So far this year we have read:
- Finding your Element, by Sir Ken Robinson
- The Giver, by Lois Lowry
- Mindset, by Carol Dweck
While we were discussing Dweck's Mindset, we all felt that as much as we loved her message and the simplicity of the idea (growth versus fixed mindset), we all felt that is was almost too simplistic, and that it didn't take into account the complexity of personalities and the environment in which we find ourselves. Somebody suggested that perhaps there is a link between the Growth mindset that Dweck discusses, and the Passion that Robinson discusses (I can't remember whose idea it was, don't you love when that happens!).
Are we more likely to be growth minded towards a subject that we are passionate about? And fixed minded towards a subject that we do not enjoy? There are subjects I just find boring (algebra and calculus come to mind) and I wonder if it is not a matter of growth minded versus fixed mindedness, but rather if it is about passions and love? I feel more alive with the written word and the arts, and am more willing to make mistakes and reflect on my learning. When dealing with all those little symbols and letters in chemistry, I feel like falling asleep or picking up a book and escaping to a fantasy world. When it comes to abstract mathematics and scientific notation, I am very fixed minded. Don't get me wrong, I love science and I love math, just not the stuff they taught in school.
Is my lack of passion preventing me from being growth minded? Or is my fixed mindset stunting my possible passion?
Is my passion for the arts feeding my growth mindset? Or is my lack of passion for chemistry creating the fixed mindset?
Either way, there is a link here.
Is it unrealistic for kids to be passionate about every subject we teach in school? I wonder if I could have ever met a teacher who would have pulled me away from books and made me fall in love with abstract mathematics. Maybe.
Or maybe we expect kids to be passionate about too many things, thus negating the real passion that already exists. Maybe, instead of Schools Killing Creativity, we have a case of Schools Killing Passion. And once that passion is killed, we blame a fixed mindset, instead of the system that created it. Maybe.
Or maybe it is how we teach the subjects, the constant push towards more knowledge and following the script of the curriculum. Maybe we make it all seem to important, and we don't let kids pursue the things about the topic that interests them. We tell them what to learn, what we think is important for them to learn, and they eventually lose interest, and lose their natural curiosity which the growth mindset feeds off.
I don't know.
What I do know is this....
How do we kindle passion and allow the growth mindset to flourish?