About the author: Laura Gibbs is an online instructor who teaches mythology and folklore at the University of Oklahoma; find out more at mythfolklore.net.
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Growth mindset: this a term familiar to many teachers, but it's even more important for students to learn what the growth mindset can mean for them. You can tell students about Carol Dweck's research that shows how learning results from effort over time, not simply from "brains" or raw talent. You can provide details about neurobiology, and you can talk about potential, persistence, and other abstract notions. But how can you really reach students, especially younger students, with these ideas? Here's a possibility: growth mindset memes!
By combining text and images, memes are able to make a powerful impression, often conveying complex ideas in just a few words. The brevity of memes makes them a great option for student composition, and free online tools like Cheezburger and Automotivator (to name just two) make it easy for everyone — students and teachers alike — to create memes and share them on the Internet.
So, after a great presentation on growth mindset by Laura Slade at the Upgrading Online conference on June 24, 2015, I decided to create a blog where I could publish and collect growth mindset memes while also inviting others to share and contribute. You can see the blog here: Growth Mindset Memes.
Another teacher has joined in, too: Susan Strickland has started her own Cheezburger Board of Latin LOLCat memes to promote the growth mindset with her Latin students.
We hope that others will want to contribute either by creating your own blog of growth mindset memes, or perhaps a Cheezburger Board like the one by Magistra Susan — or even just by sharing your memes with the #growthmindset hashtag at Twitter. There are lots of possibilities; here are some ideas about How to Contribute.
And to give you an idea of what the memes can do, see what you think of these LOLCats with a growth mindset (made with Cheezburger):
I love a challenge!
The bigger the challenge, the more you stretch.
You can even make animated gifs for multilingual memes like this Spanish-Latin-English LOLcat (animation done with GIMP):
Si puedes soñarlo, puedes hacerlo.
Si potes somniare, facere potes.
If you can dream it, you can do it.
Any type of meme can work, of course — it's not just about cats. For example, here are some motivational poster memes (made with Automotivator):
They wouldn’t make erasers if we didn’t make mistakes.
Fall down seven times, get up eight.
So, if you are a teacher with an interest in growth mindset (and it's valuable for teachers of all subjects at all ages), see what kinds of memes you can invent, and then set your memes in motion by sharing them online. To learn more about growth mindset and what it can offer both students and teachers, be sure to check out Carol Dweck's book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, and you can also follow the #growthmindset hashtag at Twitter.
Bring on the memes, and let's keep on sharing, learning, and growing together!