New Lens on Learning: The Hidden Value of Motivation, Grit and Engagement

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Overview

New Lens on Learning: The Hidden Value of Motivation, Grit and Engagement
November 11–12
Stanford University

What does the so-called “marshmallow” test really say about kids learning to delay gratification? What does research say about the teenage brain? How can reporters better describe the ways educators can teach children how to accept criticism and learn from mistakes, and why that matters?

What does the so-called “marshmallow” test really say about kids learning to delay gratification? What does research say about the teenage brain? How can reporters better describe the ways educators can teach children how to accept criticism and learn from mistakes, and why that matters?

Hear from notable researchers including Carol Dweck, Linda Darling-Hammond and Tyrone Howard on the latest research and education policy around motivation, and how it’s influencing efforts to boost both short-term academic achievement and the long-term well being of students.

The research is replete with insights on how to encourage deeper thinking, collaboration and risk-taking among students, particularly those who have struggled academically. Now, schools are implementing those ideas in innovative ways that raise provocative questions, including: Are grades in the initial weeks of a class an impediment to learning? Do group projects that last several months challenge students to learn more than a string of tests and quizzes? Can students who set their own terms for what to learn — with buy-in from educators — come out better prepared to collaborate, tackle complex tasks, and compete in the fast-changing workforce?

Join EWA Nov. 11 – 12 at Stanford University for an interactive and informative seminar to explore those questions and more. You’ll hear from scholars at the forefront of the field and their reasons for optimism and worry. You’ll learn from students and educators while visiting classrooms that are petri dishes for new approaches to fostering motivation, grit, and deeper learning. We’ll go beyond the jargon to get at the heart of a movement with plenty of fans and detractors. And you’ll leave with a wealth of new contacts, resources, and story ideas to pursue.

Key Coverage

The Promise of Social and Emotional Learning in U.S. Schools

For the eighth grader Kimberly Wilborn, a lesson about Nelson Mandela made it all click.

“Ms. Plante was talking about Nelson Mandela and how he forgave his jailers,” remembers Wilborn, who is being raised by her aunt on Chicago’s South Side. “And I thought if he can forgive them, I can forgive my birth mom and my dad for not being there for me. I actually cried. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

Key Coverage

Growth Mindset Means More Than Just Praising Kids for Trying

The approach has been misinterpreted by some to mean simply praising effort.

But that’s misunderstanding the thinking behind a growth mindset, Dweck said. Telling students, “Keep trying; you can do it,” doesn’t work, she said. Teachers instead should ask students these questions: “What strategies have you tried? What will you try next?” “It’s not just effort,” Dweck said. “You need strategies.”

Multimedia

Why Motivation and Deeper Learning Matter
New Lens on Learning: The Hidden Value of Motivation, Grit and Engagement

Why Motivation and Deeper Learning Matter

How do you create a good student? How do schools find ways for children to take criticism well, respond to feedback, and learn from mistakes? How does a child’s motivation and sense of self factor into a culture of learning? While schools are finding answers to these questions, there is no shortcut to creating classroom practices — and embracing a “growth mindset” is no panacea. So how can schools adapt the concepts that research shows go a long way toward improving student learning?

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How to Motivate Students — or Not
New Lens on Learning: The Hidden Value of Motivation, Grit and Engagement

How to Motivate Students — or Not

Carol Dweck, a distinguished professor and the scholar most associated with the now-widespread concept of “growth mindset,” talks about new studies on the impact the idea has had in education. How should a student learn from failure? If you tell students that the brain can be trained, will they feel encouraged to put in additional effort? And is feeling motivated even enough — what interventions are necessary when a student tries her best but isn’t comprehending the material?

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Get Schooled: Unlocking the Secrets of the Adolescent Brain
New Lens on Learning: The Hidden Value of Motivation, Grit and Engagement

Get Schooled: Unlocking the Secrets of the Adolescent Brain

Over the past decade research in neuroscience has provided an explosion of new knowledge and insights about the adolescent brain, shedding light on our understanding of teens’ complex neural state. Importantly, the field has focused on the development of neural circuits that underpin social, emotional, and motivational learning and how these systems change at the onset of puberty. These changes create not only vulnerabilities but also opportunities for learning.

