA DE LA TORRE says:

    “Study skills and learning skills are inert until they’re powered by an active ingredient,” Dweck explains. Students may know how to study, but won’t want to if they believe their efforts are futile. “If you target that belief, you can see more benefit than you have any reason to hope for.”

    This quote resonates with me because it reminds me that as an educator we need to make sure our students are recognized for their efforts and the benefit of that effort. All students have the potential and if we teach our students to believe that they can affect this positive change, we will see many benefits for them. So we have to teach them to believe that their hard work does produce results. This is why feedback and conferencing with our students is so important, so we can remind them and tell them, “You see, your hard work is making a difference in your progress.” We need to teach that kind of growth mind set if we expect to see them achieve in this educational system.

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  26. Jennifer Bower says:

    “At the time, the suggested cure for learned helplessness was a long string of successes.” I believe that sometimes we need to take a step back from our pacing plans, do some remediation and let our students experience some sense of success on “easier” problems if they begin to demonstrate learned helplessness.

    My former volleyball coach said something in the late 80’s that has stuck with me, “As long as you gie 100%, I will be happy with you. If you get beat, then you’ve met a better opponent and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you gave 100%.” We need to convey this supportive attitidue to our students. The shortest girl on our team, who rode the bench most games, was voted our most inspirational player in that she always gave 100%. She was the best she could be and we all supported her and drew inpiration from her to continually better ourselves.

    *I noticed that the dates of Carol Dwecks’ research were from many decades ago. Do we have anything more current? ALso, our knowledge of brain anatonmy, physiology and chemistry have improved greatly. What does research say about learning disabilities or other brain injuries and the abilitiy to learn?

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  27. Shauna Segal says:

    The following quote resonated with me: “The mastery‐oriented children are really hell‐bent on learning something,” Dweck says, and “learning goals” inspire a different chain of thoughts and behaviors than “performance goals.” I definitely want my students to be focused on and interested in learning new and challenging content and believing in their ability to do so. We focus on the Math practices in my classroom starting with “Making sense of problems and persevering in solving them.”

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  28. C Bakewell says:

    One sentence that resonated with me was, “Study skills and learning skills are inert until they’re powered by an active ingredient,” Dweck explains. I think that the active ingredient is different for everyone. There are a lot of factors that determine our drive, our active ingredient, be it external or internal, including during our formative years. When toddlers are given freedom to try and fail at learning (play), and try again, they probably are more apt to develop a growth mindset that stays with them than another child who doesn’t get to have that experience for whatever reason.

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  29. Lucrecia Apanay says:

    “They understand that spilling juice or throwing toys, for example, doesn’t damn a kid as bad, so long as the child cleans up and resolves to do better next time.” I make a conscientious effort to model this way of thinking in the classroom.

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  30. David Garringer says:

    According to Dweck, “the key isn’t ability it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.”
    It is curious that schools test for giftedness in early elementary school normally and not later in life. It would be interesting to conduct 10 year IQ tests. Did the student who tested gifted in 2nd grade also test gifted 10 years later, 20 years later or did someone who did not test gifted test higher 10 or 20 years later?

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  31. Alison Gillis says:

    One quotes that resonated with me was, “People who attributed their failures to lack of ability, Dweck thought, would become discouraged even in areas where they were capable. Those who thought they simply hadn’t tried hard enough, on the other hand, would be fueled by setbacks” (1). This idea was something that came up in a lot of my classes towards the end of the semester. As soon as students began to realize what their final grades were going to be in all their classes the excuses seemed to roll out, but their was a difference in the way older students handled bad grades as opposed to the younger students. Many, not all, of the seniors who had bad grades were aware that they weren’t trying, they were being lazy, or they weren’t showing up to class and that was why they were doing poorly. The ninth and tenth graders though still had a slew of other excuses as to why they weren’t doing well: the teacher hates me, the teacher lost all my work, I do all my work but they still decide to fail me, etc.

    I think the growth mindset is becoming more common among students, but after I saw how different students handled setbacks, I can see that is may be a mindset that someone holds as they begin to age and mature.

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  32. “Attribution theory, concerned with people’s judgments about the causes of events and behavior, already was an active area of psychological research… Dweck had put attribution theory to practical use. She continued to do so as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, collaborating with then‐graduate student Carol Diener to have children “think out loud” as they faced problem‐solving tasks, some too difficult for them. The big surprise: some of the children who put forth lots of effort didn’t make attributions at all. These children didn’t think they were failing.”
    I was impressed by and really like this notion that some kids who were not succeeding did not consider they were failing either. I try to encourage that non-judgemental growth mindset in my own classes because I believe people accomplish more and have far greater satisfaction in their accomplishments and efforts when they are not blaming themselves or circumstances for unwanted results but instead have faith that with continued effort, they will figure out how to get the desired result. By normalizing mistakes and other setbacks in the course of learning, we also lessen the fear of looking or feeling less intelligent or competent. I frequently cite the example of Edison who, despite the naysayers, persisted in trying thousands of filament materials before he hit upon the optimal one to use in his lightbulb. This is a classic example of a growth mindset.

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  33. Sonya Cole says:

    A section of the article that resonated with me was the paragraph that states:

    “Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process. For them, each task is a challenge to their self‐image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any endeavor. Students with learning goals, on the other hand, take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn. Dweck’s insight launched a new field of educational psychology—achievement goal theory.”

