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Math Tutor Beverly Hills        (310) 968-1594

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"Not Yet" mindset: Increasing motivation and perseverance

Posted on November 5, 2016 at 9:52 PM
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a TED talk by Dr. Carol Dweck on the "power of not yet." She describes that a "not yet" mindset encourages students to approach novel and complex tasks with enthusiasm and grit. Her research was inspired by a high school in Chicago that was giving out scores of "not yet" to students who had not passed a course. A "not yet" score implies there is a learning curve and the person just has not reached it yet, rather than the negative connotations of a fail such as "I'm nothing. I'm nowhere." 

In Dweck's early research, she observed that when 10 year old students were given problems that were slightly too hard for them, those who reacted positively made statements such as "I love a challenge," or "I was hoping this would be informative." Those children understood that their "abilities could be developed," stayed engaged, and hence had a growth mindset. Such children process errors, learn from it, and correct it. Students who feel negatively--that it's tragic, catastrophic, their intelligence is up for judgment & they have failed, disengage.

She advises parents and teachers (1) to praise students for their efforts, strategies, focus, and perseverance rather than intelligence or talent. She describes that when her and scientists from the University of Washington teamed up to create a new online math game that rewarded effort, strategy, and progress rather than the typical game that rewards only the right answer, they got more effort, perseverance, engagement over longer periods of time, and strategies, on really difficult problems. Second, she advises (2)  that just utilizing words "yet" or "not yet," give students a confidence booth and increases persistence.  

To watch or read the TED Talk this is the link: https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en

Categories: Motivation

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