Sep 232016

Growth Mindset in the Classroom

Growth Mindset – Not Systematically and Appropriately Vetting/Implementing Research Proven, Best Practices Pedagogy

Growth Mindset – Blindly Following Unproven Fads; Piecemeal, Willy-Nilly and Improper Implementations; Talking the Talk, not Walking the Walk

Education Week Research Center recently published this report: Mindset in the Classroom A National Study of K-12 Teachers

Growth Mindsets; MindsetWhite House Explores Research on Academic MindsetsLeveraging Mental Muscle for Academic Excellence‘Growth Mindset’ Gaining Traction as School Improvement Strategy

It is not without controversy: Growth mindset theory is ‘overplayed’ and could be harmful, geneticist warns

Per the Education Research Center Report, above: ” experts have expressed concern about whether teachers might have critical misunderstandings related to growth mindset that could potentially undermine its success when put into practice with students”

HMMMMMM… Have we heard this before, potentially good idea, too quick to pull the trigger, improperly vetted and improperly implemented for measurably and successfully, advancing student success outcomes?

50.1 Million students are not getting deep adaptive, 21st century skills
3.1 Million teachers @$18,000 each not getting adaptive professional development benefits
$634 Billion spent to educate kids with little benefit
20.2 Million college students not getting adaptive learning skills (@15k per year plus)

I. IPAD Tablets, alone, will solve the problem of Advancing Student Success Outcomes:

April 28, 2011

…”After a year on the market, the iPad is still the hottest tablet around. And students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have been lucky enough to use them in the classroom for an entire school year”…  …”Cram says he hasn’t seen any dramatic improvements in learning since incorporating the iPad, but he anticipates that there will be soon”…

No there won’t, but that didn’t stop LAUSD from unsuccessfully budgeting a BILLION dollars to put an IPAD in the hands of every student.

It’s NOT the technology, which is a simple delivery vehicle, it’s the appropriate use of research proven, best practices pedagogy that measurably advances individual student success outcomes FOR ALL STUDENTS

By the by one tablet for one student, which is commonly referred to as 1 to 1 learning, IS NOT differentiated instruction, even though it’s erroneously referred to as such.

II. One size fits all, delivery methodologies are Educationally Innovative. IF we try hard enough, they will measurably advance, effective, efficient, consistent, affordable, student success outcomes for all students

Lecture, Seminar, with Clickers

Simple Technology, like, but not limited to a tablet


Lecture, Word Document, Video, Pdf. file, put on line (commonly and generically referred to as eLearning)

Force the students to work harder under a flawed system, not smarter under an educationally innovative system

The answer is NO, they will not! BUT, they are common in K-12 education and are erroneously defended as educationally innovative.

III. 3.1 Million teachers in 3.1 Million Classrooms, each implementing  differing teaching/ differing deep learning methodologies, is the best possible approach to advance individual student success outcomes

Probable Individual Classroom Approaches that WILL NOT advance Student Success Outcomes:

Not following the proven, best practices research  and hoping student success outcomes will advance

Following the proven best practices research, but not appropriately implementing the methodology in their classroom to advance student success outcomes

Following and correctly/incorrectly implementing an approach that has high visibility, but no supporting research to validate that it will advance student success outcomes

Maintaining a one size fits all teaching methodology (lecture e.g.) and adding piecemeal, educationally innovative, research proven, best practices methodology

Not properly vetting and then beta testing a research proven, educationally innovative methodology, to ensure that it will measurably advance, student success outcomes, consistent with defined goals/objectives and organizational mission/mission.

IV. We ARE  differentiating learning. We ARE advancing student success outcomes. We ARE implementing growth mindset. We ARE strategically and collectively focused on advancing student success outcomes.  Do we believe everything that we read/are told? Is there a possibility that we are being misled/misinformed. Is there lots of talk about advancing student success outcomes, but little classroom, appropriate application of educationally innovative methodologies? If all this is happening, why aren’t student success outcomes advancing?

Educations problems, erroneously are referred to as : Money, Poverty, Parents, Students, Class Size. Fixing these possible subsets of the real problem, will not directly, measurably, effectively, efficiently, consistently, advance student success outcomes. Why? Because we need to fix the real problem first, which is effectively, efficiently, consistently, affordably, and measurably, advancing relevant, sustained, individual student success, performance improvement outcomes, for ALL students (empowering students to work smarter, not harder).

Who is in it for whom?  Is it more important to divert attention away from the real problem, than to address the real problem? If the goal is to effectively, efficiently, consistently and measurably advance student success outcomes, why do traditional educators criticize our billionaires desire to invest in educationally innovative methodologies, that are proven to advance student success outcomes? Is it because traditional educators are focusing their attention on preserving a flawed system, rather than embracing, research driven, best practices, educationally innovative, change?

V. We are the experts, in education/teaching/learning, at advancing individual student success outcomes, for ALL students. We are your child’s superintendent, administrator, principal, teacher. WE know best, trust us, even if our approach individually, or collectively doesn’t follow the research, or best practices and even if our schools student success results are poor. You shouldn’t concern yourselves with advanced student success outcomes and school accountability for doing so. Trust us, we’re doing ALL the right things for you and your child.

Why don’t traditional educators follow, understand, engage, appropriately implement and measure the best practices, educationally innovative research/methodologies?

