This is a blog about The Power of Not Yet and how the ‘Not Yet’ theory may be applied in your classroom tomorrow!
I am introducing this assessment philosophy into my own classroom throughout 2015 and will feedback the results …
Last week, I blogged my Thoughts on Mastery in the Classroom and in this blog, I said “If you want to be masters of our classrooms and for our students to have implicit memory functions, we need to develop a level of awareness as classroom practitioners. As teachers we should consider what content to teach next; what the student will do to learn and what the teacher will do to facilitate the acquisition of that learning.”
My conclusion states that the first decision of teaching is based on content, the what of teaching, the second decision is directed at the student behaviour that makes learning possible, the student’s how of learning. And finally that the ‘why‘ of teaching is often left behind in so many of our day-to-day decisions in the classroom. If we could all consider the why of teaching, we may then be able to equip ourselves, as well as our students, to acquire mastery in the classroom.
Dweck and Mindset
I have been reluctant to blog about Dweck and Growth and Fixed mindset, because I have been slow to get up to speed with the research. In the meantime, this fabulous TED talk by Dweck explains The Power of Not Yet and how I may be able to apply this into my very own classroom; perhaps even whole-school? In the video, Dweck shares “growth mindset — the idea that we can grow our capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this video, Dweck describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet?”
I particularly like the idea of feeding back to students whilst encouraging them to try again. The video is 10 minutes long.
I have cliped most of the transcript to include the key elements and questions I’d like to pose for my own use in the classroom. Dweck says;
0:12 “I heard about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate, and if they didn’t pass a course, they got the grade “Not Yet.” And I thought that was fantastic, because if you get a failing grade, you think, I’m nothing, I’m nowhere. But if you get the grade “Not Yet” you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.
3:12 How are we raising our children? Are we raising them for now instead of yet? Are we raising kids who are obsessed with getting A’s? Are we raising kids who don’t know how to dream big dreams? Their biggest goal is getting the next A or the next test score? And are they carrying this need for constant validation with them into their future lives? Maybe, because employers are coming to me and saying, we have already raised a generation of young workers who can’t get through the day without an award.
4:01 So what can we do? How can we build that bridge to yet?
4:08 … we can praise wisely, not praising intelligence or talent ... But praising the process that kids engage in: their effort, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance, their improvement. This process praise creates kids who are hardy and resilient.
4:38 … We recently teamed up with game scientists from the University of Washington to create a new online math game that rewarded yet. In this game, students were rewarded for effort, strategy and progress. The usual math game rewards you for getting answers correct, right now, but this game rewarded process. And we got more effort, more strategies, more engagement over longer periods of time, and more perseverance when they hit really, really hard problems.
5:24 Just the words “yet” or “not yet,” we’re finding, give kids greater confidence, give them a path into the future that creates greater persistence. And we can actually change students’ mindsets.
8:23 … Before, effort and difficulty made [students] feel dumb, made them feel like giving up, but now, effort and difficulty, that’s when their neurons are making new connections, stronger connections. That’s when they’re getting smarter.
So, with this in mind, I will attempt to use this in my own classroom during 2015 and feedback before the summer. This may or may not work, but one can only find out with classroom practice. This may lead to a set of new classroom resources – and I will do all I can to avoid stamps and stickers – whether it is a grade, a number or an obsolete national curriculum level, students will receive a ‘Not Yet’ in their coursework, tests and exercise books in my class. It sounds simple, but this will be attached to a form of assessment in order for the students to ‘act upon’ the feedback received.
As we know, whatever the feedback is, it must be sophisticated and explicit, even if something is branded with ‘Not Yet’ alongside a ‘grade A’. I will report back …