Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Specifics: Brainology

Daydreamer by h.koppdelaney
Attribution-NoDerivs License
When life and learning seemed overwhelming, I can still hear my parents saying such things as, "Can't never did anything!" "You can find a way!" "If at first you don't succeed, Try, Try again!" and "Tell yourself: 'I think I can!' and you can."
What my mother and father were telling me, "To Try is part of To Do", is the profound philosophy of the motivational aspect of learning in my family.  It's the real world manifestation of the plasticity of the brain. What education researchers, like Carol Dweck and her colleague Lisa Sorich, are now calling "The Growth Mind-Set". Dr. Dweck created an online web application called Brainology to "gain confidence and motivation to learn by teaching them about the brain, how to strengthen it, and how to apply brain-friendly study skills."

The basic idea of her research and other similar research is that there are two mind sets about the brain and learning. One is that the brain is static that there is very little chance for changing what people think of as potential. The other mind set is based on the idea that people BELIEVE the potential of the mind is always changing, growing.

To explain the practical applications of her research, Dr. Dweck wrote the book, Mind Set. The website that describes the book, the research and their implications also has a mind set test. Try it, then share it with everyone you know!

What the research is showing that each of these mind sets can affect resilience, the ability to reach for more, to try more and achieve more. Only the growth mind set affects resilience in a positive way. This recent research has been around for almost a decade now, and it looks like it may be gaining ground among school leaders. It's about time.

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