Persistence Tip 2. Overwrite Wrong Mindsets with Right Ones

brain-based teaching grit growth mindset learner centered curriculum motivation persistence student engagement

Dr. Jeanne L. Paynter

I’ve been reading a new book, Mind Your Mindsets, and discovered something about our marvelous brain: It continually seeks to make meaning from our memories and experiences and form “stories” or narratives that help us function. The stories are mostly helpful, until they’re not.

The brain hates “gaps” and rapidly fills in answers. Traumatic experiences are likely to result in wrong stories. Here are some wrong “stories” our learners might tell themselves about persistence: I’m helpless, hesitant, unsure, disconnected, unmotivated, aimless, weak, lazy, quitting.

How do we replace these wrong mindsets? 

Now, with my new brain-based understandings, I am modifying my Student-Directed Goal that I presented in Persistence Tip 1.  It still defines persistence, but becomes  a personal narrative now because the addition of the  “I am” statement.

I am persistent.

 I focus energy and effort on a task.  I continue working even when it is difficult, trying different methods to improve and refine.

Next, make persistence the focus in your instruction using Talent Goals.  Let’s say you are teaching a lesson on writing an argument or conducting research. Both take persistence, and we need to record over those old stories about being helpless, unsure, weak, disconnected, quitting! Transform your content standards into Talent Goals and you can teach persistence and the other aptitudes of innovators.

These easy-to-write goals transform your teaching and students’ learning with a simple but profound shift: the aptitude goal “drives” the content acquisition. Talent goals begin with aptitude action statements such as: Use your persistence to…This shift in emphasis to personal talent development over impersonal content acquisition instantly creates a student-centered approach that is motivating, engaging, and achievement-oriented.

The complete process for creating and assessing talent goals is developed in my book Teach to Develop Talent.

Let’s work together! I’ll your personal Teach to Develop Talent coach in the self-paced online courses, Equity is a Talent Development Mindset and the Teach to Develop Talent Book Study.


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