Friday, November 04, 2016

Two Mindsets (Relevant for All)

Students who take classes online can be all over the physical map, age map, and college level map.  Wherever you are at, here are some words of advice.  They seem obvious, but some obvious things are easier to observe than to act upon in a good way.

My daughter is a college freshman, and she shares a parent newsletter with me.  In one of the articles, the author writes about the fixed mindset and the growth mindset model promoted by Carol Dweck.  It's basically this:  people can see themselves as naturally good at something or as able to become good at something.  The people in the first camp are less resilient when they fall upon difficulties; the second group are more rational and positive about the situation--they can see themselves as capable of improvement.  The article argues that having the growth mindset helps college freshman be more successful than those who rely on their self-perceptions of intelligence and past successes.  (Go ahead and read the article if you like:  Dweck also gives a TED Talk on the subject:

Which brings us back to those of us who live in composition classes.  Ideally college writing classes are not just places to show off what you can already do or put out shaky work and add the disclaimer, "I hope this is what you were looking for." (Please never put that in a submission note to a professor when turning in a major writing project.  If  you are unsure your work is sufficient,  share a draft and ask for feedback before the deadline.)  Ideally, college writing classes are where you bring your talents and seek and apply feedback to make your writing even better.

At all ages, we can use the power of our thoughts to see better and do better.


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