This morning, Adam and I sat in our cars in the Horizons parking lot listening to the end of an NPR piece, "Struggle for Smarts? How Eastern and Western Cultures Tackle Learning." The conversation between Adam and I that followed was quite stimulating. The main gist of Jim Stigler's (professor of Pyschology, UCLA) research is that "in the Japanese classrooms that he's studied, teachers consciously design tasks that are slightly beyond the capabilities of the students they teach, so the students can actually experience struggling with something just outside their reach. Then, once the task is mastered, the teachers actively point out that the student was able to accomplish it through hard work and struggle."
Later today, I was doing more research on the math program the fourth and fifth grade team has been piloting and implementing the last three years--Jump Math and came across an interesting video documenting a conversation about growth mindset principles between John Mighton, founder of Jump Math and Carol Dweck of Stanford University. Dweck's research shows, "Just by teaching them that math is a set of acquired set of skills and every time they push outside of their comfort zone to do hard things, neurons in their brains form new connections...it focuses them on learning, making mistakes and learning from them, persisting when they have setbacks."