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From Theory to Practice Issue #5, September 2011

The Growth Mindset Newsletter

Hi there!

Instilling a growth mindset school culture takes everyone. Featured in this issue, Principal Benjamin Marcovits describes how he assesses teachers’ mindsets when hiring. You can also get tips from Principal Jill Balzer on how to bring about such change in last month’s newsletter.

To create a school-wide growth mindset culture, we offer tips for increasing students’ motivation plus a list of classroom activities, straight from the educators who won September’s Educator Contest.

Parents – We have a 10-day promotion on Brainology to cultivate a Growth Mindset at home. Check it out!

If you have questions or would like to write a guest post, contact us at: newsletter@brainology.us.

Thank you!
The Mindset Works Team


Mindset in Action: Benjamin Marcovitz on how to assess teachers' mindsets when hiring

What techniques can you use to increase students’ motivation?

Special 10 day promotion for parents!

Contest Winners: Announcing September’s Growth Minded Educators

Contest: Information on next month’s contest!


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Mindset in Action

The Steepest Slopes

Benjamin Marcovitz Benjamin Marcovitz, Principal of Sci Academy and CEO of Collegiate Academies in New Orleans, LA, on what he does to assess teachers' mindsets when hiring

“This school is designed to move ninth graders, who average a fourth-grade level performance coming in, to the college level by graduation. We’re going to be asking them to grow at a rate you’ve probably never been asked to yourself. There’s no way we’re going to get away with this without being obsessed with our own growth as educators.”

In establishing a growth mindset at Sci Academy, I’ve found that being all about the kids means being all about the teachers. So I say the above to teacher applicants in their first interview. In doing so, we hope to ignite an application process that screens in the adults with the greatest growth-mindsets, increases that mindset, and politely shows the exit sign to those without it. Teachers need to view teaching as a process of constant improvement, and I find this tragically rare in a field where, if you’re not amazing at something in 2-3 years, you figure you should probably stop doing it. This is the opposite of what works at our school. Teachers at Sci Academy discover new avenues for great performance every day. They use them. The kids see this. They do the same.

So here’s our application process.


Growth Mindset News and Tips

Parents – get Brainology for your kids at 50% off!

Buy Now!It’s a perfect time to start exposing your kids to the innovative Brainology curriculum. Our special 10-day promotion starts today! Take advantage of it and get a reduced price on individual packages.

Available for a limited time only. Buy Now!

Like us on Facebook to stay updated with future promotions for both educators and parents!

What techniques can you use to increase students motivation?

Despite our best efforts as educators and parents, many students still underperform or struggle academically. Most teachers observe that their students would succeed if only they would invest more effort in their work. In some cases, we see a grave lack of student engagement leading to classroom management challenges, low student achievement, and high drop-out rates.

While some studies cite boredom and disinterest as the cause of these problems, perhaps they are actually symptoms of a broader issue: lack of motivation. Numerous studies have shown that, as student motivation goes up, so do effort and student achievement, in both short and long term situations. In addition, attention, which is a scarce resource in most classrooms, has also been proven to increase with kids’ motivation levels. As we empower students to increase their own ability to focus and apply effort, we witness them becoming better able to process relevant information, which impacts their ability to succeed academically. This, in turn, will set the foundation for an intrinsic love of learning, by teaching students to value their own progress and growth.

Here are several techniques you can use to increase students' motivation:


The Growth Minded Educator Contest

The Growth Minded Educator Contest is our way of capturing and sharing collective learning experiences, and recognizing the efforts that educators have put into instilling and cultivating a Growth Mindset with their students.

September 2011 Contest Results

This month we had some terrific submissions, so we decided to honor the entries of four educators! The Growth Minded Educators of September are... Marina Gijzen, John Burk, Lakisha Covert, and Leanna Picard. Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to all who participated! We received many fantastic submissions, and will reach out to some of you to discuss potential methods of incorporating your ideas and experiences into other areas of the Growth Mindset community.

Below are the winning entries to the contest question, "What techniques are you planning to use to increase student motivation during the next school year?”


Enter the next Growth Minded Educator Contest

All entrants have a chance to win an autographed copy of Carol Dweck's book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Contest Question:
What techniques are you planning to use to help your students cope with test anxiety? Please share at least one activity that you are planning to use. (Suggested length: 150 words or less)

Email your answers to newsletter@brainology.us by October 17th, 2011. We’ll review each answer and share the winning one(s) on a future newsletter.

If you have any questions regarding the contest, please post a comment or email us at

Do you have something to say?

Please post comments at the bottom of any of the articles, and if you have more to say, consider writing a guest blog or newsletter post! Email us at newsletter@brainology.us to share your guest post idea.

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