Guy Claxton – Teaching for intelligent mindsets

Teaching for intelligent mindsets: Auckland 15th March 2015

Teaching intelligence

Guy Claxton, King’s College London

 

  • Fixed mindset one of the most powerful brakes on intelligence.
  • We are trying to teach with the breaks on, no wonder it is a grind!
  • Intelligence is the word we give to our understanding of when the mind is working at full strength – as is creativity and wisdom
  • Intelligence characterised by times when we bring all of our resources together, we are firing on all cylinders, and we cope with situations that are complicated.
  • What is the mind like when it is at its best? Same for boys and girls?
  • Intelligence – understood in 19th – 20th cent by phrenology
  • What evidence do we use to justify judgements made by teachers about intelligence – gifted, struggling
  • Hierarchy of subjects – rational (maths etc.) at the top of the hierarchy and those involving the body (music, dance, drama, design) lower down the food chain
  • This preconception has been blown apart and is shattered by contemporary research (including Dweck).

New Kinds of Smart (Lucas and Claxton)

  • Intelligence is made up of a constellation of aspects of our minds
  • Composite, attitudinal, physical, distributed, social, expandable
  • Intelligence is distributed – not just a single person on their own, esp. if deprived from social tools. Yet we treat students as if their intelligence is their own possession.
  • Intelligence is the sum total of your habits of mind” prof Lauren Resnick
  • Intelligence as a jazz combo: plays off each other, plays sweetly, knows how to orchestrate itself.
  • Links to mindfulness, so important in a world that seems to inspire students to be distractible

Cognitive combo

  • Attention
  • Investigation
  • Imitation
  • Imagination
  • Experimentation
  • Reasoning
  • Reviewing

Attitudinal

Intelligence is powerfully expanded – and contracted – by mindsets, beliefs, attitudes and vulnerabilities”

Fixed mindsets like a computer virus – perverts functionality

Accelerators:

  • Growth mindset
  • Tolerance for uncertainty
  • Fair-mindedness
  • Empathy (perspectives)
  • Craftsmanship

Brakes:

  • Fixed mindset
  • Intolerance for uncertainty
  • My-side bias
  • Egocentricity
  • Approval

Are senior secondary teachers keen to preserve students’ ability to think on their feet – flounder intelligently.

  • Fair mindedness vs. my-side bias
  • Keith Stanovic (sp?) – Canadian researcher – found that high IQ may result in people developing more sophisticated versions of “my-side bias” (focusing on how to prove my perspective)
  • Roger Berger (Austin’s butterfly guy) Creativity emerges from having a go, reflection, having another go, reviewing, having another go etc.
  • Ability to accept suggestions from peers and see how he is bursting with pride when he creates a scientific rendition of a butterfly. Flies in the face (no pun intended) of usual process – product aspect of learning – true creativity comes from having goes at getting it right.

Physical

  • Importance of the body in intelligence – connecting body and mind
  • “The hand is the cutting edge of the mind” Jacob Bronowski
  • True creativity often stems from gesture, if ignored it can hamstring
  • Connections between cognitive performance and physical expression
  • Discusses how we feel and think through our heart, gut, skin, lungs, brain – the body as a connected being where intelligence/ thought happens

Distributed

“We make the world smart so we don’t have to be” – Andy Clark

  • it is person-plus-tools
  • deep in our genetic make up to be designers of tools to extend and develop our intelligence

Yes, we do group work but when stakes are high we expect students to work independently. This is so important regarding how we, as a whole, approach assessment.

Social

Intelligence is a social triumph – Phil Brown and Hugh Lauder

  • Two heads are better than one (sometimes)
  • Communities of practice
  • Social and digital learning
    • Personal learning networks

Sugatra Mitra’s hole in the wall – perfect e.g. of social aspect of intelligence

Expandable

All the instruments of the orchestra of intelligence improve with practice..

We can teach in a way that builds and broadens habits of mind

  • Resilience, imagination, empathy, resourcefulness, reasoning, craftsmanship, reflection, collaboration
  • Links to HPSS Habits and Values
  • The joy of the struggle – Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant when working on ‘The Office scripts’.

