Well, there are well over three thousand people enrolled. So, interacting is an understatement. It is more like an online PTA (Parent and Teacher Association) meeting. And to think I thought the course would teach me new teaching strategies for math instruction. But, it turns out to be so much more than that. This MOOC is all about how math is vilified as a subject that only a few lucky mathematical inclined individuals succeed in. We are learning how a fixed mindset (mostly likely learned from parents, media, and school) is the reason why many students struggle with math.
A fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset could very well be the difference between a great learner and a struggling learner. Attitude matters. How we cultivate healthy academic attitudes is important.
So, what can be done to foster a growth mindset? Glad you asked. Stop making negative statements about your own abilities. Students internalize those statements and make them their own. Now they are full of self doubt and fear failure. Example: My mom says she was never good at math, so I will not be good at math. Now the student does not expect success but failure. Effort in achieving is non-existent. Why try. I was born the way.
On the opposite spectrum, stop telling kids how smart they are, and start praises them for their great effort. When high performers are accustomed to succeeding in many areas of their life and finally face failure or a road block (and we all know they will because life has a way of happening to us all), they do not have the skills to cope and now see themselves as failures. In their minds they have never failed or struggled before, so what is different now. They believe it should come easy for them.
So, be cautious of your words and practice a growth mindset in all areas of your life. Be a positive model and others will follow.