Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mindset: The New Psychology of Sucess Part 2
I have been super busy the past few weeks between getting to experience the Pennsylvania Association of Agriculture Educators (PAAE) Summer Conference and going on my first of several visits to future students' SAE projects, both events to which I will be blogging about very soon!  Between it all I have been able to read the second part of my book and I must say it is starting to really get interesting.  The first few chapters were mainly overviews, ideas, and definitions of what both fixed and growth mindset are.  In the next few chapters, it starts to discuss specific stories, studies and examples of how your type of mindset can influence you life and decisions that you make.  My cooperating teacher, Valerie Fry, and I have both really started to reflect on not only how our types of mindsets will influence us both in the classroom in the upcoming months but how it has truly shaped the way our lives are.  Shall we begin? 
Chapter 4: Sports and the mindset of a champion
This chapter  I actually really got into reading about the backgrounds of some of the most legendary sports heroes we know today like Michael Jordan, Wilma Rudolph, Mia Hamm, Muhammad Ali and Babe Ruth!  All of these people who we idolize all started as athletes who were not so hot in their fields.  None of them were considered naturals which what everyone thinks you have to be in order to succeed in sports.  In fact, most sports agents aren't looking for natural raw talent anymore, they are looking for a good player with an even better mindset.  All of these amazing players and athletes got
to where they are today because of their mindset.  A popular movie called A Cinderella Story has a famous line that has stuck with me (see photo to the right for quote).  This is truly the message that this chapter is pitching home (pun intentional)!  It is saying that if your not the strongest, the fastest, or whatever your excuse is; there is absolutely not reason that you cannot succeed if your mind lets you!  Don't let your mindset hold you back! 
This chapter also talks about character and what it is deep down.  "Character is the ability to dig down and find the strength even when things are going against you."  This book does a great job of explaining that character grows out of mindset.  When someone wants to work hard and knows that no matter what, at the end of the day, as long as they have put everything into themselves and be able to say "I can do better or we will get them next time with more practice".  This isn't something that is easy to say or something that you want to say.  We would all like to say that we have growth mindset and that we never give up, but we all know deep down there is that one thing that we have turned our backs on.  This is when character has to be learned.  We have to learn to pick up the pieces, move on and try harder.  We have to learn to put our best foot forward even when things are not going for us.  We have to learn to have heart!  When we learn these things is when we will truly have the mind of a champion; a mind focused on growth!  My take away moment: Mindset is MORE important than talent!- I want my students as I go into my adventure to take risks.  If they are able to word hard, be dedicated and have a growth mindset they will have no barriers! 
Chapter 5: Business mindset and leadership
This chapter really made me think.  I am not very good when it comes to business and it is actually a great struggle of mine.  So when I headed into this chapter I was terrified that it was going to be talking over my head the whole time.  Thankfully, it brought it down to my kind of terms and didn't talk so much on the business end but more on how to be a successful leader and not letting your victories over take your mind.  There was a lot of discussion in the book about different CEOs and heads of companies who started out as geniuses in business, who were going to set so many companies on the fast track to success.  Only a few of the stories provided ended that way.  In all the others, these smooth and fast talking individuals who at first were very good at their jobs.  They quickly got caught up in the image and worrying about what would happen to that image if they failed even slightly.  Instead of admitting that maybe their ideas didn't work they wanted, they would sooner lie to investors and the public.  They just want to prove that they are better than everyone else.  They are only concerned about their reputation and have no concerns about the employees or the business itself.  This starts a bigger problem as these great geniuses don't want great teams to support them.  Eventually, the business will get rid of the toxic leader or unfortunately will fail completely.  The real sad part is that these toxic leaders were happy to see the company fail, they would rather see it close because of them than let someone else come along and gain praise for fixing it. 
Thankfully, the past has shown business owners and investors that these fixed mindset leaders will only harm the business.  They are looking for leaders who maintain a healthy sense of confidence.  Usually these are those who didn't set out to be leaders at all.  They didn't want to prove themselves, they just wanted to do what they love and see where it took them.  Leadership is all about growth and passion which is exactly what growth mindset is all about!  Being able to admit, I don't know what I'm doing can someone tell/show me how it is done is crucial in any type of leadership position.  These are people who are focused on how can the entire group better themselves by working there.  Are they able to push their minds and use their creativity to be able to create a new and better idea than the leader has.  In return that leader is able to say "Look, Joe has worked hard and came up with this great idea!"  My take away moment: Great leaders don't use the word me, they only say we! - I hope that I as a teacher, a leader of the classroom, realize this and remember it as I go forward.  I want us as a class to succeed together in this adventure, not just me! 
Chapter 6: Relationships mindsets in love or not
This chapter was all about how our mindset can affect all of our relationships with others; family members, friends and significant others.  We all have had a bad relationship once in our lives.  It may have been a co-worker, a friend, or even a family member.  When you part ways is when your true mindset will come out.  There two things you can think:  1. Revenge:  All you want for that person is hurt and pain for what they have done or 2. Forgiveness: You walk away saying I have a whole life to live and I am not going to let this hold me back, it went wrong and it's ok.  Can you guess which one is the fixed mindset?  Growth mindset people are able to know how to move on and embrace the future because they know that even though it didn't work out, they were able to learn something about themselves because of it.  There is no great relationship without conflicts and problems so you must be willing to learn as you go.  Which leads me to another favorite quote of mine that echoes this books message.  Country Singer, John Michael Montgomery tells us all in a famous song that "Life's a dance you learn as you go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow"( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLrnwnNycoQ ).  As people come into and out of your life you need to take advantage of the time you have with them and learn as much as you can about that person because in return you will learn more about yourself.  An important part of this chapter focuses on the friendships we make in our lives.  We need to search out for those that are going to guide us in wisdom, encourage and reassure us, and sometimes praise us.  There can be dangers in praise as I will later read about in the book, but as humans we all need a little bit of praise every once in a while to boost our moral and help us to not give up.  We also need to not worry about finding perfect people to surround ourselves with.  There are not perfect people and if you only look for perfection you will never learn or grow.  My take away moment: Things don't always work!  Forgive, forget and turn to those who you still have! - I will not win the heart of every student along the way.  I cannot let this bring me down.  I will work to become a better version of myself and learn from that of how I can connect better with all students! 
I am looking forward to what the last section of the book has in store for me!  I know that by reading this, it will only make me a better and more aware teacher of both my students' mindsets and my own.  I am already starting to brainstorm about how I can carry these ideas I have learned from this reading into how I can help inform others of how their mindset is key to how successful every aspect of their lives is!
Thanks for reading! 
- Macy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am a senior at Penn State majoring in Agriculture and Extension Education.  I have reached the point in my education that I will be learning about methodology and teaching styles in the fall to prepare me for my student teaching experience.  I will be starting my student teaching in January with Valerie Fry at Selinsgrove High School.  Part of my fall classes requires myself and Mrs. Fry to both read the same book and then discuss and reflect on the ideas presented.  We have chose to read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PH.D.  The book is about the difference in people's mindsets and how to identify the differences.  The book thus far, has included a lot of stories of successes of individuals with a particular type of mindset.  I would like to reflect and summarize main ideas and theories I took away from each of the first three chapters. 

