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

All Good Things Must Come To An End!

I've been sitting here the past two days working on wrapping up my assignments and getting ready to head back to Penn State to be with m...