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Brainology Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn


write a reading response read this article and response to it in one and a half page, doubled space and, in MLA format Brainology Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn Carol S. Dweck Winter 2008 This is an exciting time for our brains. More and more research is showing that our brains change constantly with learning and experience and that this takes place throughout our lives. Does this have implications for students’ motivation and learning? It certainly does. In my research in collaboration with my graduate students, we have shown that what students believe about their brains — whether they see their intelligence as something that’s fixed or something that can grow and change — has profound effects on their motivation, learning, and school achievement (Dweck, 2006). These different beliefs, or mindsets, create different psychological worlds: one in which students are afraid of challenges and devastated by setbacks, and one in which students relish challenges and are resilient in the face of setbacks. How do these mindsets work? How are the mindsets communicated to students? And, most important, can they be changed? As we answer these questions, you will understand why so many students do not achieve to their potential, why so many bright students stop working when school becomes challenging, and why stereotypes have such profound effects on students’ achievement. You will also learn how praise can have a negative effect on students’ mindsets, harming their motivation to learn. Mindsets and Achievement Many students believe that intelligence is fixed, that each person has a certain amount and that’s that. We call this a fixed mindset, and, as you will see, students with this mindset worry about how much of this fixed intelligence they possess. A fixed mindset makes challenges threatening for students (because they believe that their fixed ability may not be up to the task) and it makes mistakes and failures demoralizing (because they believe that such setbacks reflect badly on their level of fixed intelligence). Other students believe that intelligence is something that can be cultivated through effort and education. They don’t necessarily believe that everyone has the same abilities or that anyone can be as smart as Einstein, but they do believe that everyone can improve their abilities. And they understand that even Einstein wasn’t Einstein until he put in years of focused hard work. In short, students with this growth mindsetbelieve that intelligence is a potential that can be realized through learning. As a result, confronting challenges, profiting from mistakes, and persevering in the face of setbacks become ways of getting smarter. To understand the different worlds these mindsets create, we followed several hundred students across a difficult school transition — the transition to seventh grade. This is when the academic work often gets much harder, the grading gets stricter, and the school environment gets less personalized with students moving from class to class. As the students entered seventh grade, we measured their mindsets (along with a number of other things) and then we monitored their grades over the next two years. The first thing we found was that students with different mindsets cared about different things in school. Those with a growth mindset were much more interested in learning than in just looking smart in school. This was not the case for students with a fixed mindset. In fact, in many of our studies with students from preschool age to college age, we find that students with a fixed mindset care so much about how smart they will appear that they often reject learning opportunities — even ones that are critical to their success (Cimpian,et al., 2007; Hong, et al., 1999; Nussbaum and Dweck, 2008; Mangels, et al., 2006). Next, we found that students with the two mindsets had radically different beliefs about effort. Those with a growth mindset


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