Friday, July 23, 2010

Growth Model


Last summer, my colleague Dave Coffey's summer reading revolved around the idea of a growth mindset and its relationahip with learning.  Carol Dweck is the most often cited researcher in this field.  There's a pretty good piece on her and the related research in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article.  Some of her ideas have been popularized by Daniel Pink.  (Jamie Feild Baker has a post about that connection.)  There's a commercialization of her work by Brainology, that seems to be based on proving to students that this brain research is true by showing them it's how their brain works.  (Brainology is also on Twitter, it turns out. Not bad linkage.)

The oversimplified summary of the research is that people's growth is limited by their own assessment of their possibility for growth.  People who think ability is fixed find it hard to grow.  People who think it's possible to grow find it hard not to.

My response was to try asking Dr. Dweck's questions of my future teachers and see what happened.  It was definitely interesting, and the discussion of the growth mindset idea was definitely a great discussion.  But there's always so much to do, that I just let it slide.

Recently Sue Van Hattum (aka Math Mama Writes) posted that she was thinking about it also and put up a sample questionaire.  I dug up the one I had given last fall to send her, and then started thinking about making it more math-centered.  And that's what I wanted to share today.  I merged them with some mathematical process questions I had used before, and a few other math attitude chestnuts.  I am more and more convinced that assessment and evaluation is where I need to concentrate so that I can teach my actual students and not figments of my imagination.

Dweck's original questions (2 forms)

Implicit Theories of Intelligence Self-Eval.v2 by goldenoj

Modified for math

Implicit Theory of Mathematics Learning by goldenoj

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