Smart Girls

The morning paper - read on a tablet - has a headline "A new way of thinking" promoting a "growth mindset".  (Globe and Mail, Report on Business)

 Carol Dweck, author of  Mindset

Carol Dweck, author of Mindset

I'm amused at what are seen as radical new ideas by the author. She cites Carol Dweck's book, Mindset, the New Psychology of Success as the road to be travelled.. Dweck, a Stanford professor has excellent credentials, but I find it a tad depressing that anyone has to tell us of the perils of fixed mindset. The evidence is all around us in the older generation but I'm more optimistic about the young.  I like to spend time with young children, and a four year old recently had no hesitation in interrupting me in a  class session to check out something that she didn't quite understand. No fixed mindset there.

I tried the test on Dweck's site.  I scored 0 on Fixed Mindset.  Good start to the week! One of the things I noticed is how devoid of image the site is.  I wonder what that says about her interaction with the world outside of research and academia.

The article posits that fixed mindset is holding girls back from STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and math. That may be true - but I also wonder if the current worship of these fields is obscuring the fact that other things are equally important to these girls. Maybe, like this old girl, they are interested in learning to create beauty and goodness - maybe even truth of other sorts.  Tomorrow's article will probably decry soft skills and the lack of emotional intelligence.

 Barbara Oakley

Barbara Oakley

Life long learning never stops. Even when I know this, it doesn't hurt to go back to school for real or online.  The best recent exposure to learning how to learn came from Barbara Oakley's two courses on Coursera, Learning How to Learn and Mindshift.  It's worth noting that Oakley taught herself how to create an online course and did so for less than  $5,000 - and she was summoned by Harvard to find out why her course had attracted more users than all  their courses combined - produced at hundreds of thousands of dollars. No matter where learning wants us to go, there are many practical ideas here that consolidates what I already know but also provides some new helpful strategies.  Check these out.