I am a huge Carol Dweck fan! I talk Mindset with teachers all the time. I reflect on my own Fixed or Growth Mindset when making decisions and learning new things. One current goal is to be more growth oriented when it comes to exercise, a personal mindset goal.
Then along came Magic. My older son is hooked on this mystical card game. “Mom, want to play Magic with me?” “Sure, Josh.” Yikes. I don’t think I’ve felt so dumb in a very long time. And I was really trying. I thought often of English Learners…. the vocabulary and jargon of Magic was a foreign language and just when I’d grasp one word, three more new phrases would come my way.
In reality, Josh was playing Magic with himself. I just happened to be holding a set of cards and sitting across from him. And as the game was going on around me, I continued to jump to various learners at school. Struggling math students, slow, laborious readers. I was in their shoes for this brief game of Magic. Feeling frustrated, stupid and really, really trying the whole while. I’d even ask Josh to slow down, say it again, tell me more about a character or a play. He was the portrait of patience and explained things well (I think), but it just wasn’t clicking.
And I’m sorry, Carol, but I was feeling pretty Fixed.
Phil hit the nail on the head! It was really hard. I was on the verge of pouting, folding up the cards and telling Josh, thanks but no thanks. Can students do that with math? Learning English? Reading? They shouldn’t but they do.
The only thing motivating me to learn this (fill-in-the-blank) game is my son. He is excited, knowledgeable and needing an opponent to play at home. I love my son. I’m ready to check my Mindset and get to work. It’s good for my aging brain and puts a smile on Josh’s face when I say, “Sure, Josh, let’s play. I’m not going to let spells and characters get the better of me”
What investment do our students have in struggling with math or reading? This is where I’m stuck. I can see the forest for the trees, I’m not 9, I know I can eventually understand. A 9 year old struggling reader doesn’t see the forest (just books and words and better readers all around her), doesn’t always believe she will learn to read, doesn’t have the ability to step back and say, “Alright, let’s get to it and not let books and words get the better of me.”
What can I do? Stop talking Mindset to just teachers. I need to get kids in on the conversation directly. And how often are we, educators, really put in a situation where the learning is hard? This was an isolated event for me…. haven’t experienced frustration like this in a long time… and it’s only a card game. Hardly on the life changing level like learning English.
So this mom, educator, principal is checking her Mindset. Taking the message to students (and teachers). And heading to Youtube for some help with my Magic skills! Josh isn’t going to know what hit him!!