Thursday, October 1, 2015

Growth Mindset: Praising the Process

Praise the process, first. 
Last summer, my oldest and my youngest daughter spent a week together, making a stand-up paddle board. They bought a kit and borrowed power tools.  They had very little experience and zero supervision.  But, they did approach the entire project with a Growth Mindset.  My only contribution to the project was to exact from them one promise, "Wear Goggles". 
The project was most certainly not error-free.  What they did discover, however, was that almost all mistakes can be eradicated if given sufficient amounts of time and sandpaper.
 
They mixed epoxy resin, sealed the frame with fiberglass and created a pretty impressive paddleboard.  All along, I doubted their ability to bring the project to completion.  And yet, they did it!  I think that hefty doses of process praise (from their Dad) kept them going when the project may have faltered.  In the end, the process praise resulted in a great final product.
Sometimes, we classroom teachers are so concerned with outcomes that we tend to emphasize the perfect final product more often than we notice (and praise) the effort in the process 
In the end, all of the mistakes come together to make a beautiful, if imperfect, finished product.  Begin with a Growth Mindset, and who knows what might be able to float!