‘The Power of Yet’

Posted in SSZ Briefings  ·  July 5th 2016

‘The Power of Yet’

Why Talking About the Brain Can Empower Learners

Knowledge about how the brain works can make a big difference.  This is especially true when someone is confronting difficult learning situations.
Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems.

In this recent TED talk (Nov 2014), she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve: either, you think you are not smart enough to solve it … or, you have just not been able to solve it yet?  Her talk, lasting only ten minutes, is a great introduction to this influential field.

If you have a growth mindset and are aware of your ability to improve yourself, then a challenge can be welcome.  This is the opposite of someone with a fixed mindset who is averse to the failures a challenge may bring.

Stanford University professor of psychology Carol Dweck, who has been leading the research in this field, discusses “The power of believing that you can improve” in this TED talk.

In one example, she talks about students who made vast improvements on test scores once they learned about the growth mindset.
“This happened,” she says, “because the meaning of effort and difficulty were transformed.

Before, effort and difficulty made them feel dumb, made them feel like giving up.  But now, they realise that effort and difficulty means their neurons are making new connections, stronger connections. That’s when they’re getting smarter.”

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