Friday, July 4, 2014

Growth Mindset Challenges

In Week 1, you had a quick introduction to Carol Dweck's growth mindset approach; I am hoping you will want to explore the notion of a growth mindset this semester to see if it can be helpful to you, both in this class and in your other classes... and beyond school too. Try some "Growth Challenges" for one or two weeks and write about what you learn in your blog. If you find it useful, then you can do a Growth Mindset blog post every week of the semester!

Just how this evolves is up to you: it's a totally open-ended assignment. There are lots of ideas for "Growth Challenges" below, and looking at those ideas might also catalyze some completely new ideas of your own. Anything you want to try sounds good to me if it helps you to practice growth mindset and/or to learn more about what growth mindset means. Whatever you do with each post, remember to use the label "Growth Mindset" so that the rest of the class can share in your discoveries. You might also be interested in doing some related Challenges at the H.E.A.R.T. site too.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MINDSETS. Find a good online resource or check out one of the resources here — Growth Mindset links plus Growth Mindset videos — and write a blog post summarizing what you learned from that resource. Be sure to include a link to the online resource so that others can use it too, and find a good image (or video) to include from the resource you reviewed. You can repeat this option for as many weeks as you want, learning more about the growth mindset and thinking about the ways in which it can be useful to you.

GROWTH MINDSET MEMES. I've been making Growth Mindset memes during the summer as you can see here: Growth Mindset Memes blog. You can explore those memes and see if you find something that really grabs you; if you find on you really like, write up a blog post about it and include the meme in the post.
Even better: make your own growth mindset meme! There are lots of meme makers you can use. As you can tell, I am personally a big fan of Cheezburger and Automotivator, but there are lots of meme generators out there, including the seriously amazing Canva. You can repeat this for as many weeks as you want, using it as a way to explore the growth mindset concept and/or as a way to learn about different meme generators.

STORIES ABOUT GROWTH. You can explore the message of growth mindset in the stories you are reading for class each week! For this challenge, find a story or episode in a story that you read for class this week (or in a previous week) and see how a character in that story demonstrates a growth mindset and/or see how a character in the story demonstrates a fixed mindset. Is there something you can learn from the character(s) to apply to your own life...?
Even better: create your own mindset story. When you do your storytelling for the week, make it into an example of growth mindset! Tell a story where you emphasize how the main character does (or does not) have a growth mindset, and then talk about how that works in your author's note. Then, in your blog post for this challenge, explain how and why you chose the story and the changes you made to the story to bring out the mindset theme.

GROW-YOUR-WRITING-STYLE. Try a totally different storytelling style this week. You could choose a style that you saw another student using, or you could dream up some totally new approach that you have not seen anybody else using in class. Check out the Storytelling instructions; there is a randomizer there that pops up new storytelling ideas! So, find a new storytelling style you have not used it before, give it a try, and then write a Growth Mindset post where you evaluate the results. Was it challenging? What did you learn? Would you use this storytelling technique again?

GROW-YOUR-WRITING-PROCESS. You could also try a totally different writing process. For example, if you usually do the writing in the evening, try writing your story first thing in the morning. If you usually compose on the computer, take a notebook and go try writing outside, etc. There are also Editing Challenges you can use (these are the same challenges as in the Project Revision weeks, but you can also use them anytime). Then, in your Growth Mindset post, assess your writing experiment: are you happy with the results? did you learn some new writing strategies you can use in the future?

GROW BY WATCHING OTHERS. I'm hoping a lot of students will be interested in this option, and you can view the stream of "Growth Mindset" posts to see what others are doing.. One way you can come up with your own growth mindset challenge is by looking at what other students and doing and writing about, and then apply that in some way to your own circumstances, seeing what you can learn from them. So, browse the growth mindset posts by other students in the class and curate them: bookmark and save the ones you like, and pick out a few favorites. Then, write those up in a blog post, providing a link and some comments about why you really liked them. Even better: you can also leave a note for the students on their blogs with a link to the post that you write and see if a conversation gets started.

GROW IN YOUR OTHER CLASSES. Every class you are taking this semester probably presents its own challenges, some of which are easier to manage and some of which might be much harder. Take a few minutes to focus on the most exciting challenge in each of your classes... and then see if there are any interconnections between the challenges in one class and another class. Can you find ways you can work on a challenge in one class that should be helpful as you face the challenges of another class? Maximizing your effort across classes can be a really powerful strategy for moving forward!

TALK ABOUT MINDSET. Take a few minutes to talk about the growth mindset concept with a friend and write up a blog post about your conversation. Had your friend already heard about the growth mindset idea? Are they applying growth mindset ideas already at school and/or at work? Try finding a child to talk with about the growth mindset and see what insights they can offer. If you have children of your own, that might be a great conversation!

SCHOOLS FOR GROWTH. For this blog post, think BIG about the university and the ways in which it does (or does not) promote a growth mindset among students and also faculty and staff. Where do you see OU helping everyone to learn and grow? Where do you see OU holding people back? If President Boren called you up and asked you to name one thing you would like to see done differently to make OU a better learning environment for everyone here, what would you tell him?

GROWTH BEYOND SCHOOL. One of the most exciting things about the growth mindset approach is that it applies to all kinds of learning, not just the formal academic learning that you do in school. So, think about that: where do you see yourself doing the best job of applying the growth mindset in your own life...? Maybe you are a serious athlete, or a foodie, or a musician, or a traveler... so many possibilities! Think about the aspect of your life where you see the power of the growth mindset at work and write that up as a blog post.

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES. Carol Dweck's growth mindset is about growing your intelligence... and Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard, has studies the many different kinds of intelligence that we have. For this challenge, read about Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, and share your reaction. Which of these intelligences do you think you are able to grow in the classes that you are taking this semester? What intelligences would you like most to grow in the future?

Help me to improve this assignment... Please let me know how I can improve this assignment (for example: more ideas for blog posts!) and/or how I can do a better job of promoting the growth mindset in other assignments for class. An incredibly important part of the growth mindset is getting good feedback from others, and that means your feedback is really important. Pretty much all the good things in these classes are from ideas students shared with me in the past, so take this opportunity to share some ideas. I would be really curious to hear what you think!

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