Sunday, November 20, 2016


David Gross (UMASS) and Peter Newbury (UCSD) put together a presentation on first class do’s and don't’s in the context of supporting students’ motivation and growth mindset. The key is to use the first lesson to begin establishing academic mindset focused on four key beliefs (see the full reference here):
“I belong in this learning community” (sense of belonging)
“My ability and mastery will growth with my effort” (growth mindset)
“I am able to succeed at this” (self-efficacy)
“This class/work has value for me” (relevance) 
For example, telling students why the course is interesting and worthwhile and that you think they can succeed if they put in the effort, contributes to improved sense of belonging and thus increased motivation. Conversely, telling students that some of them are expected to fail (as the class is traditionally considered difficult) or emphasizing rules and penalties on the first day, contributes to belonging uncertainty, particularly among students who might be unsure about their choices or abilities.

Mindset Kit provides an excellent cycle of lessons on belonging, describing small but important cues in the environment that can promote or hinder belonging in the classroom: Belonging for Educators (13 lessons, 45 minutes to complete).

Other useful resources:
100 Growth Mindset Quotes
Growth Mindset Comparisons for Educators
MindShift (large collection of materials and teaching strategies)
Growth Mindset Lesson Plan (from Khan Academy)
CNSM How to Succeed website

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