Wednesday, March 11, 2015


     Everyone in our district got a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. I had ample time to read it at home due to the snow days we had (what a winter, lots of records were broken). Here's the link to her TedTalk--  (I shortened it on bitly). As an art teacher, I think we use "growth mindset" language in the classroom pretty regularly. You know what I am talking about: "You are not there yet, but with some more effort…"; "It takes practice to get good at ______, but you will get there…"; "You know, I had to work hard to get this good at drawing." In the ARTS, students often believe they need "the gift" before they can be an artist or a musician or a dancer, etc. If you just "Google" growth vs. fixed mindset, a bunch of cool charts come up, and lots of good inspirational images are also readily available. I put one such graphic at the bottom of this post.
     Of course, Aristotle had it pegged ages ago with one of my most favorite quotes ever,  "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
     I have to say, I enjoyed the book. It is a quick read, with ample examples that could be shared with students. I think the sports analogies would particularly resonate with certain classes. It is good to be reminded that explaining the malleability of the mind is important, because students just naturally assume that they are either "smart" or "not smart" (or "artistic" or not). Dweck outlines case after case where students and adults can change how they approach learning after being taught growth mindset strategies.
     So now, I have some good information to share with parents and even fellow teachers when they say something like, "I could never draw a straight line, even with a ruler!" Or (and this is one of the worst), "The art gene does not run in our family." I would guess that no one ever says to their child, "You know, the reading gene does not run in our family."
     I put a whole slew of quotes I like on my interest page---things I think would start deep thinking and interesting discussions. It is on my board "Art Openers".

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The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

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The journey of process intrigues me and I am always changing it up.

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