chapters, making index cards with important terms and definitions, and working with a partner to quiz themselves on these; memory tips such as writing summaries of what they read, visualizing what they read or heard, and reading out loud; and comprehension strategies such as reading assigned questions before reading material, and reading over notes from class at the end of the day. At the end of the presentation, we handed out folders containing summary presentation notes and planner pages, along with a set of basic tools (highlighter, index cards, etc.). Sessions 7 and 8: Discussions Motivational intervention group : The students engaged in two discussions, led by their workshop leaders, exploring 262 Blackwell, Trzesniewski, and Dweck
the significance of the fact that the brain could grow and get stronger through practice. In the first session, the mentors asked the students to think of those things they had learned to do well, and to recall how they had been inept at the beginning but had learned, through error and practice, to excel. Discussion stressed that the mistakes they made in the course of learning had been necessary and even helped them learn, and that they had actually grown smarter in the course of learning: Their brains had changed, developed new connections, and strengthened existing ones. The discussion concluded with the message that everything you learn makes you smarter, and that being smart is a choice you make. In the second discussion, workshop leaders discussed labels people give one another, such as ‘‘stupid’’ or ‘‘brain- iac,’’ based on how well they perform at certain tasks. They then discussed how these labels, which are really a form of stereotyping, can make people afraid to try or work hard in school for fear of looking stupid or appearing to be a ‘‘nerd,’’ and that this amounts to self-handicapping: holding oneself back from actually learning and becoming smarter and better at things. We concluded with the mes- sage that ‘‘Everything is hard before it is easy.’’ Control Group : In the first of these two sessions, work- shop leaders led a discussion in which students discussed their current academic situations, including which subjects were the easiest and which were the most difficult, which classes and subjects they enjoyed the most and least, and why. Workshop leaders asked students to share some of their favorite study strategies. In the second discussion, workshop leaders reminded students of the lesson on memory strategies, and posed the question of where in the brain memory might occur, and how memory might work differently in humans compared with other animals. The students completed an activity page, ‘‘Whose Brain is It?’’ in which they matched pictures of animals to an illustration of their brains and a descrip- tion of their special skills, and discussed the differences among the animals’ in brain structure, memory, and mental capabilities.
- Fall '13
- Junior High School