COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - There is a new buzz about learning and teaching at School District 11. D-11 is Colorado Springs largest school district. The buzz is surrounding "Mindset, The new psychology of success." It is written by Dr. Carol Dweck.
Devra Ashby is a spokesperson for the district and a parent of seven year old Layla. Devra told me how this book has changed her and her daughter Layla's attitudes about learning. Devra said, "When I was little, math was always a struggle for me. I wouldn't speak up in class because I thought if I had to ask for help, it was a weakness. I see my daughter struggling in math and having that same kind of attitude."
Devra told me that after reading this book, it's shown her that it's okay to ask for help. Her daughter has also taken that advice and is regularly asking the teacher for help. Devra also said when it comes to philosophy of the book, "Some people get things naturally. However, if you have to work at it, it's not a bad thing. Working at it is not a weakness."
D-11 Educator, Dr. Jeanice Swift focused on the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset. The idea of this book is for people to find ways to understand how to transition to the growth mindset. Dr. Swift says this book opens up avenues of conversation of how to talk with your children about that which include, "Praise the process, praise the effort and be careful that our praise is not about innate qualities." Those qualities include the natural abilities different people have in life. According to those who push growth mindset, it's important to know how to challenge yourself instead of staying with only what you know.
D-11 Educator Joan Jahelka told me this is not psycho babble. She told me the conversation with one of her children used to be 30 seconds long when it came to school work and grades. It was easy to describe how they did on a project by that letter grade. Jahelka says those conversations have now gone to ten minutes, "Because of growth mindset, I can say to him tell me about the effort you put into learning the particular concept. Tell me about the process in asking questions in class."