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English Language Fellow Heather Van Fleet led a two hour workshop for English teachers in El Salvador about student motivation and the role that mindsets play in how both students and teachers view their intelligence, abilities, and talents. The topic of motivation was activated through the ‘Pass the Paper’ warm up game. After a brief reflection, the research of Carol Dweck and her book ‘Mindsets’ were introduced through an anticipation survey, and then reviewed by defining what mindsets are and what mindsets do.

Learned helplessness and responses to failure was explored in more detail, and the teachers participated in a ‘Famous Failures’ race to explore the concept of ‘success’. Following this, teachers reflected on themselves in terms of the fixed and growth mindsets that they, their students, and those held by the country of El Salvador. The last part of mindsets studied was the how process versus product praise affects student effort and achievement.

The final activities included a ‘Magic Carpet Challenge’ in which teachers completed an activity where they flipped from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, a demonstration of how changing your words changes your mindset. The level of deep reflection and active participation was visible throughout the entire workshop as teachers reflected on the concept of mindsets and the role that they play not only in the lives of their students, but also in their own lives as teachers, in their families, and in the larger society of El Salvador as a whole.

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