Effective Effort at BIS


    What is Effective Effort all about?

    BIS has adopted research findings by Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychologist and author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  Dweck describes two distinct mindsets that influence how we approach challenges. Essentially, when you have a fixed mindset, you believe your intelligence, qualities or talents cannot be changed.  With a growth mindset, you believe that you can always develop more and that the key to success is putting forth effective effort.  Individuals with a growth mindset view setbacks  or challenges as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow and improve.  All students at BIS are taught how to put forth effective effort and how the brain can be developed like a muscle.  Time, persistence, resourcefulness, commitment, focus and feedback are qualities that BIS wants to nurture and reinforce in every student. In order to support this concept beyond the classroom, an ”Outstanding Effective Effort" contest was developed.  BIS faculty raise funds for the contest by participating in an annual golf tournament in the Fall.  Each week, teachers nominate a student for using commendable effective effort strategies.  Names are drawn from a hat and the winner receives an Effective Effort T-shirt as well as a $10 itunes gift card.  : 

    Reinforcing effort is important, however it is just as important to talk about the strategies and resources that will lead to success.  Simply praising effort or telling your child to try hard (or something like "at least you tried hard") is not helpful. Instead, try asking your son or daughter what strategy did or did not work on a recent test or project and what they could do differently next time or what they will continue to do in the future. It can also be helpful to teach your children how to train their brain to take a logical rather than an emotional stance towards learning challenges.  Instead of saying, "The test was unfair and my teacher doesn't like me", try reframing the situation with a logical statement such as "I need to quiz myself before I take my next test" (which by the way is one of the most effective ways to prepare for an exam).  Another important facet of having a growth mindset involves paying attention to the negative self-talk when faced with failure.  If students are saying, "I am not good at math, this is too hard, what if I fail?" they are shutting down the learning centers in their brain.  In order to promote a growth mindset, students need to be taught that mistakes are an opportunity for growth and they need to talk to themselves from the perspective of a caring, problem-solving friend. In summary, students need to be encouraged to try new strategies and seek input from others when they are stuck.  Having a positive growth mindset will help students feel more confident about their skills and they will be more willing to keep trying even when they hit a roadblock.




The Key to Success at BIS
Change your words, change your mindset