Parents, do you wonder how you can help your children succeed in school, at home, and beyond, or encourage them to be resilient and self-confident in overcoming challenges? When it comes to such success, mindset plays an important part. That’s what educators Mary Cay Ricci and Margaret (Meg) Lee have written about in their new book Mindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids.
Mary Cay is an education consultant, speaker, and author of the New York Times best-selling education title, Mindsets in the Classroom and its companion book, Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom. Meg has been a teacher, professional learning specialist, and school administrator for the past 2o years.
Over at Dancing Bear we’re excited to be hosting a free book signing and author talk with Mary Cay and Meg on Sunday, May 22 at 4 p.m. Before that, though, we had a chance to ask the co-authors a few questions about their book, which was just released this May.
DB: What is a growth mindset and how does it contribute to a child’s success?
Mary Cay: A growth mindset is the belief (based on neuroscience) that everyone has the potential to achieve, that intelligence/talent is malleable and that perceived academic/athletic/artistic “weaknesses” can NOT be attributed to genetics. If a child believes that he/she does not have the innate ability to be successful at something, it is likely that he/she will not be.
DB: What kind of mindset or approach should parents have?
Mary Cay: A mindset that values the process rather than final outcome — one that values perseverance, resiliency and tenacity. Parents who model flexibility and optimism and use growth mindset (give) praise and feedback.
DB: How long have you been in the field of education and what interested you in the topic of mindsets?
Mary Cay: I have been in education for 30 years. When I began reading and researching more about mindsets I realized that I had to see how this looked applied to education. I did a study in six high poverty schools in Grades 2 and 3 that focused on mindsets together with increasing critical thinking processes. Not only did the children’s reasoning processes and motivation increase, but the teachers began looking at kids in a different way — through a lens of potential and possibilities. I knew I had to share what I learned.
Meg: I’ve been an educator for 20 years, ever since graduating from Hood College in 1996. Over the years, I have had the good fortune to work with many students, teachers, and families in a variety of different roles — teacher, literacy specialist, professional learning specialist, school administrator, and central office supervisor. I have always been very interested in motivation, engagement, and persistence, so when I read Dr. Carol Dweck’s research about the idea of growth and fixed mindsets, I couldn’t help but relate it to my own life and challenges and those of the teachers and students I care so much about. I have seen the transformation in thinking and belief that can occur when a growth mindset becomes part of the culture of a school. As I shared this concept with teachers over the last several years, many, many of them told me that understanding mindsets would have helped them at home with their own children. All parents want their children to be successful and to have the important qualities of persistence and resilience, so Mindsets for Parents is designed to be a conversational, practical, and useful tool to help in that effort.
DB: Mary Cay, you’ve written other books about mindsets, but what led you to co-author this book for parents?
Mary Cay: After Mindsets in the Classroom and Ready to Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom were released I was fortunate enough to visit many schools and districts across the country that were working hard to develop growth mindset learning environments. Even though both books have chapters dedicated to getting parents involved, I realized that parents needed their own book focusing more specifically on building a growth mindset home environment — a book that could be read independently or as a book-club book with other parents so that discussion could occur regarding the concept. (This is also when I wisely asked Meg Lee to be my co-author!)
DB: Meg, what led you to work with Mary Cay Ricci on Mindsets for Parents?
Meg: Mary Cay and I have been talking about the power of mindsets for the past five years or so. … When she began working on Ready to Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom, she was interested in including some of the things I had been working on, and I had the chance to serve as an “advisor” of sorts for that publication. She approached me in mid-2015 about a parent book, and I was thrilled to sign on and co-author a book on a topic I believe in with a trusted friend and fellow educator.
Don’t forget, stop by the Bear on Sunday, May 22, 4 pm, to meet the authors and learn more about their new book! Click here for more details.