Build imagination by using language that encourages imaginative thinking. Move away from “is” language – fixed idea – i.e. the rainbow is red, yellow etc. – Is there actually red? Or is it “man-salmon” (a quote from Steve)

Instead but on “could be” language rather than “is” language…

Love the “empathy specs” to build and stretch empathetic thinking

Building reflection

  • Teachers should coach students to think like a reflective practitioner of learning – essential skill
  • Landau Forte College school in Darby – learning powered school (video clip, see if it is online…)
  • Learning how to learn
  • http://www.landau-forte.org.uk/

Intelligence is NOT Fixed

  • Children can become smarter – and so can we
  • Schools can aim to build learning agility /power / growth mindsets
  • Learning powered students do better academically
  • Why train children to be diligent clerks when we can help them become intelligent explorers?

It is our moral, ethical responsibility as teachers to build students’ intelligence – aims for a more advanced NZ – aspects of citizenship

Question from floor re assessment limiting intelligence

Response – it is up to us to build learning power in students. Not a matter of choosing assessment success or life long learning.

These questions about NCEA and summative, high-stakes assessment are frustrating me! This is another example of how teachers’ fixed mindsets about NCEA and assessment are creating barriers for our students…

 

Streaming

Currently similar in levels of achievement and performance (CLAPS!) – evident in athletics, sports etc.

Problem only comes when you insert the virus of labelling this as predicitive of performance expectations – interesting in terms of how we are using our e-AsTTle / OTJs

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Carol Dweck – teaching for intelligent mindsets

I am very lucky today to be attending this amazing PL opportunity. Here are my unstructured notes. Photos to come…

Teaching for intelligent mindsets

Auckland 15th March 2015

Dr. Carol Dweck

  • Motivation – you never see an unmotivated baby! Babies are infinitely curious, yet many of the things we do turn kids into non-learners.
  • Too much emphasis on “gifted” and “talented”
  • When we foster “natural talent” we make kids feel infallible
  • Where are the kids who can take fb and coaching without it being a blow to their self-esteem?

Fixed and growth mindset

Fixed – search for perfection

Growth – intelligence can be developed.

Which mindset is correct?

  • Neoscience reinforces growth mindset through brain plasticity
  • Cogntive psychologists are isolating aspects of the brain and focusing on how to develop these.
  • Alfred Binet (IQ test designer) actually had an impressive growth mindset. Yet test is used to measure “talent” but his initiaul idea was as an assess tool to identify the students for whom public schools were failing them. Unfortunately, test design does not reflect its use.
  • Are mindsets all or nothing – not necessary, can have a mixed of fixed and growth in different areas (i.e sports, academics, within academic disciplines etc.)
  • When we feel that we are failing, we can fall into a fixed mindset!
  • Mindsets can be changed

Mindsets matter

Studies in students who are trying to enter med schools

Foxed just hope for best, growth actively involved in their learning (sorting out study groups, actively seeking feedback etc.)

All 10th graders Chile – the poorer students in Chile with growth mindsets were outperforming those who from wealthier homes with fixed mindsets. Growth mindset is powerful indicator for academic outcomes.

How do mindsets work?

Whole pscychological world for students which has different meaning.

  • Rule 1:
    • Fixed – look smart at all costs (but above all, NEVER LOOK DUMB)
    • Growth – learn at all costs ( why bother looking smart when you could be getting smarter)
  • Rule 2:
    • Fixed: effort is a bad thing, if you are smart, you shouldn’t need to try (i.e Homer Simpson – trying is the first step towards failure)
    • Growth – work hard, effort is the key. No-one accomplished anything great without great strategies and help from others.
  • WORST IDEA THAT ANYONE CAN HAVE IS THAT EFFORT DOES NOT LEAD TO
  • Rule 3:
  • Fixed – hide mistakes and deficiencies
  • Growth – confront mistakes and learn from them

Where does Mindsets come from?

Praise

Intelligence praise vs. Process praise

Studies on how mother’s talk to babies over time (babies, five years, seven years) thos who were praised with growth mindset (learning) outperformed those with fixed (are secondary schools trying to buck trend)

What to praise:

  • Struggle (only praising kids when they work hard is called nagging)
  • Strategies, choices
  • Choosing different tasks, making mistakes
  • Learning , improving

Growth is about appreciating strategies and choices that students are using –what strategies are working, which aren’t,

How we talk:

  • “Oh, you got an A without really working” – subtext for child effort not important
  • You did that so quickly – subtext rewards for speed

Challenge is interesting and worthwhile

  • Without working – A is nice but you must not be learning much
  • Quickly and easily – it must be boring for you, I’m sorry you’ve wasted your time. Lets do something you can learn from.

