The Power of Believing That You Can Improve

Carol Dweck performed a Ted Talk titled, “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve“, and I loved it. The first point that really stuck me was that she went to a group of 5th graders and gave them questions that may be too hard for the typical 5th grader. Some students simply loved the challenge and I believe that every student needs to be pushed. One of the most talked about concepts in Human Development and Family Studies was the Zone of Proximal Development. As an ex-HDFS major, this is one of the only concepts I truly understood. So the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is the sweet spot where children fall on a line when they are learning something new that is difficult enough where they are being challenged but not so difficult they get frustrated and want to give up, this is where they do the most learning. During this Ted Talk, all I was thinking about was the ZPD. It is important for educators to find this area for of ZPD for each individual student and work with them to expand it so the students get the most out of their education. Another part I found to be very interesting in her speech was how educators should praise their students. Praise them not for their intelligence but for their progress. I also learned in Human Development and Family Studies that documenting the students progress is probably more important than the actual end product. For example, if they are working on an art project, hanging the end piece up in the hallway is not very important, but if the teacher is taking pictures and writing notes about the progress the student is achieving, that will be more essential to the students actual learning, which is the most important part.

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve”

  1. I really appreciate your connections to the ZPD (as well as how clearly you explained it in class!). It helps me to think about the ZPD as the “point of need” in students’ learning. How do you think you’ll apply the concept in your future teaching (and even with the kids at Lesher this semester)?

    1. I think that just by getting a read on the students, like if they seem to be struggling too much with something, I could fix the agenda. Or even getting verbal feedback, specifically asking them if certain assignments are too hard or too easy! What do you think would be a valuable tactic to use?

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