I so believe in this book, Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci, and I do not believe that this book is just for educators, but I think that EVERYONE could benefit from this book.
This past summer I was in the car with some of my cycling teammates, and we were having one of those sort of deep conversations that we have at times. Not sure what we were talking about exactly, but Lydia stated something like this: "A person may say that he/she can not change the oil in his car, but if he works at it; he can." I repeated this and thought about it, and I repeated this and thought about it, and this conversation has stayed with me; we can change ourselves through discipline, consistency, and effort. Basically, Lydia was speaking from the growth mindset.
So, you know the parent who states that my child is not good at math, or my child is not a swimmer etc. Or, you know the adult who states I want to be a runner, but I can't run; or the adult who states that I was never good at whatever. People who say things like this, are operating under the fixed mindset. They believe that their talents and gifts are fixed and can not be changed, and that is exactly what Ricci talks about in this book.
This book deals with the idea of changing the way that people, mainly teachers, administrators, parents, and students, think about success and intelligence.
Ricci and I believe that every student and person can master whatever he or she is willing to put effort into. However, how many people give up when things get difficult? How many of you know people who quit jobs or school, because it was difficult? Ricci thinks that with effort, we can make difficult activities attainable.
In my own life, when I go to cross practice, and I get to a difficult part on the course, my first mind thinks that this is not for me, but my second mind states thinks that with practice, I will get better. (Don't always trust your first thoughts.) At my first two races, there were some tough ladies out there, and my first thought was, I will never be great at cross, but my second thought was that with discipline and consistency, I will get better at cross and can possibly be great... I know that I will get better than I am now with discipline and consistency.
I have been implementing the ideas in this book in my classroom, and my students are really digging the idea that they can change their brains, their intelligence is not fixed, and that I believe that every student can be the 'smart one.'
I must leave you with this incredible video about the brain:
My people, read this book and change your life and the life of the people you influence.