Chapter 1:  The Mindsets
This chapter opened the book by teaching me of the two different mindsets that one can have; fixed or growth.  Those with a fixed mindset tend to believe that qualities and abilities are carved in stone and are assigned at birth.  For example, if you are gifted in math, you have always been gifted just with your natural abilities.  There is no extra required work needed; if your good, your good if your not, your not.  These individuals also require lots of feedback but only if it is positive and confidence building.  If they have any feeling that they have failed at a task, then they will give up and adopt the idea that they are a failure.  If they have excelled at a task, they feel on top of a mountain but need positivity and praises to keep them there or the will spiral down into a feeling of failure.  Once they have mastered a task, they don't want to challenge themselves by going to the next level for the fear of not succeeding so instead they just stay stagnant at the last level of success.  On the other hand, those with a growth mindset believe that basic qualities and abilities are things that can learned and can cultivate through hard work and efforts.  They never stop seeking to learn.  Growth mindset learners feel that there is no success earned with out effort.  Even if you already have mastered a task, you should strive for the next level and keep learning and pushing yourself to do better.  They appreciate a challenge and are want to hear helpful criticism so that they can adapt and grow.  

Chapter 2: Inside the Mindsets
This chapter includes many stories of individuals that compare their personal mindsets and where they have gone in life.  Many of those with a fixed mindset started early life off being called geniuses or child prodigies.  They were always being praised and told that their skills were amazing and had a natural gift.  These people just road on what people had told them was a natural gift and did not exert any additional efforts or practice, leading to them being passes up by those with growth mindsets and efforts have paid off.  It also discussed the idea that those with a fixed mindset also suffer from playing the blame game.  This is when they blame their failures or misfortunes on others.  It never has to do with them not practicing or learning new skills; its everyone else's fault.  The reoccurring example within the book is John McEnroe, famous tennis player.  He never strived to push himself or learn to adapt to new situations; it was never his fault.  The examples of growth mindset mentioned  were Micheal Jordan, famous basketball player and Chuck Yeager, an elite military pilot.  Chuck differed from other pilots, as they believed they were special and born with much more bravery and smarts because they were a pilot.  Chuck said "There is no such thing as a natural-born pilot.  The best pilots fly more than others; that's why they're the best." 

