Monday, October 12, 2020

Alleviating Stress in the Current Teaching Climate


As the COVID-19 crisis continues unabated in the new school year, teachers find themselves dealing with an unprecedented level of stress and anxiety. They feel the weight of responsibility required to keep their students safe while also feeling concern for their own health and wellbeing. Amidst the noisy debate about whether to have remote learning, in-person classes or some type of hybrid model, teachers are on the front lines in striving to ensure that children learn—no matter what venue of teaching prevails.

Our hearts go out to all of you in the teaching profession as you dedicate yourselves to doing your best under extraordinary circumstances. We’d like to suggest five strategies to help you navigate the day-to-day challenges of teaching so that it becomes less stressful and more rewarding.

1. Engage in positive self-talk and self-reflection.

Avoid self-doubt and self-nagging. You have never had to work in an educational environment like the one you find yourself in right now, so be generous in assessing your performance. You don’t need to wait for a big accomplishment to celebrate success. When you have even small successes—such as holding the attention span of remote learners, for instance—pay yourself a compliment. You’re awesome, as you have the courage to confront new challenges—and your students are, too! Identifying your strengths helps reinforce a can-do attitude.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Our New Book, “Developing Growth Mindsets,” Launches With ASCD


Helping students of all ages to develop a growth mindset will enable them to experience higher levels of success! That’s the main message of our latest book, Developing Growth Mindsets: Principles and Practices for Maximizing Students’ Potential, published by ASCD.

In our new book, we stress that human beings have tremendous potential to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills. As we explain, teachers are in a unique position to unleash the potential within every student by introducing them to the concepts of brain plasticity and malleable intelligence—i.e., the idea that learners can become functionally smarter through ongoing effort, perseverance, and the use of effective strategies.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Our EL Article Stresses the Importance of Believing in the Brain


We are pleased to hear from educators around the world who have received the May issue of EL, ASCD’s magazine for educational leaders. The issue features “Believing in the Brain,” an article that Marcus and I wrote on the importance of teaching students about brain plasticity as a means of helping them develop a growth mindset. 

The issue is devoted to the theme, “Learning and the Brain,” with additional articles covering such topics as neuroscience and psychology, the creative brain, picturing the brain, building teen brains, and more.

Friday, March 13, 2020

You Can Now Pre-Order the 2nd Edition of ‘Five Big Ideas’

 
Marcus Conyers and I are pleased to announce that the second edition of Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice will be available April 10 from Teachers College Press.

This is the latest version of our bestselling book, designed to empower educators with an innovative and inspiring conceptual framework for effective teaching. The text is grounded in the synergy of five big ideas for connecting mind, brain, and education research to classroom practice: neuroplasticity, potential, malleable intelligence, the Body-Brain System, and metacognition.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Care For Yourself As You Care For and Teach Others

As another academic year begins, my mind is flooded with images of passionate and knowledgeable teachers we have met through the years. We feel grateful to have the privilege of getting to know you and to be able to continue to learn with many of you.

Something I read recently reminded me that one of many things that makes you so special is that you each possess a generous spirit of giving to the community, as you care about others even when you sometimes hear few voices of appreciation. The positive difference that you make in the lives of other people’s children is remarkable!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

My Pre-Conference Institute for ASCD Will Focus on Growth Mindset Strategies

I am excited to announce that I will be presenting a full-day Pre-Conference Institute next year at “ASCD Empower, the Conference for Learning, Teaching, & Leading Together,” which will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center Los Angeles. Pre-Conference Institutes will take place March 12 and 13, with the conference to follow on March 16-20.

Entitled “Cultivating Growth Mindsets: 20 Strategies for Educators,” the Pre-Conference Institute will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 13. The session will focus on why combining growth mindsets with effective learning strategies is a proven formula for increasing student achievement.

Those who attend will experience the exhilaration of learning powerful, proven principles for cultivating growth mindsets and learning skills within all students. During the session, attendees will explore the characteristics of fixed and growth mindsets and take a short assessment to examine their own mindset.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Brain Movies: When Readers Can Picture It, They Understand It


The images that form in your mind as you read—we call them "brain movies"—can be more exciting and memorable than a Hollywood film. More to the point for teachers and parents, guiding youth to visualize as they read is an engaging and enjoyable way to boost comprehension and retention.
Learning to create brain movies can help students make sense of complex nonfiction subject matter and "see" the characters, setting, and action in stories. Teachers who use our strategy tell us their students seem to have more fun—and success—as they read. These anecdotes are supported by research showing that students who are taught to develop mental imagery of text do better than control groups on tests of comprehension and recall.

The research basis for the usefulness of transforming text into mental images can be found in Allan Paivio's dual coding theory, which holds that cognition consists of both a verbal system for language and a nonverbal, visual-spatial one for images. By creating mental images from the words on a page or screen, we tap into both the verbal and visual-spatial representational systems, making abstract concepts more concrete and thus more meaningful and memorable.