Monthly Archives: July 2017

Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci

I’m reading this book to prepare for professional development which I am leading in the fall.

I just hit something I want to remember and didn’t quite know where to put it so, here I am. It’s been three years since I blogged anything. I write my reviews on Goodreads and I tweet periodically things I find which interest me but for more in-depth work, I guess this is where it goes.

From Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment p. 33: “Eaters and bakers. Eaters want a bigger slice of an existing pie; bakers want to make a bigger pie. Eaters think that if they win, you lose, and if you win,, they lose. Bakers think that everyone can live with a bigger pie.”

This quote makes me think about life in competitive dance. It’s very hard to keep your child remembering that all of their class can improve as dancers and yet that’s what makes dance so engaging and exciting. Just because you dance well doesn’t mean I can’t dance well. On one day to one examiner or adjudicator one of us may be ranked higher but that isn’t the end or beginning. It’s just one day.

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My fixed mindset

I have a fixed mindset when it comes to my athletic ability. I stopped thinking of myself as an athlete long ago – grade nine or so. I was one of 90 girls who tried out for Junior and Freshman basketball. They cut to 40 after one day. I didn’t make it. Then in the later part of the year, I spent the whole track season looking for something at which I would be competent. This meant that I would be among the top three in my age category because it didn’t seem to matter if you were less good than that. My school was large. I wasn’t that good at anything. They recommended middle distance running. It didn’t interest me. That was the complete end for me in athletics. I spent the rest of my high school career in fine arts and academics. I was in the top of my class but there were 60 or so of us in the higher academic stream. I ‘belonged’ there. I was among the best of the musicians.

I married an athlete. I see him take so-so runners and encourage them to be active and enjoy their own improvement. I wish I had considered improving my own athletic ability before I got arthritis in my feet. I’m not sure I would have ever loved to run but perhaps if I had been better earlier in my life, it would have made a difference.

I struggle with my fixed mindset when I work with disadvantaged students. Students who have already given up on themselves and are not motivated to learn are hard to teach. It’s not that I don’t think they can, I don’t think they will. I’m not sure how to move that part of my thinking. It’s not a long distance from ‘they won’t’ to ‘they can’t’.

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