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From Theory to Practice               Issue #6, October 2011

The Growth Mindset Newsletter

Hi there!

As we enter the holiday season, some of you may find that your students are losing steam and struggling to maintain the enthusiasm and motivation they had at the beginning of the school year. Check out some techniques to increase students’ motivation, provided by educators who won September’s contest. We hope you enjoy them!

In this month’s newsletter, we feature an amazing guest post on giving kids encouraging feedback, straight from the desk of Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson!

Brainology users – we recently launched some new features! You can now get live, up-to-date reports of your students’ progress at any point in time.

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

Thank you!
The Mindset Works Team


Guest post: The Art (and Science) of Giving Kids Feedback

Carol Dweck: Brain exercise boosts motivation

Brainology: your students' progress reports are now available!

Case Study: Shifting Students' Mindset

Announcing October’s Growth Minded Educator

Information on next month’s contest!


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Growth Mindset News and Tips

The Art (and Science) of Giving Kids Feedback: 3 Rules to Remember

Guest Post by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson

Heidi Grant Halvorson Giving a child feedback – both criticism and praise - is more than just useful; it’s essential. While it may be hard for kids to get motivated, it’s impossible for them to stay motivated when they aren’t sure if they’re on the right track. Giving well-crafted, frequent feedback is one of our most important jobs as parents and teachers.

But as every one of us knows, sometimes the feedback we give doesn’t seem to be all that motivating. Even with the best intentions, our words of encouragement or disapproval can easily backfire or seem to fall on deaf ears, and many of us have a hard time understanding why.

Luckily, scientific studies on motivation have shed light on why some types of feedback work and others don’t. If you’ve gotten it wrong in the past (and who hasn’t?), then you can do a better job of giving feedback from now on by sticking to a few simple rules:


Carol Dweck In the News - Carol Dweck: Brain exercise boosts motivation

Why do some students approach new challenges with enthusiasm, while others shirk pursuits outside their comfort zone?

Check out the interview with Carol Dweck, as featured recently in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brainology students' progress reports are now available!

New in Brainology - we released some great features which will enable you to download all of your students’ entries and data into Excel at any time. This can give you a clear sense of students’ progress, and what individual students are reflecting on, to best support them.


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Mindset in Action

Marnie Steele
Case Study: Shifting Students' Mindset with Brainology

“Brainology teaches kids to take ownership of their learning experience by being the one doing the work… it teaches them that doing work is a really positive thing because it’s going to help them to become smarter."

Marnie Steele is a 7th grade science teacher at Trail Ridge Middle School in Longmont, Colorado.

The Challenge - Marnie has found that many of her kids would get into a habit of always failing: they became used to doing poorly and didn’t think they would ever get better. After reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, Marnie wanted to incorporate the growth mindset into her classroom, specifically to teach her ELL students about the learning process. She was specifically interested in seeing whether it would help the ELL students to understand that by investing effort, they would become smarter and do better in school.

The following case study and video interview with Marnie shed more light into the learning process her students went through and the notable shift in their Mindset.


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 in their students.

October 2011 Contest Results

The October 2011 Growth Minded Educator is... Diana Favata! Congratulations! Thank you everybody who participated. We received fantastic submissions, and will reach out to some of you to figure out ways to expose the other entries as well. Diana Favata

Here is Diana Favata’s answer to the contest question "What techniques are you planning to use to help your students cope with test anxiety":

I am a teacher of gifted children and test anxiety as well as perfectionism is something that we deal with on a daily basis. My special approach this year is to make a special quote the centerpiece for the year: "The journey is the reward." We analyzed this quote and discussed about how it is about the process of learning rather than the grade or test at the end. The assessments are just a celebration of our knowledge and skills we have acquired. I am hoping that if the focus and emphasis is on the steps we take in learning rather than the end product, the mindset of my anxious students will turn to appreciate all their personal growth along the way.

Diana teaches at Hunter's Green Elementary School in Tampa, Florida.

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 using, or planning to use, to decrease behavior problems and bullying in your classroom? Please share at least one activity. (Suggested length: 150 words or less)

Email your answers to
newsletter@brainology.us by November 18th, 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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