Saturday, February 5, 2011

Final Summary

From the very beginning of the book, Mr. Willingham discusses interesting points such as the fact that we are naturally curious, but are not naturally good thinkers. I think that although I thought about how to move information from working memory to long term memory, and ways to help our student's make those connections easier, etc... the chapter that had the biggest impact on me was Chapter 8. I teach five year olds, and have several students who already come IN to the classroom with the perception of 'fixed intelligence'. They are so concerned with "getting it wrong". Some are afraid to even TRY to answer any questions, due to this fear. We work very hard to correct this, and get our students to view intelligence as being malleable. I'll admit that this is not an easy task!
Another point in this chapter that stood out to me was when he spoke about the classic experiment with the patterns, and how the comments that students were given could shape how they viewed intelligence. We all, as adults...parents, teachers, coaches, etc. have to be careful HOW we praise our kids. Many times we think we are doing them a favor by telling them that they did a good job, they are "smart". The reality is, that our good intentions may well have the opposite effect: that the next subject/skill they do not do well on, it means they are "dumb" in that area. Sometimes we don't realize how just a small change in the way we give praise "Good job! You must have worked hard!" can give such a different impression for children. We try very hard to make all of our children in Begindergarten feel that they are successful and intelligent. This chapter was a good reminder of the effects of praise, and can be a great one to share with others too!

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