You Can Learn the Impossible

growth mindset neurons They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so here goes… I am a brain science junky. Ever since my team started doing research 18 months ago, I’ve been fascinated with the science behind how humans learn. But it’s not just me. I’m seeing the work of Carol Dweck, Paul Tough, Sian Beilock, and Heidi Grant Halvorson show up in all sorts of non-educational publications and places. Sure, I work at a school, so it’s natural for conversations to revolve around grit and growth mindset, but last week I overheard preschool moms discussing it at the supermarket.

Imagine the amazing strides we could make in this country if every child believed they could learn anything. Seem impossible?

My son used to use that word a lot. “No way dad, that’s impossible. I’ll never be able to do that.” That was up until a few weeks ago, when my wife and I were discussing brain science (nerd alert!) and how practice helps the brain form new connections so things that once seemed difficult become easy. I’m sure you know the feeling if you’ve ever learned how to ride a bike, play guitar or do long division. My son wasn’t really buying it, so I challenged him to an experiment. I asked him to choose something he thought would be hard to learn, practice just 20 minutes per day and we’d see how long it would take before it started to get easy. When he chose juggling, I offered him $10 if it took longer than 10 hours to master. Sucker. Here’s the video evidence that with a little practice (and a lot of tongue) you can do what once seemed impossible.

Post by John Logan, Former Vice President of Curriculum Innovation for FLVS

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