An Introduction to “Mindsets in the Classroom”
“Mindsets in the Classroom” begins by introducing the idea of mindsets. It differentiates a growth vs a fixed mindset and discusses why a growth mindset is important in the classroom.
My personal definition of a growth mindset is being able to accept mistakes as opportunities to learn, allowing oneself to work hard through a problem or challenge and to never give up. Having a growth mindset allows one to make progress on a goal.
A fixed mindset belongs to someone who does not takes risks for fear of failing. People with a fixed mindset do not believe that they can improve themselves. They believe that they have achieved all that they can and because of this, they shy away from challenges for fear that they will not be able to accomplish anything and thus will look inferior or not smart.
One of the important things I have learned in my readings on mindsets is that one can have both a fixed and growth mindset at the same time. I, for one, believe I am this type of person. It is something that I am currently working on. I know that I am growth mindset in some area of my life and very fixed in others. When it comes to my job and my extra-curricular activities, I have a growth mindset. When it comes to my parenting style, as much as I would like it to be otherwise, I have a very difficult time moving away from a fixed mindset. This is my goal for this New Year! Change my parenting style to something that is less quick to anger and much more patient and understanding of my lovely boys. As we work through this book, I will keep this in my mind and make the necessary changes. I have written my biggest Growth Mindset story. I am sure that many of you will have your own growth mindset stories, or will have by the end of the book study. I look forward to hearing them all!
My Growth Mindset Story:
One area in which I have a growth mindset is with my Karate. An example of my growth mindset comes with my physical abilities testing. In order to move up through the levels of belts, everyone must be able to show that they are physically able to handle the next level. Last June, I was testing for my 1st degree brown belt. In order to accomplish this, I needed to do 60 sit-ups in 65 seconds or less and 70 full push-ups, non-stop. I knew that the sit-ups would not be a problem, as I have done them before and I was right. I managed to do the sit-ups in 54 seconds (which I will have to beat for the next level of testing). The push-ups caused me a lot of stress. I could barely do 5 in a row, let alone 70! I knew I had to practice to get better but I made so many excuses throughout the year, hopeful that my Sensei would give in and let me do them from my knees, as I had done for all of the other belts I achieved. He did not give in and at the start of May I was up to 10 full push-ups in a row. Despite my husband’s constant reminders to practice regularly, I continued to make excuses. “I have bad wrists.” “I don’t have enough time.” Finally in June, my desire to get my brown belt grew to the point where I started to practice, although I was not as diligent as I should have been. When I had my first attempt during karate, I managed to do 50 push-ups before my body just gave out. I could not do any more. I was so frustrated when I went home. I told my husband, who very kindly told me that was just another excuse. I practiced more, doing 20-30 push-ups every morning. When I had my second attempt and my body gave out again at around 50 push-ups I was beginning to feel defeated, but I really wanted that brown belt and I knew that the only way to get it would be to continue practicing. There was only 1 class left. My last chance. On the administration day at school, 4 days before my last chance, I set the timer on my phone for 30 minute increments and every time it went off, no matter where I was in the school, I did 20 push-ups. That day I managed to do 400 push-ups. The next day I did over 200 more. At the advice of my Sensei, I took 2 days off to give my body a chance to recuperate. On Monday, my last chance for completing my physical test, I was quite nervous. I got up in front of the class and started pushing out my push-ups. I made it to 60 before my body shook to the point of collapsing. I fell to the ground but another student, a black belt, pushed me on- “Get up! Keep going! You can do it!” I got up and pushed through 10 more. Sensei asked the two black belts who were running the test if they thought I passed. One of them said, “Well, I think she should do 5 more.” So I did. Then he said, “5 more touching your nose to the floor each time.” And I did those as well. Both of the black belts then said they thought I should pass. Even though I didn’t do them non-stop, I was able to do 70- no 80 push-ups! I was beyond ecstatic! Needless to say, next time I know that I just need to start practicing earlier and the 80 push-ups I need to do for the 2nd degree brown belt will be done non-stop. I am actually excited to be able to get practicing again once I have recovered from my surgery!
We will begin on January 16th with the first 2 chapters of the book. Please join in the conversation at any point throughout that week. The second week will be posted on the Sunday at 8:00 am and will include the next two chapters. Please make this book study what you feel will be most beneficial to you. I have included questions on each of the chapters. Feel free to answer all, some or none of these questions. If you wish to include your own stories or any other information, that would be wonderful as well. Please enjoy the book study and don`t forget to check out the comments from some of the other participants!