This past Friday, I gave an introductory presentation on the educational ramifications of new brain and psychological research, specifically, Carol Dweck’s Mindset. What came out of the discussion during the session, was that our school already does a fairly good job of inherently implementing most of the underlying themes in Dweck’s research.
- We write narrative progress reports and our grading system is qualitative not quantitative.
- We already “teach at the speed of learning.“
- We try to make our classrooms safe spaces where students feel comfortable to express themselves and take risks.
- We even decided to add perseverance to our school-wide praise system highlighting not only growth mindset, but also the mathematical practices!
What we realized we still needed to work on as a school, was allowing students to struggle productively. Robert Kaplinsky recently posted his ignite talk from the Northwest Mathematics Conference. Kaplinsky gives a very accessible account of the differences between productive struggle and what he calls, “unproductive struggle.” In our school, “unproductive struggle” is frustration.