Belonging matters - in education and in Silicon Valley.

When students are uncertain about whether they belong, they are vigilant for cues in the environment that signal whether or not they belong, fit in, or are welcome there. They may also be concerned about confirming a negative stereotype about their group. This hyper-vigilance and extra stress uses up cognitive resources that are essential for learning, diminishing their performance and discouraging them from building valuable relationships.
Students from underrepresented or negatively stereotyped groups may worry about whether people like them are accepted by their peers and teachers.
          ~ Mindset Scholars Network

How Will I Do It?

Will I? or I will? The interrogative versus the declarative. It turns out the difference is in the distinction. A study by Ibrahim Senay, a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows how.

His study asked a group of people to prepare to solve anagrams by thinking either, “Will I work on anagrams?,” or “I will work on anagrams.” Those that asked the question solved more anagrams than participants who repeated the statement.

Why? Apparently when we pose a question of ourselves we give ourselves the ability to choose - we are empowered. Senay notes, “people are more likely to engage in a behavior when they have intrinsic motivation” or “when they feel personally responsible for their action.”

Further, Senay's findings have applicability to how we engage and teach children. From the report:

"Instead of encouraging kids to say to themselves, 'I can do it!', this research suggests that we should be telling young people to ask, 'Will I do it?' or 'Can I do it?' Better still, we can teach children to inquire of themselves, 'How will I do it?' The difference is subtle but powerful: The first is a potentially empty affirmation, while the second gets kids started on what they really need to make it happen: a plan."

Growth Mindset

While I’ve worked hard, I’ve had a pretty fixed mind. Seems I just worked super hard at making it seem like I had everything figured out. And as we all know, I definitely did not. It really hasn’t been until this summer that I’ve truly adopted a beginner’s mind - meaning I don't know but I want to understand. Something Carol Dweck promotes in her book:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Check it out.