Jan 7, 2016

What's "Hot" in Education? The Growth Mindset and Teaching without Grades


Why is the Growth Mindset and Teaching without Grades "Hot" trends in Education?
Many instructors, including myself, have changed how we teach and how we learn as a result. I hope it's made me a better instructor and learner, too. Here is info and resources about the two educational trends:

Growth Mindset I saw the beautiful image below by Sylvia Duckworth with the "10 Growth Mindset Statements" plus I read an article by Jackie Gerstein about The Educator and the Growth Mindset that seriously made me reevaluate how I thought about myself and my students. The Growth Mindset ideas are based on the research of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck.
10 Growth Mindset Statements. What can I say to myself? Instead of "I'm not good at this, try thinking "What am I missing?". Instead of "I'm awesome at this" try thinking "I'm on the right track." Instead of "I give up", try thinking "I'll use some of the strategies we've learned".
10 Growth Mindset Statements by Sylvia Duckworth (CC BY 2.0) 

  • In her research, Carol Dweck found that that those concerned with failure and success (fixed-mindset) can hold themselves back, from learning and growing (growth-mindset). We have a choice as instructors and students how we'll handle opportunities and mistakes. We can play it safe, or take chances, and learn a great deal more. But first you need to "adjust" your mindset..before you can help your students change theirs.

Teaching without Grades:  I stumbled onto this teacher-led movement on my personal Facebook page. It tends to make more sense once you learn a bit about the growth mindset. I haven't stopped giving grades, but it's made me rethink how and what I'm grading.
  • Here's an example of the frustration a teacher had after spending hours grading and giving feedback to his students: If Grades don't Advance Learning, Why Do We Give Them?  His students only cared about their grade, not his feedback, nor were they particularly interested in learning and improving.

Yes but how do you KNOW your kids are learning anything? Answering those who wonder how we teach without textbooks and measure proficiency without exams.
Image linked from pinterest.com
  • So what are these teachers doing instead? Here's 12 Alternatives to Letter Grades that instructors are using to evaluate their students. Some use games, feedback only (no grades), continuous assessment, peer-grading, non-points rubrics and more. It's not easy to do, and still is a work-in-process for many instructors, but they say it's making huge differences not only for their students, but for them as instructors as well.
Growth Mindset video/infographics/article 

Teaching without Grades articles/video


Submitted by Becky Roehrs

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