Chapter 3: The truth About Ability and Accomplishment
The final chapter I will be reflecting on talked about how to recognize accomplishments of students.  Studies conducted showed that if individuals were given constructive and specific praises they were likely to change from a fixed mindset to growth.  Saying things such as "Your hard work paid off" or "Really nice job, I can tell you put a lot of effort in" guides students into a growth mindset.  Phrases such as "Wow, your really smart" or "You really have a gift for this" will only support a fixed mindset.  This chapter also discussed stereotypes and the affects that they have on mindsets.  Stereotypes such as woman can't succeed in math and science, or African Americans are less intelligent hinder individuals.  This especially has negative effects on those with fixed mindsets because they feel that no matter what they will never succeed; they feel their destiny is already determined by stereotypes.  But it still expresses that with hard work, effort and a strong growth mindset, you can succeed and overcome your faults.  They do briefly talk about how this needs to be used in context of course.  Those who have access to money, higher connections, and additional resources have a better chance of achieving goals and keeping a positive mindset no matter why type.  No everyone is able to access all resources however, so some have to work and work even harder to achieve success but with a growth mindset they will have a better chance of reaching goals. 

I cannot wait to dive deeper into this book and see what the gems are held within the pages.  I am really hopeful that there are lots of example of how to keep a positive growth mindset overall in a classroom of students.  I would love to have my future students all have a growth mindset and continuously strive to do better and keep raising the bar for themselves.  I already have learned a lot and I have only began.  I never thought much about the feedback and praise given to students and how that can effect their mindset.  I didn't know that calling someone gift or smart could in return someday lead to downfall.  I would love to hear what you guys are thinking thus far of my book and my reflections; feel free to comment or leave questions below.

Thanks for reading everyone! 

Hello Everyone!

Hello everyone! My name is Macy Fisher and am finally a senior at Penn State University majoring in Agriculture and Extension Education.  Through out the next year, I will be using this blog as a space to reflect and discuss the adventures and lessons I will experience through out my pre-service teaching.

I will take on this unique and intensive learning experience of student teaching at Selinsgrove High School under the guidance of Ag teachers Valerie Fry and Curt Swineford.  I cannot wait to begin this journey and am excited to see what the next year holds for me as I learn teaching methods and styles in the fall to prepare for student teaching in January 2018!  I will frequently update, reflect upon, and unpack my thoughts regularly here.  I can't wait until I can tell you more about what's to come but for now I will tell you more about myself. 

I have grown up on my family's owned and operated dairy farm in Mifflin County.  We have a 50 cow milking herd that consists of my grandfather's original herd of Holsteins, my sister's herd of Ayrshires, and my herd of Jerseys.  From the time I could walk, I was always out in the barn with the
cows and constantly learning about anything and everything.  My family is deeply rooted in agriculture but never pressured me to make it my passion, thankfully though I knew that I never wanted to stray away from the agricultural community.  Which lead me to being a very active member of 4-H and the Captain Jack FFA chapter in high.  I was also a part of the track and field team, was in band for a short time, and was highly dedicated to the Captain Jack FFA Square Dance Team.  If you didn't find me in th
e Ag room through out the school day, you could just walk down the hall to the Special Education department and would find me.  Starting in Jr. High, I was a classroom helper every year in the special needs rooms and loved being apart of these students everyday successes.  My life's passion is teaching agriculture but a very close second would be teaching special education. 

You might be wondering what drew me to wanting to become an Ag teacher.  Others may say that it took them a while to realize that they wanted to teach or they started elsewhere and it just came to them; for me it was all I ever wanted to do.  From my first few days in the Ag room at my high school, I knew that I wanted to be just like my Ag teacher!  Erica Mowrer will always be my role model and be the reason that I found my path in life.  She made the Ag room the popular place to be and not just because they did fun things in class.  She made everyone feel like their own rock star and that they can be successful in whatever they do.  It may only be a small victory like getting all of your seeds to actually sprout or it could be coaching a member to run for State FFA Office.  She was able to take me from a shy and quite student to some one who couldn't stop talking and loved talking in front of crowds.  I knew I wanted to teach but I didn't realize that it was my passion until I served a year as the Mifflin County Dairy Princess.  I was able to experience both formal and informal teaching with diverse learning groups and I loved every minute of it.  From that moment, I knew that as soon as I graduated; I was headed to get my Ag Ed degree! 

My path has had a few bumps and turns along the way.  I had to take a few years off before actually starting my journey unfortunately.  The captain of our family's team and the head of our farm, my grandfather, unexpectedly passed away and it took a while for my family to transition not only mentally but physically.  I have always said that my family comes first, so I knew that I could not put my education before helping my family. I hold no regrets in waiting to start this adventure and am very happy to finally be a this point in my life where I can look towards the end of the tunnel and start to see a glimmer of light. 

I can only imagine of what lies before me.  I know that it will not be easy but I know that every moment of it will be worth it; hence my blog title Macy's Moments.  I know that every moment was go though in life, no matter how easy or hard to overcome, is a moment for us to learn and grow.  I hope that you will continue to follow my AgEd journey one moment at a time! 

Thank for reading!
- Macy

Mindset: The New Psychology of Sucess Part 2 I have been super busy the past few weeks between getting to experience the Pennsylvania Ass...