In a book called “100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept,” the authors give the following analogy to how students’ self-esteem works. They say that students’ self-esteem is like a stack of poker chips; each child has a different amount. The various challenges that we face cost us poker chips. A student who has twenty can sustain five losses of four chips, whereas the student with eight poker chips can only sustain two losses of four chips. Therefore, the students with the fewer number of chips are less willing to take risks because they can’t afford the loss.
If we build our students’ stack of self-esteem poker chips, we enable them to take more risks in our classrooms. I would guess that most of us would agree with this idea. What I would like to convince you of today, is that the way to stack the chips in your students’ pile may be different than you expect.
In an AAUW study, Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America, 3,000 girls and boys were asked to agree or disagree with this statement: I’m happy the way I am.”
“Self-Esteem Index” from the five tested measures of basic individual self-esteem: “I like the way I look,” “I like most things about myself,” “I’m happy the way I am,” “Sometimes I don’t like myself that much,” and “I wish I were somebody else.” The biggest difference in self-esteem between girls and boys centers on the subject of “doing things.” Boys are much more likely than are girls to feel “pretty good at a lot of things.” Almost half the boys say this statement is always true, compared to less than a third of the girls. Boys’ sense of confidence in their ability to “do things” correlates strongly with general self-confidence.
The key, perhaps, lies with an inference that can be made from this quote. To create true self-esteem, what I prefer to call self-concept, not just because of some semantic game but because the phrase “self-esteem” is so loaded with connotation, we need to provide opportunities for our students, our children, and ourselves, to feel enthusiasm for something, set goals, and accomplish those goals with appropriate, effective praise. How to do that?
Key idea: fixed v. growth mindset Do you see difficulty as a challenge or an obstacle? Brain waves study at Columbia given hard questions/feedback fixed mindset - brain showed paying close attention when told if right or wrong, not when given information that could help them - their brains literally turned off -growth mindset - lit up when learning - when do you feel smart? fixed: when I get it all right growth: when it's hard how do you become energized by criticism - NY Times failure has changed from action (I failed) to identity (I am a failure) (OWN IDEA: we cannot know our ability until we work really hard at it) Depression - fixed mindset people have higher rates growth - the more depressed they got, the more they took action fixed mindset - things come easily to people who are true geniuses
I used to be worried about not being able to read, but now I’m working harder. I used to be worried about managing my class, but now I have confidence. I used to be afraid of the dark, but now I sleep without a night light.
The 10,000 hour rule Study by K. Anders Ericsson called “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance” – Berlin Academy of Music Violinists into three groups (stars, good, teachers) Over course of your entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced? All had started around the age of five. Divergence at eight. Did same thing with pianists. “ The striking thing about Ericsson’s study is that he and his colleagues couldn’t find an “naturals,” musicians who floated effortlessly to the top while practicing a fraction of the time their peers did. Nor could they find any “grinds,” people who worked harder than everyone else, yet just didn’t have what it takes to break the top ranks. Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder” (39).
Stories of others who have tried and failed – Everest, Antarctica Quotes of encouragement – “We read hard words.”
The story is told that Winston Churchill, in one of the darker days of the war, gave a short but effective speech – never, never, never give up. That is folklore. The truth is, he gave a short speech, but it wasn’t that short! He was at the school he had attended as a boy, and he gave a speech that included an approximation of the famous phrase, but it also included other words as well. Lots of them. He said, “But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Encouraging stories Self-talk Find a mentor Strategic breaks Plutarch said, “Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.“
Acknowledgement v. praise Praise can be motivational in the classroom if reinforcement is descriptive, and involves using student’s name, choosing appropriate praise words carefully and describing precisely the behavior that merits the praise (Thomas, 1991) When praise is sincere, promotes autonomy, comments on competence without social comparison, and creates realistic expectations, it increases intrinsic motivation and improves perseverance (Hederlong, 2002) Psychologist Wulf-Uwe Meyer, a pioneer in the field, conducted a series of studies where children watched other students receive praise. According to Meyer’s findings, by the age of 12, children believe that earning praise from a teacher is not a sign you did well—it’s actually a sign you lack ability and the teacher thinks you need extra encouragement. And teens, Meyer found, discounted praise to such an extent that they believed it’s a teacher’s criticism—not praise at all—that really conveys a positive belief in a student’s aptitude.
