Most Shared

Think you're born with all your brainpower? This theory will make you think again.

'Students are now aware of the idea that the more you learn, the more your brain will grow.'

Think you're born with all your brainpower? This theory will make you think again.
True
XQ

Do you think you're born with all the smarts you'll ever have or that you can get smarter over time?

It may sound like a silly question, but many kids aren't aware of the power of their own brains.

This was especially true of Griselda Rutherford's students. In her 20 years of teaching in the District of Columbia Public School System, she'd often have a tough time getting them on board the learning train.


She noticed many students seemed to feel defeated before even starting a task. They weren't willing to take risks during lessons and assignments and were afraid to ask questions. Sometimes they wouldn't even answer her questions for fear of being wrong. It's as if they were terrified of failure, and as a result, their progress in class slowed to a crawl.

Then, in 2013, Rutherford's district started implementing a teaching technique called the "Mindset Method." It changed everything.

Teacher and students working in the Mindset program. All photos via MindsetWorks.

The Mindset Method was developed by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, and her colleagues. Researchers and education experts like Angela Duckworth and others have added to the body of knowledge over the last two decades to support these theories.

The theories explain that learners think about their abilities in two ways: as a fixed mindset or a growth mindset

People with a fixed mindset think how smart they are is set in stone and that time and effort won't really change much. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset think the brains they were born with are just the beginning, and hard work can improve them. Growth mindset learners are more willing to take on challenges, see failures as an opportunity to learn and persist to overcome obstacles rather than giving up.

In order to prove this theory, Rutherford began working with schools to help teachers apply methods of fostering growth mindsets to their classrooms. The basic teaching principle was to encourage and reward effort rather than just praise achievement.

Teachers also had access to Brainology, a computer program that showed students how their brains were like muscles that strengthen with regular exercise. Through interactive animation and prompted activities, students learn how simple it is to grow and improve their brains. This helps them gain confidence in their abilities, which makes them want to take on more challenges and reach higher levels in the classroom.

Slowly but surely, Rutherford began noticing her students were gaining confidence. And lo and behold, their schoolwork also improved.

A student uses the Brainology program.

"The program helped them to identify what a growth mindset looks like," Rutherford writes in an email. "Students are now aware of the idea that the more you learn, the more your brain will grow."

The program also encourages students to be responsible for their own learning and self-monitor their mindset growth. Rutherford actually noticed one of her students doing just that during a class assessment when he asked her for another sheet of paper.

"I saw him write some words on the blank paper and then place a big X on the words," writes Rutherford. "He explained to me he was using the test stress reliever strategies he learned in Brainology." He was crossing out negative words and replacing them with positive ones, which helps knock out defeating thoughts.

The positive effects of encouraging a growth mindset can also be seen across the board in testing scores.

A teacher helpsf students with an assignment.

After just one year of using the Mindset Method in her classrooms for fourth through eighth grades, Rutherford says all of her students did better in reading and math. After year two, 83% scored advanced levels in reading and 23% scored advanced levels in math.

Similar improvements were seen in a case study performed at Fiske Elementary School in Massachusetts. They saw a 75.5% growth in state comprehensive test scores in math after a year on the Mindset Method. That's one heck of a jump!

However, it's not just about the students' growth. The teachers working within the Mindset Method program are changing for the better too.

Teachers do a Mindset Method exercise.

Rutherford, for example, learned how important it was to praise her students for their efforts rather than just tell them they're smart.

"This type of praise empowers all students to take risks and allows them to understand it’s OK to make mistakes," explains Rutherford.

If giving an "A" for effort becomes a real thing in every classroom, it could give so many more kids the chance to reach their full potential.

By constantly repeating the idea that intelligence is not fixed and limitless growth is possible with extra effort and dedication, teachers are giving confidence back to kids. And confidence is the foundation upon which true greatness is built.

Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

Keep Reading Show less
Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

Keep Reading Show less