Importance of “Yet”

Not ok to say “I’m no good at…” need to retrain our language and semantics to use “I’m no good at … yet” (growth)

Students at school in Chicago use “not yet” as part of their assessment language – culture now of collecting and comparing “not yets” for growth – awesome, AfL in practice! Does B, P, A do this? Probably not, SOLO taxonomy may do? Not Achieved? Not yet achieved would allow for growth – help shift kids from performative to learning focused.

When is it too late for growth mindset training? Answer – NEVER!

Brain plasticity can be an avenue to shift mindsets about mindsets (very meta) – Herrmann’s Brain whole brain dominance at #HPSS developing this in our learners

Maybe an aspect of growth mindset is realising that you never really “have” it – not binary fixed or growth but recognising that situations alter the degree to which we have it.

Consider rock star new teachers – give up when times are tough. Need networks of support for new teachers (and all teachers) to develop their growth mindsets. Story of struggling teacher who persevered with growth mindset by filming and watching self daily to improve. Saw her struggle as “the worst she was ever going to be”. She got there in the end.

Can an organisation have a mindset?

In short, yes! People within the org agree with each other, values either fixed or growth mindset. This applies to schools as well. Are you in a school that worships fixed talent in students and teachers? Or fosters growth? Sense of ako for all akonga.

Fixed – teachers in competition with each other. Growth – teachers collaborate and share.

Growth orgs have more creativity and innovation going on.

Growth mindset and assessment

Formal assessments came about for a reason but their prevalence is killing the joy of teaching and learning. Oh dear…

Culture that celebrates failure – i.e. failure videos, fail blog – detrimental to growth mindsets as an aspect of citizenship?

Making the relevance clear

On Friday morning we (the HPSS assessment team) supported our staff to develop their curriculum rubrics. The idea here is that there is clarity from the learning goals of the module through to the individual aspects of our learning design model which formulate the learning objectives to be assessed.

We are using SOLO taxonomy as the qualifiers to unpack the curriculum levels. I am so very grateful to the wonderful Pam Hook for her support in developing this approach. Friday’s professional learning was really positive and most teachers were feeling empowered around making the learning clear for their students.

Clarity and relevance are essential components of effective pedagogy. If the students (or teachers) are not explicit in what the learning is or why it is relevant, there is the risk of engaging in busy work. Likewise even if the teachers are clear, students who do not understand would simply comply rather than engage in the learning actively.

Saturdays are my day off. I often work on Sundays – prep, blogging, marking, providing feedback for learners etc. – but Saturdays are for me. So when I was laxing on the sofa, watching rubbish TV on Sky’s Vibe channel – I stumbled across Mary Portas’ “Queen of the Charity Shops”. In this show, Mary is overhauling a charity shop (in a similar manner to other challenges she has tackled in the retail sector). I was hooked, partly because the volunteers were resistant and partly because Mary’s point about selling were so profound.

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She talked about the two key things in retail – features and benefits. Features are what makes up an item – be it an exposed zip, 5 inch heels, pleather jacket – whereas benefits are why the shopper wants/needs said item. So as I was sitting there, on my day off, I realised that this could be a useful analogy which we could apply to learning. This is the hook for relevance.

So often, especially in secondary schools, students are often learning something for the sake of learning it. Or they don’t know why they are learning it. Or they can’t see the point of what they are learning.

What if we, as teachers, were to commit to “selling” the features and benefits of a concept, context or skill in our teaching practice. Heaven forbid anyone read this as “because it is on the test” but instead what if we were to make the relevance clear for our learners so they can make sense of what they are doing and why.

So what does that look like then? I’m teaching two distinct things tomorrow. In my learning hub we are focusing on “my learning” or understanding themselves as learners; tomorrow’s lesson is going to be around goal setting.

  • WALT: To set relevant, effective goals as learners
  • Features –  relevance, informed by evidence, timely, measurable, knowing how to measure them
  • Benefits – by setting your own goals, based on your needs, you put yourself in the drivers seat of your learning

Whereas in my Year 9 module (with a social science focus) which I teach with Tracey, we have a different learning objective altogether.

  • We are learning to “evaluate the impact of Irish migration on American society”.
  • Features of this will be the specific aspects of migration
  • benefits to consider negative and positive perspectives of migration, to challenge our own assumptions about migration

I’m keen to explore with the students the benefits that they see. We could co-construct these as a class or in smaller groups.

Both of these benefits will link to the wider educational impact of learning for the individual. It is not about the stuff we are learning; it is about why what is happening in the classroom is relevant for each individual.  Sometimes inspiration come from the strangest of places.