Multimedia

Interventions in the Classroom: What Works, What Doesn’t — A Demonstration
New Lens on Learning: The Hidden Value of Motivation, Grit and Engagement

Interventions in the Classroom: What Works, What Doesn’t — A Demonstration

What does it take to get a kid to care about school? A wave of research is producing quick interventions that motivate students to learn, with hundreds of schools adopting curricular tools designed to boost students’ growth mindsets. How do young learners respond to these efforts to reshape their views about themselves in the context of school? How can educators employ these tricks while teaching core subjects like math or English?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Deeper Learning, Smarter Testing

Linda Darling-Hammond speaks to reporters at a seminar on motivation at Stanford in November. (Photo credit: EWA/Michael Marriott)

Since 2003, more information is produced every two days than the total sum of information produced between that year and the dawn of time, the CEO of Google said in 2010.  Easily web-accessible facts, names and articles have grown exponentially, so much so that some say students can’t be taught like they were in the past, when rote memorization was the gold standard for learning and information wasn’t at almost everyone’s fingertips.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Growing Minds, Changing Math Classes

Jo Boaler speakers to reporters during EWA's seminar on motivation held at Stanford University in November (Credit: Stanford University/Marc Franklin)

As the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” plays out over the music video, the lyrics are a bit different:

“We will make mistakes…our method’s gonna break…not a piece of cake…we’re gonna shake it off, shake it off…”

It was in this video Stanford University Professor and author Jo Boaler says she was compelled to do something she didn’t want to do. “They made me rap,” she said. When her undergraduate students challenged whether she had a growth mindset about her rhyme skills, Boaler said to herself, “Oh my gosh. I’m gonna have to rap.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

When Grit Isn’t Enough

Tyrone Howard, a professor and associate dean at UCLA, speakers to reporters about student trauma at EWA's seminar on Motivation Nov. 11, 2015. (Photo credit: EWA/Michael Marriott)

The first time I heard a preschooler explaining a classmate’s disruptive behavior, I was surprised at how adult her four-year-old voice sounded.

Her classmate “doesn’t know how to sit still and listen,” she said to me, while I sat at the snack table with them. He couldn’t learn because he couldn’t follow directions, she explained, as if she had recently completed a behavioral assessment on him.

Key Coverage

Teaching Kids: Henry County School Lets Students Set Own Pace

The school’s computer-based approach could be replicated across the state if education reformers appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal get their way. There’s no conclusive evidence that it works better than traditional methods, but there is a growing group of proponents in other states. Many wonder whether it will prove too expensive, widening the gap between schools that can and cannot afford it, but advocates say it doesn’t have to be costly.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Carol Dweck Explains ‘Growth Mindsets’

Carol Dweck addresses reporters at EWA's seminar on Motivation on the Stanford University campus, Nov. 11, 2015 (Photo credit: EWA/Michael Marriott)

One of the most popular ideas in education today is also one that is often misunderstood. While Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset” has a emerged as a meme for motivation less than a decade after the publication of her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” the Stanford psychology professor is worried about its misapplication.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

To Improve Learning, More Researchers Say Students Should Feel Like They Belong in the Classroom

Camille Farrington speaks to reporters at EWA's seminar on motivation at Stanford, Nov. 11, 2015. (Photo credit: EWA/Michael Marriott)

About a third of the students who started college in 2009 have since dropped out, joining the millions of young adults who never entered college in the first place.

Several years into a massive push by both the federal government and states to increase postsecondary graduation rates, education policymakers across the country are asking what else they can do to get more students to and through college.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teaching ‘Grit’: How Students, Schools Can Benefit

Over at EWA Radio, we explored the debate over how so-called noncognitive factors like “grit” influence student achievement, and how schools are rethinking approaches to classroom instruction as a result. (You can find the full episode here.I thought this was a good opportunity to revisit a recent guest post by Daveen Rae Kurutz of the Beaver County Times, looking at our “deep dive” session into these issues at EWA’s recent National Seminar:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Grit? Motivation? Report Takes Stab at Defining Terms

Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Education (CC BY 2.0)

Education writing is famous for its alphabet soup of acronyms and obscure terms, but it could just as well be faulted for trafficking buzzwords in search of clear definitions.

Ideas like grit, motivation, fitting in and learning from one’s mistakes, often summarized as noncognitive factors, are just some of the concepts floated more frequently these days. A new paper released this week seeks to provide clarity to this fast-growing discipline within the world of how students learn.

EWA Radio

What Grit and Perseverance Could Look Like in the Classroom
EWA Radio: Episode 31

(Flickr/Steven Depolo)

Nestled within the new-agey sounding concept of “noncognitive factors” are fairly concrete examples of what parents and educators should and shouldn’t do to prepare students for the rigors of college and careers. Gleaned from research into brain development and human behavior, a toolkit is emerging on how to make the best of the scholarship focused on qualities like grit, persistence and learning from mistakes.