Carol Dweck finds that the words adults use to describe kids’ progress affects the children’s belief in their own potential. In this TED Talk, she discusses the power of the process, and the power of allowing children to discover the meaning of effort and difficulty. She argues that we should praise the process (strategies, focus, effort, improvement) rather than intelligence or ability. She says that creating a path into the future that creates greater persistence is more valuable than allowing students to stay within their comfort zone. She calls this the growth mindset, and believes that students can improve and grow through passion and perseverance.
Carol Dweck is a professor at Stanford and the author of Mindset, a classic work on motivation. She has also taught at Harvard and Columbia.
Dr. Dweck describes a classroom on a reservation in Washington where Native American children were transformed through effort and difficulty, and who eventually outperformed the former top students in their district (who lived in a wealthy suburb in Seattle).
At Biltmore Tutoring, Dr. Dweck’s teachings fit easily into our own philosophy. The growth mindset requires hard work, expert instruction, and treating test prep as a process. At Biltmore Tutoring, we begin with a diagnostic test, then begin instruction by filling in gaps in a student’s academic background and weaving in effective strategies that will allow them to work faster and more confidently. Students are encouraged to embrace the difficult challenges that lie ahead. We then encourage them to take practice tests, performed under actual conditions, to demonstrate these new skills and to boost confidence. We ask them to take the ACT or SAT at least three times, which reduces stress and allows them to treat the testing process as a journey, rather than as a single, high-stress test event that will determine their entire futures.
This process allows students to reduce stress, while learning how to embrace a challenge and simultaneously discovering that the keys to beating the SAT and ACT lie within themselves.