 Traditional, incumbent, 20th Century, one size fits all, fixes, will never effectively, efficiently, consistently, affordably and measurably, advance student success outcomes, for ALL students (at-risk, traditional, gifted).

VII. We will self-correct, if you give us enough time to do so. What’s the rush? Why do we allow (We = The funding public, Parents, School Boards, Superintendents, Chief Technology Officers, Directors of Student Success, Principals, Teachers) millions of individual teachers, in millions of individual classrooms, to willy-nilly implement, potentially, millions of differing methodologies, that WILL NEVER, effectively, efficiently, consistently, and measurably advance student success outcomes? Would we allow this preservation of flawed, 20th Century, methodologies in Medicine, Engineering, Aviation, The Military? Of course we wouldn’t, but we turn a blind eye to education and embrace the self-serving propaganda, that is not at all focused on advancing student success outcomes, the reason education exists.

VIII. Why I Personally, or Collectively, Don’t Care about Advancing Student Success Outcomes (common excuses I’ve heard):

I don’t care how effectively, efficiently, consistently and measurably our $634 Billion Annual investment in education advances all individual  student success outcomes. What’s a few extra 100 billion dollars, in direct US consequences of traditional education habitually failing our students: increased, remediation, crime, incarceration, unemployment, underemployment, welfare, drug dealing, drug use, alcoholism, alcohol and drug treatment, between friends?

I don’t care if traditional educators are blind to the real problem.  They should have the right to manage their classrooms as they choose, even if their individual methodology does not advance and will not ever effectively, efficiently, consistently, affordably and measurably advance student success outcomes.

I believe that the problems in education are money, poverty, parents, students, classroom size. We can’t do anything to advance individual student success outcomes until society fixes these problems first.

I just can’t do any more. I’m underpaid (especially compared to professional engineers, who  work 12 months out of the year, who are personally accountable for their individual contributions, who don’t get benefits anywhere close to what I get, nor who have the control over their workday like I do), I’m overworked (even though traditional one size fits all teaching is systemically inefficient/ineffective for students, BUT biased towards reducing my workload) and I’m under appreciated. (Even though I only work 7 months out of the year, get sick days within those 7 months, all holidays, spring break, the entire summer, fall break and Christmas break off, have fully funded retirement, have exceptional benefits, life, health, vision, and dental, that I pay very little towards, have virtually no accountability towards advancing student success outcomes, have stellar job protection, have total control over my classroom and sometimes have a paid assistant to help me with my workload, I’ve got it bad).

I don’t care if there is misleading press, half-truths and sometimes outright lies, from traditional educators and/or unions representing them.  I believe they have the right to misrepresent their position and divert attention from the real problem, rather than owning up to the problem and fixing it.

I don’t care about our students success;  I’m more concerned with our educators success.

I’ve always done it this way, it is working for me nicely and no one is forcing me to change, so I’m okay with things as is.

I look at others doing exactly as we are doing. If it’s okay for them, it’s okay for me.

I look to my colleagues. Collectively we are okay with things as is. The last thing I want to do is rock the boat. It’s overwhelmingly important to me that everyone likes each other.

I look at my individual performance reviews, which are outstanding. There is no reason to change. Based upon this, there is no room for improvement.

I don’t believe that our school results are accurate.

I’ve been here 30 years. Simply by longevity, I’m the expert (in reality, the new teachers coming in are the experts, bringing in research proven, best practices pedagogy. BUT the new teachers have difficulty adjusting to a rigid, one size fits all, teaching culture)

I don’t know what to do, or how to do it, but I have to do something. Hmmmm, how about a whiteboard, or apple tablets for each student. Even though those ipads are 2-3 times the cost of a chrome book, they have a far better camera. Maybe clickers. I heard those are being used elsewhere. I’m comfortable choosing these options, even though they won’t advance student success outcomes, because they are safe choices for me

I’ve gone through teacher professional development, in the past and it didn’t help me improve my performance

I’m not going to properly access, understand, engage or appropriately implement research proven, best practices, but I will engage simple, but expensive, solutions, that deliver my flawed one size fits all teaching methodology faster (tablets, whiteboards, videos, elearning, clickers, only to find out that they didn’t advance individual learning outcomes)

I don’t care to engage because I’m are just too busy to understand the issues:


No Thanks...We Are Too Busy

I’ve tried all of this in the past, unsuccessfully and it’s possible that my past implementations were incorrect. Even though what’s presented today is completely different, I’m still going to nay say it, without providing any viable alternative to advance student success outcomes.

I don’t care if we currently have the tools to fix student success outcomes, it’s simply easier for me to believe the misleading statements that these tools haven’t been developed yet.

I don’t believe in research, or best practices. My approach always has been shooting from the hip and flying by the seat of my pants. They have my personal approval for this approach, because this is the approach I believe in, even though most times it doesn’t work successfully for me.

I’ve looked at your website. Rather than appreciating all the time, money and effort you put into making this available to me for free and allowing me to use it as a credible third party resource to advance my student success outcomes,  I’m going to criticize you for not using enough commas in your sentences. You see, by choice, I am unable to see the forest from the trees and that’s why I’m happy with the status quo.

All Possible Knowledge a

I’m looking for something that doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t disrupt what I am currently doing, allows me more free time in my day and that measurably advances my student success outcomes >> Might I suggest a longer ride on the spinning tea cups at Disney, with a pocket full of of pixie dust, to throw, while riding them?

What is YOUR reason for not caring?


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

growth mindset