Icebreaker. Why were these people so good at what they did? Think about this. Share your response with the group. Think about another person or people who have excelled in their field. What has contributed to their success? What sort of language dominated your discussion? Talent? Genius? Fate? Luck? Hard work? Did you all agree?
How did your answers and discussion differ from that you had about Ali and Pele’s success? Was there a feeling that being clever is a talent you are born with? Was your evidence predicated on formal qualifications, or other people’s opinions of your intelligence, or a comparative? Did you create a list of qualifications, or exam successes, your IQ, your membership of Mensa. You might have made some observations on how you compare with colleagues or friends, or how far you have progressed within a certain organisation, or the recognition you receive in your professional field. Is there any evidence that counters your interpretation that suggests you are smarter or dumber than you think you really are? How does this make you feel? How did you feel about noting down the things that challenge your view of your intelligence? Do you feel angry or embarrassed that there are or were events in your life that could cast doubt over your perception of your own ability? Or, do you feel comfortable with the possibility that you could be smarter, or that you aren't as smart as other people think you are? Thinking of your answer to the final question – do you think that intelligence is something that you are born with (innate) that cannot be changed? Or, do you perceive it as something that can be developed with hard work, and something that you can grow?
The idea of mindsets was developed by Professor Carol Dweck of Standford University in the 1980s. She explored how perceptions of intelligence influence behaviour, including the choices we make in educational settings. Her study of secondary school pupils revealed two distinct sets of perceptions, which she termed ‘mindsets’. So, let’s think about our mindsets:
What difference does mindset make? Mindset theory developed by Carol Dweck. People can be placed on a continuum of belief according to their implicit views on where ability comes from. Belief that success is based on innate ability shows a fixed mindset. Belief that success is based on hard work and learning shows a growth mindset. These mindsets can determine: Our attitude to failure, Our resilience and ability to persevere, Our potential for positive change.
Fixed Mindsets: Pupils with a fixed mindset regarded intelligence as innate and unchangeable, fixed from birth. They tended to choose courses and assignments that seemed like safe options worry about the possibility of failure be concerned that other people would see them as less intelligent find it difficult to ask for help or feedback.
Pupils with a growth mindset believed that intelligence could be cultivated and developed through effort and persistence. These pupils tended to actively seek out new challenges welcome opportunities for intellectual development respond positively to feedback feel comfortable in asking for help.
Metaphors Think of a metaphor for yourself when you are learning really well. Draw a picture to represent your metaphor. Explain your metaphor to the person next to you. What does your metaphor tell you about your beliefs about you as a learner? Return to your positive learning experience which you wrote down at the beginning of the session. Bearing this experience in mind, and the emotions that it generated, create a metaphor for yourself when you are learning really well. Draw a picture that captures that experience, and which represents you and your emotional state when you are learning really well.
Concrete Experience: doing/having an experience Reflective Experience: reviewing/reflecting on the experience. Intuitive initial thoughts. Journal keeping. TMA feedback. Abstract Conceptualisation: concluding/learning from the experience ‘What would you do differently next time? Brings together theories and analysis of past actions. Allows us to come to conclusions about our practice. Active Experimentation: planning/trying out what you have learned Take those conclusions to plan changes. Active experimentation begins the cycle again. Back to Concrete Experience.
It’s worth thinking ahead to organise your time and reflect on why, what, how and when to prioritise. While preparing assignments, for example – reflection can help you to define immediate goals and then devise strategies to achieve them. Procrastination, the art of putting things off until they absolutely have to be done, is both a cause and a symptom of anxiety. It can lead you to miss deadlines or fall behind with your study schedule and can severely affect your confidence. Reflecting on how, when, where and why you procrastinate can help you to recognise and challenge your routines and habits. How often do you make assumptions about your ability to study by using sentences that start with: ” I’m no good at …” ” I’ve always been terrible at…” ” I’ll never be able to…” These beliefs may echo negative comments from teachers, parents, employers or peers, or you may just believe them to be irrefutably true. They can make it harder for you to study because they undermine your confidence and motivation. But by reflecting on the assumptions you make about yourself you can make positive changes in your study routines