Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes by Yong Zhao & Friends

4. Dreams and Nightmares: Motivational Factors – Kendra Coates

  • Motivation explains why we do things and why we persevere. Mindsets are beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions people have about themselves. People with growth mindsets believe that their abilities are malleable. The opposite is a fixed mindset. (See my summary of Mindset by Carol Dweck. If you have a growth mindset, you view effort and hard work as essential components of success. You also see failures as opportunities to grow. Schools should, therefore, promote growth mindsets.
  • Hopeful people have the capacity to develop goals, construct strategies for achieving them, and initiate and sustain the necessary action to get there. High levels of hope predict better performance in school. This correlates with growth mindsets. Curiosity is the desire for truth. Curious people seek to learn for learning’s own sake. It is linked with better health, relationships, and achievement. It is key that educators nurture curiosity in themselves and their students. This chapter also introduces instruments for measuring mindset, hope, curiosity, and passion.

5. The Makers: Creativity and Entrepreneurial Sprit – Ross C. Anderson

  • These twin sprits are given short shrift in most schools, but they shouldn’t. Creativity is at the heart of the entrepreneurial sprit. Some think that we have entered the Creativity Age. Both are in high demand and strongly correlated with success. Schools not only fail to foster creativity, they seem to be good at suppressing it as research shows a significant decrease between kindergarten and sixth grade. This comes at a time when there is widespread acceptance that these are important educational outcomes. The author lists a number of published assessments that are available to evaluate creativity and entrepreneurship. He lists the pros and cons of each along with limitations. While it may not be possible to directly teach these traits, they can certainly be nurtured and supported. Authentic activities and allowing students more choice in what they study can help. Just trying to measure these traits should help refocus the pedagogy.
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