The Teacher is Talking: Mindsets, Part 2

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By Leslie Lindsay

If you recall, oh…about two weeks ago, I wrote a blurb about Carol Dweck’s Mindsets.  Specially, her ideas about “growth mindsets,” versus “fixed mindsets.”  Here’s a little graphic to refresh your memory:

Well, it really  got me thinking.  Our children need reminders like these often. And I am not just referring to older students, but preschool kids, too.  I know, I know, you are thinking I am a meanie mom who cracks the whip all the time.  In fact, I am quite the opposite.  I feel kids need to have time to explore, create, and think on their own.  I also highly value education and actual-factual things. 
 
And because I am a parent of a child with ADHD, I also know that kids need guidance and direction.  And lots of reminders. 
Thus, my idea of “parenting thru the backdoor.”  It’s really quite simple.  Instead of beating my kids over the head with flashcards, I make it a game.  That’s right.  For variety sake, try hiding the flashcards around the house.  Inside or outside.  Get creative.  When your child finds the “hidden facts” have her bring them to  you and tell you all about them.  You can increase the challenge of setting a timer.  “Find all 10 flash cards in 12 minutes.”   

 (image source: http://edudemic.com/2012/04/the-60-second-guide-to-how-flashcards-actually-work/)

When my daugher wow-ed the class during “Poetry Cafe” week, I didn’t tell her she was the best poet ever and she no longer needed to prepare for speaking in front of a group; I told her I was proud, but now we really need to wow the group with her Native American diorama. 
 
Check out this video of 5th grade students and praise on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTXrV0_3UjY
 
Speaking of which…I am not going to do the diorama for her.   She has already proven to me that she is more than capable of collecting twigs and pepples outside to pepper the inside of her shoebox, creating a desert oasis for her miniature Indians to dwell. 
 
There really are lots of things your children can do on their own, with a little help and supervision.  Here’s my list: 
  • Gather trash and take it to the garbage can in the garage or back alley
  • Help sort laundry, depending on their age and height, they may be able to start a load, or at very least put away their folded laundry. 
  • Initiate the homework routine by presenting their planner, or pulling out a folder or worksheets.  (I won’t sign my daughter’s daily planner unless she asks me to–she has to live with the consequences of forgetting–not receiving a smiley face at school)
  • Take charge of their lunches.  Sure, I pack them, but they must empty  out their lunch boxes and leave them on the counter if they want a new lunch the next day. 
  • Bring their plate and an adult’s plate to the table at dinner time.  Likewise, help clear the table. 
  • When they get stuck, they ask for help.  And they know who to go to for help…a teacher, a friend, an instrutor or coach.
  • Help them set realistic goals and expectations. 
  • In exchange, I try to avoid faint praise and nagging behavior.  It truly does help. 

Go Grow! Class dismissed. 

For more information on Carol Dweck, please see:

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