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Posts Tagged as "growth mindset"

Math Mindset Lessons from the movie “Moneyball”

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Moneyball — it’s a movie about baseball. And statistics. And underdogs succeeding against “impossible odds” – wait – make that, underdogs succeeding by stacking the odds in their favor in ways no one else had thought of before.

But Moneyball is also a movie about the battle between two mindsets: the mindset of the old-school baseball managers, who recruit and hire players based on “talent”, and new-school baseball managers, Billy Beane and Peter Brand, who hire and develop players based on their potential and overlooked, proven ability.

I see Beane and Brand’s approach as an awesome example of “growth mindset” – the belief – which is true – that human ability and intelligence is something that you develop with effort over time, instead of something that you’re born with a certain amount of which you just demonstrate throughout your life.

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Posts Tagged as "growth mindset"

Anyone can be cool, but…

Monday, September 13th, 2010


I love this example of a growth-mindset message!

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Posts Tagged as "growth mindset"

Building a Better Teacher

Monday, May 10th, 2010

I’m super excited about this New York Times Magazine article about building a better teacher.

In it, the author explores a paradox. Having a great teacher maximizes a kid’s academic success more than any other factor. No other policy or practice—rigorous standards, standardized testing, phonics, smaller class size, more parental involvement—even comes close.

However, the current debate about education policy seems to completely ignore this fact. The logic goes, if teachers aren’t up to snuff, they should be fired, because teachers are either good or bad, and a bad teacher can never become a great teacher.

Doug Lemov, one of the main subjects of this article, shows that being a great teacher is not a function of one’s charisma; it’s not a fixed, intrinsic trait. Anyone can learn how to become a a great teacher.

Lemov has spent years studying superstar teachers, breaking down their technique like a football coach analyzing effective plays. He’s dedicated his life’s work to identifying the superstars’ common practices, creating a language to describe these practices, and helping both new and veteran teachers adapt these practices of champions.

For years, “Lemov’s taxonomy” was primarily available in xeroxed, samizdat-style copies passed around the educational community. But now his work is finally available to everyone. His new book, Teach Like a Champion, clearly explains how to immediately start implementing the techniques of these superstar teachers in your own classroom.

I’m halfway through reading Teach Like a Champion and look forward to reviewing it here, so watch this space!

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Posts Tagged as "growth mindset"

Self-Taught Hero: Pearl Fryar

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

A Man Named Pearl is one of the most inspiring documentaries I’ve seen in a long time. The son of a sharecropper, Pearl Fryar wasn’t able to buy a home in his small town’s white neighborhood because prejudiced neighbors believed he, as a black man, “wouldn’t keep up his yard.”

In 1984, Pearl decided he wanted to try to win the “Yard of the Month” award. With no experience, no training, and using plants that had been thrown in the garbage, Pearl taught himself topiary sculpture and created a spectacular, whimsical, and completely original three-and-a-half-acre garden in Bishopsville, South Carolina. Take that, Edward Scissorhands!

Since he began his garden in 1984, Pearl has become a leader in his own community and recognized throughout the international art world for his unique and compelling vision. Now in his late 60s, Pearl continues to maintain his elaborate plant sculptures and welcomes visitors from his garden from around the world.

I’m really interested in self-directed learning, and Pearl Fryar has got to be the ultimate example–teaching himself a brand-new skill to execute a huge solo project! As a tutor, I’m really trying to teach my kids how to direct and customize their own learning when I’m not around. Ultimately I hope this helps them to find their passions and pursue and create what they really want. Pearl Fryar’s example of self-directed learning is extremely inspiring to me.

Pearl also spoke passionately about encouraging kids, especially the ones who might not be doing so well in school. “If you tell a kid by third grade that they’re not going to achieve at a certain level—I think that’s terrible.” Pearl lives the message of, “There’s always gonna be obstacles. The thing is you don’t let these obstacles determine where you go.”

One of the things he said that really struck me was, “Horticulture people come to my garden and say, ‘You shouldn’t be able to do that.’ And I’d say, “I didn’t know that.” I love it when people come at something from a different angle and find new solutions!

As an artist, I was also really inspired to hear Pearl talk about why he started his garden—not just to express himself, but also “to inspire others to find their creativity to work hard at it.” His advice to others? “Be patient and work hard until you figure it out.” And also, “you can’t be too big.” An amazing example of the growth mindset at work!

Pearl’s own website is here with directions on how to visit (“You just have to come visit me!”) There’s a nice little Q & A with Pearl on amazon. And the DVD of A Man Named Pearl is available on Netflix. I hope someday I can meet this inspiring artist in person!

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