Very happy to be here to hear Carol Dweck, who has influenced me greatly (more about that later).  A quick shout-out for walking; arrived here in great spirits after walking the whole way from the Hyatt Regency on Wacker, in the company of my good friend Mike Hanas.  

Dweck’s thesis is that there are two mindsets, and all of her ideas flow out of this frame     There is the fixed mindset and the growth mindset; in the former, fixed, one believes one’s intelligence is fixed, permanent, set, in the latter, growth, one believes intelligence comes from growth and learning and forever malleable.  

I think these ideas are simple, succinct, and very important.   Dweck’s style as a presenter is pretty flat, sad to say, and I want to learn more about her passion, her experiences, her anecdotes, her vision; I am not so excited to hear her present a summary of her main ideas in powerpoint. 

The room is jam-packed here, people standing in the aisles and sitting on the floor.  Glad for the recognition of the importance of her ideas. 

Important differentiation her on the issue of praise– praise for effort has dramatically different results for kids than does praise for intelligence.  Students praised for effort keep up their motivation even though they struggled through the problems; students praised for intelligence lose motivation and, after challenge, see their performance decline. 

Disappointingly, the session has to end early.  

Unable to tell you more about her presentation, I will say a word about her influence on me.  I read her book in June, as I was finishing a headship, going on a year-long interval between jobs (funded by previous school), and unsure what to make of the coming year (now the present year).  I felt, often, that I needed to present myself in a way that demonstrated I had already arrived as an experienced school expert.    But after reading her book,  I realized I would do better to use the year for learning, for growth, for constructing my own identity as a grower and learner in the mode Dweck advises.  It was the best decision I ever made.  I really think that one of the best framing concepts for who we should be as school-leaders is as “Learner in Chief.”   If we practice learning, and model it, and construct our own identities in the growth mode, our schools and our students will follow suit in really healthy ways.  I owe this understanding to Dweck, and I am indebted to her.