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    Thank you for the article, Gordon. I have a few points that I would like to share. It is also going to be difficult for an educator, be it parent or teacher, to turn off the praise when they see something good. • I don’t think the idea is to “turn off” the praise, but rather make it meaningful praise that is effort-based rather than outcome-based. If a kid gets a question right or demonstrates a new skill well, saying “You are so smart!” or “Look how talented you are!” encourages them to think about skill development and learning as only an outcome-based achievement and could automatically lead them to compare themselves to others rather than themselves. If we can simply change the language and make it more descriptive, I believe it will be more meaningful. “I love how hard you worked to understand this question!” or “You’re really using your feet well now” gives the kids a tangible link to the reason for their success and I think by adding more descriptors they can develop a better mental representation of what they want to achieve or get better at. I see these students wasting their time on impossible goals when a realistic target would give them satisfaction. • This confuses me. Since when is it our job, or right, to tell a kid their goal is impossible? Isn’t our job, and privilege, as educators to provide them with the right tools to handle the sacrifices, harsh words from other kids (if they come), the challenges they will face when they set a goal that is so huge and inspiring for them? Sure we may not get it right every time but we should not be using words like impossible or unachievable when talking about dreams and goals with our students. We all should be mastering differentiation and if you are a great differentiator then you should be able to converse with your student using knowledge of their previous achievements to guide them in setting realistic goals that they would likely achieve within the school year or in their personal lives. For example a student of mine in an introductory letter said that he wanted to be a famous UFC fighter. I asked him if this was true – incredulously (and on purpose, because I’m confident he would get the same reaction from other people too), and he said yes, of course! Instead of focusing on how difficult it would be, I asked him how often he was training and whether he felt challenged by his teachers and peers, and used my own experience in martial arts to let him know that when you aren’t being challenged enough you need to embrace change and find someone better to help you reach your goals. It takes commitment, perseverance, effort, desire, passion… these are not skills that are easy to come by as an adult, let alone a teenage student! We need to show kids that they can achieve what they set out to achieve – IF THEY APPROACH IT IN THE RIGHT WAY AND WITH EVERYTHING THEY HAVE. (I am taking leave from my permanent teaching job to train in my martial art Japan for one year as I will have access to a range of different opportunities that will challenge me and force me to grow. I am not naïve about heading there though – I know there will likely be days when I will cry from frustration and disappointment because my skills will seem abysmal– but having the tools of a growth mindset will help me overcome those difficult times and enable meaningful reflection to show my progress.) Then trying to have parents reinforcing the same message of only praising effort and improvement rather than success would be impossible to police… • It would be difficult to police, but not impossible. Unfortunately the reality of education is that we cannot help every child in the way they need to be helped, and this is largely due to what they experience outside the school walls. We need to encourage more parent/school relationships so that we CAN get the message and tools across to as many people as possible. This is when we will start to see change. But I think it is important for kids to get the consistent language thrown at them from all classroom teachers, staff and peers while they are in school so it becomes the norm. And then maybe we can send them home with the guts to challenge the way their parents and families are speaking and thinking. Unfortunately the book didn't say much about how it actually worked. Instead of seeing her book as an instruction manual in how to apply Growth Mindset it can only be seen as a starting point for teachers to develop their own practice in accommodating the theory into their own classrooms. • There are many other scholars who have worked under Carol Dweck and created resources that are school-specific. “Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools” by Mary Cay Ricci is just one resource that to me, provides a suitable, workable framework that starts from the bottom up. It outlines what mindsets are, how to build a GM school culture, talks about the implications of gifted education and GM principles, and how to introduce staff professional development that first identifies teachers’ own mindset frameworks and how to change over to the GM to increase success in the classroom. It is a compelling idea and I read Dweck's book hoping to learn how to practically apply her theories and change my pupils' who have a Fixed Mindset into ones who have a Growth Mindset. • Please search further than Dweck as she is not the be all and end all of Growth Mindset. You may be surprised in the plethora of knowledge that exists to help support teachers, schools, parents and students to understand their potential – and how to unlock it. At school we need to be talking more and thinking deeply about how the brain works to guide our pursuits in learning and teaching. Some other excellent reads include “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson. I hope you enjoy them.

    — Dale Padoin on Growth Mindset Not The Only Tool For Teachers