    I believe many of my students have a performance-based issues and fear not looking smart to their peers. This leads them into not putting an effort in various areas of academia, such as participating in class discussions, raising their hands to answer questions, or wanting to work in groups on projects or presentations. If these students leaned more towards working on learning goals rather than their self-image, they would see that this will lead them to not only acquiring knowledge but improving their confidence and self-esteem.

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  34. Ronald Arreola says:

    The part that resonated with me was “…why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found,
    isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.” A story I heard about Muhammad Ali illustrates this point. When Ali was training for a fight a reporter asked him what made him so much better than the other boxers and he said 9 sit ups. The report replied incredulously, 9 sit ups? Ali responded, yes, when I feel like I am done and I cannot do any more, I do 9 more. He, like many “naturally” talented athletes worked hard at becoming better. You’ll here stories about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as being the first in the gym and the last to leave. It is true for all abilities not just athletics. As the article pointed out this mindset, that ability is something that can be developed, can be created.

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  35. Liam says:

    The following quote stands out to me: “Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process.” To avoid this situation, we must create environments where mastery and achievement are more valuable than self-satisfaction. Students miss out on learning opportunities because of these types of emotional and affective filters; through the growth mindset, we can achieve this. Empowering students with Dweck’s research gives us the chance to create safe learning spaces where students can take risks and invest in the process of learning rather than the simple outcomes.

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  36. KRISTY LEE says:

    The part that resonated with me the most was when Dweck said “if we hold a fixed mind-set, we’re bound not to reach as high as we might”. I’ve come across more students this year with IEPs who have stated things such as “That was dumb of me,” or “I’m dumb.” Some of them have stopped working to their potential or have refused to complete assignments or projects even when they were told that they were not “dumb” and given reasons why which was quite frustrating. I thought this was different from the typical fixed mind-set students who didn’t do his/her work because they didn’t want to appear unintelligent. Some of the students with IEPS were using their disabilities as an excuse not to tackle their work.

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  37. Elizabeth Onyango says:

    A class filled with students with a growth mindset encourages the teacher to offer the students their best as a teacher. They will engage in research from all corners of the world to encourage their students to reach their highest potential. As stated in the article, ‘Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process.
    For them, each task is a challenge to their self‐image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only
    activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any
    endeavor. Students with learning goals, on the other hand, take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn’.

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  38. Mersedeh Vahdat says:

    “Students with learning goals take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn”. Just imagine teaching students to learn one thing a day without worrying about grades and/ or negative comments from peers. It changes the culture of learning from pretending, competing, sabotaging to a user friendly environment of respect, hard work, effort, risk taking, and achievement of learning goals. Praising students for effort rather than intelligence to increase their motivation to pursue challenges in life through determination and perseverance.

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  39. Ronel Wright says:

    Cite one phrase, sentence, or chunk of text that resonated with you and discuss why:

    “’People say to me all the time, “I’m not a people person,” or “I’m not good at managing my emotions,”’ unaware that they’re expressing a fixed mind‐set, [Yale psychologist Peter] Salovey says.”

    Although this quotation relates to emotional intelligence, it was striking to me because it mirrors what I’ve heard so many students and other teachers—including both non-math secondary teachers and, more disturbingly, elementary teachers, who are required to know and teach math to their students—claim: “I’m not good at math,” as if that were an acceptable status. Depending on who it is telling me this, I might reply with the question, “Would it be okay for you to go around saying, ‘I’m not good at reading’?”

    The “I’m not good at math” statement, as well as its corollary, “I’ve never been good at math”, is to me an obvious reflection of a fixed mindset and what we commonly refer to as a closed mind. Because the implication behind the statement is not only “I’m unable to change”—the fixed mindset, perhaps an illustration of learned helplessness—but also “I’m UNWILLING to change”, which is the closed mind and a tacit “Eff you!” to anyone who tries to pry it open. It reflects an unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own learning.

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  40. Lin Kuang says:

    The article ” The Effort Effect” really highlighted my belief for all these years’ teaching and grading experience. We know some students really don’t need to study very hard, and they master what they need to quickly and apply them freely because intelligent, but we do have students they have to try many times in many ways to accomplish the same goals as others, their effort make the big difference, Eventually, they reached their destination, and these students are the most sitting with us in the classroom. Being an experienced teacher, we observe them, encourage them, and inspire them by showing them that their effort will make sense. That’s why we do not encourage students to make up their work in a very short time while wasting their time for most of the time, because it’s unfair for others who consistently show their effort and work hard. The traditional grading system really failed some students who are not good at tests or other reasons. The ” F” really destroyed their self-esteem and block their ways to move forward with negative impact for their entire life. The Mastery grading encourage to see their grades and effort in a long term with faith because they know they can do it better next time if they didn’t perform well this time.They know their effort will be seriously considered.

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  41. Karen Harris says:

    The article “The Effort Effect.” supported my beliefs as a teacher, however it is something that adults need to revisit often. My favorite was sentence “Training students to adopt a growth mind-set about intelligence had a catalytic effect on motivation and math grades; students in the group showed no improvement despite all the efforts.” The research shows the study skills and other interventions are only effective with a growth mind-set. It means we have to keep ourselves and our students aware of our mindsets!! Plus our actions in teaching and grading have to communicate our conviction.

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