Friday, July 1, 2016

Anjali - Father's Day at Daksha School

Daksha School where Anjali is studying, has this practice of inviting fathers on Father's Day. During the week when Father's Day falls, fathers volunteer to speak to the children about any topic that interests them. Over the years I did a cricket session, a writing session, even a session where we shot a short film on a mobile phone. This year I wondered if I could skip it because I didn't know what to speak. Anjali was however insistent that I go and so I went. I decided to share with them the idea of 'Mindset' by Carol Dweck which has changed my approach to life.
4th class - Anjali's class, she's in the first row

The 4th and 5th class students were my audience. I gave them a brief intro - about the two main mindsets - Fixed and Growth or Learning. I also told them that all of have both. I asked them if they sometimes said 'I know' even if they did not. They honestly agreed. I asked why we did that. They said that parents and teachers will scold us, others may feel we don't know etc. I asked them if they could accept that they did not know and if they could learn by saying - 'I don't know but I will learn'.

They said it was fine to accept that they did not know.

We then did role plays. I had taken a tennis ball and asked them to bounce it on the back of their fist. Two boys came forward.One represented the Fixed Mindset and the other Growth.
5th class

I asked them to bounce it 5 times.

Growth and Learning vs Fixed Mindset
They both managed 1 bounce. The rest of the class found it hilarious.

The Fixed Mindset person was to repeat a dialogue after me -
'I know this. It's easy. I can do this anytime . Right now I just don't feel like it.;

The Fixed Mindset's main idea is to show that he is smart and he could do  stuff easily - only he did not feel like now.

The Growth Mindset guy was to say - ' I don't how how to do it. But I will learn.'

When asked what they preferred - the children said they felt the Growth Mindset was better.

Avoiding challenges
We had another two volunteers come foward. I posed a challenge - where a lot of people are watching. They were to do 10 bounces. This time they did two bounces each. Fixed Mindset was to say -

'I don't want to do this.'

I asked the class for standard excuses. The rest of the class was very enthusiastic in providing excuses. Fever. Hand is paining. Mother not well.

The Growth Mindset fellow said - 'I don't know. I may fail. But let me try.'

The class agreed that the Growth Mindset was a better option.

Giving up easily
When given a challenge the Fixed Mindset guy gave up easily. The Growth Mindset guys were asked to persist. You fail only when you give up was the mantra.

Believing in effort
The Fixed Mindset did not believe in effort. In a competition between Harsh and Yeshwanth we found Yeswanth could do 5 and Harsh 3. We asked Harsh to practice and his team to help Harsh. After five minutes Harsh and Yeshwanth tried three times again - this time Harsh got 9 on the whole and Yehswanth 7! A five minute effort paid off!

Ignoring negative feedback
The Fixed Mindset person (played by Anjali) ignored useful negative feedback. The Growth Mindset person listened to the feedback and thought how he could improve. In an interesting situation, Rishabh who played the Growth Mindset guy asked for advise and actually got really good advise from his friend. 'Don't bounce too high, stay still etc.'

Others success
The Fixed Mindset team felt threatened by the other team's success and spent time cribbing and resenting the winners. The Growth Mindset team were impressed by the other team's performance and congratulated them and more importantly - asked them how they could also improve.

Thanks to the ball and the activity the children heard me out and perhaps even imbibed some of the ideas. This was a session, that I hoped would make a difference. As always, I checked with Anjali about the exercise and she said it was nice because it had some activity!

At the end we got a few pictures on my camera phone - one that I will treasure.

Two things stayed. One that they laugh so easily. Second that they are so impressed. When I bounced the ball some ten times they gasped and looked at me like I was Superman - I realised how easy it is to make people go Wow, if you just learn to do it a little better than them. Expertise is the key.


Braja said...

Harimohan ji, this is something to be learnt by adults as well. A brilliant way of teaching the young kids. Kudos!

Harimohan said...

Patnaik ji, I agree. In fact the book 'The Mindset - A New Psychology of Winning' by Carol Dwycke is a must read fro everyone I feel. I have benefited immensely from it.