"Praising children's intelligence, far from boosting their self-esteem, encourages them to embrace self-defeating behaviors such as worrying about failure and avoiding risks," said Dr. Dweck, lead author of the study. "However, when children are taught the value of concentrating, strategizing and working hard when dealing with academic challenges, this encourages them to sustain their motivation, performance and self-esteem.“ In the studies, the children were given an exam with several different problems to solve. All children were informed that they did very well on the test - no matter how well they actually did. Some were given statements like, "You must be smart at these problems," while others were told, "You must have worked hard at these problems." Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they’d learn a lot from attempting
In a subsequent round, none of the fifth-graders had a choice. The test was difficult, designed for kids two years ahead of their grade level. Predictably, everyone failed. But again, the two groups of children, divided at random at the study’s start, responded differently. Those praised for their effort on the first test assumed they simply hadn’t focused hard enough on this test. “They got very involved, willing to try every solution to the puzzles,” Dweck recalled. “Many of them remarked, unprovoked, ‘This is my favorite test.’ ” Not so for those praised for their smarts. They assumed their failure was evidence that they weren’t really smart at all. “Just watching them, you could see the strain. They were sweating and miserable.” Having artificially induced a round of failure, Dweck’s researchers then gave all the fifth-graders a final round of tests that were engineered to be as easy as the first round. Those who had been praised for their effort significantly improved on their first score—by about 30 percent. Those who’d been told they were smart did worse than they had at the very beginning—by about 20 percent. http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index1.html In a subsequent round, none of the fifth-graders had a choice. The test was difficult, designed for kids two years ahead of their grade level. Predictably, everyone failed. But again, the two groups of children, divided at random at the study’s start, responded differently. Those praised for their effort on the first test assumed they simply hadn’t focused hard enough on this test. “They got very involved, willing to try every solution to the puzzles,” Dweck recalled. “Many of them remarked, unprovoked, ‘This is my favorite test.’ ” Not so for those praised for their smarts. They assumed their failure was evidence that they weren’t really smart at all. “Just watching them, you could see the strain. They were sweating and miserable.” Having artificially induced a round of failure, Dweck’s researchers then gave all the fifth-graders a final round of tests that were engineered to be as easy as the first round. Those who had been praised for their effort significantly improved on their first score—by about 30 percent. Those who’d been told they were smart did worse than they had at the very beginning—by about 20 percent. http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index1.html
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Key No. 2: Help themrecognize thatthey accomplishthings of value.
CREATE TIMELINES OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT LIKED TO LEARNED MULTIPLY BEGIN TO WILL TAKE MASTEREDSORT TOYS AND TO DO & LOVE AP ALGEBRA PLAY GAMES BASIC MATH DIVIDE FRACTIONS CALCULUSLIKED TO GOT A GOT BETTER WILL PLAY GOT STARTED SING KEYBOARD AT “TRAUMEREI” & MY OWN PIANO SILLY & SIGHT- LEARN LEFT HAND IPOD LESSONS SONGS PLAYED READING BETTER READ READ WILL READ PARENTS READ LEARNED BOOKS READ CHAPTER “WAR & TO ME TO READ WITH NO “THE HOBBIT” BOOKS PEACE” PICTURES
Credit LoveThis presentation was inspired by 100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept byJack Canfield. Although I read the very old edition, a newer one isavailable. Several of the ideas contained here are tweaks of ideas in thisbook.The ideas regarding Ericsson’s work and the importance of intuition wereinspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s books Outliers and Blink, respectively.Photo credits:All photos except those noted below are from iStockPhoto & sxc.hu.Slide 15 – TotallyFred (Flickr)Slide 38 – Erik Plomp: www.ervaarmarketing.nlGetty – Jelson25 (Wikipedia user)Kouros – Dorli Burge