Saturday, September 14, 2013

Delightful Duets - my focus for 2013 - 14

I saw this TED talk at the end of the academic year - Lisa Bu gives an amazing account of the impact of reading on her life, thoughts and character. Books changed her shattered dream into a different dream. The way she read books lifted her understanding of many cultures and gave her great joy, as you can see on her face. She ends her talk with the wish "May books be always with you".

I decided that my reading goal for 2013-14 academic year would be to do as she suggests read books in pairs, comparative reading for life. Where do I start? She seemed to make quite deliberate choices in her paired reads. 

My first pair of books were complimentary. I real Carol Dweck's book Mindset: The new psychology of success. Dweck's work has been the topic of many conversations amongst my colleagues at work last year. She writes about fixed and growth mindsets. People with growth mindsets are more resislient, often much more success than others. They see that their own efforts can make a difference to their learning and success. I found the many anecdotes she gave very interesting and made her research and findings very accessible. Already the leaders of our school are initiating further discussions about growth mindsets. This is an exciting prospect for our students.

The very next book I read was Gifted Hands Ben Carson's autobiography. This is a great story of a man who went from being a student who was always bottom of the class to being the one who was incredibly successful. Ben Carson is a leading neurological surgeon and has had many successes pioneering life saving surgery. What helped this boy change from being a challenged learner to a successful one? His mother always emphasized that his effort would bring rewards. She challenged him to read and as he did he found he remembered more, his reading ability improved and with it his ability to complete math problems, engage with science and finally discover his passion for the brain.

Both books with the brain as a focus. Both books showing how a growth mindset can help some one develop and fulfill their potential. A delightful duet to begin my reading challenge this year.