A grade six teacher and I had co-planned a series of sessions with her students around coding with Scratch. In one of the later sessions, I was working with a boy who was frustrated with the game he was making and told me he wanted to start over again. In age appropriate words, I reassured him that programming involved working in a continuous state of problem solving. In fact, fixing coding errors in programming has a special word: debugging.
I pointed out that it appeared to me that his code was progressing quite well. He accepted my offer to help him. I modeled the problem solving process of isolating chunks of code that might be causing the error. Akin to breaking a complex problem into more manageable parts, this strategy helped him fix his code because he was able to test his code bit by bit rather than all at once. Because he could now pinpoint where each problem was, it became far easier to see what the problem was.
At the time, I felt he was operating with a fixed mindset, at least initially. Without doing the actual work of solving his problems for him, my goal was to talk out loud, using growth mindset language, and model some strategies that might work.
There were three bugs in his code and he fixed each one by isolating the problem and stepping through his instructions one by one. I wasn’t surprised that he became very enthusiastic and confident about his program. What did surprise me, though, was how effective it was to simply alter my language so that it consistently reflected growth mindset thinking.
Check out these other blog posts in our first #peel21st blog hop of 2015-2016:
- Jason Richea – http://beyondangrybirds.blogspot.ca/2015/11/best-moment.html
- Jonathan So – http://mrsoclassroom.blogspot.ca/2015/11/the-best-learning-moment-this-fall.html
- Amit Mehrotra – http://mramitmehrotra.blogspot.ca/2015/11/peel21st-november-blog-hop-my-best.html
- Tina Zita – https://misszita.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/peel21st-blog-hop-my-one-best-thing/
- Melanie Mulcaster – http://valleyslearningcommons.blogspot.ca/2015/11/my-best-moments-so-far-in-2015-happen.html
- Heather Lye – http://teachinginspirations.blogspot.com/2015/11/learning-moments-peel21st-blog-hop.html
- Erica Armstrong – http://msarmstrong.ca/2015/11/17/my-most-memorable-learning-moment-of-this-fall/
- Matt Fletcher – https://heymrfletcher.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/peel21st-november-blog-hop-my-best-moment/
- Jason Wigmore – https://jwigmore.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/peel21st-blog-hop-my-most-memorable-moment
- Shivonne Lewis-Young – https://slewisyoung.wordpress.com/
- Matthew Forestieri – http://www.matthewforestieri.com/2015/11/18/peel21st-blog-hop-most-memorable-learning-experience-this-fall/
- Sarah Dadgar – http://instructionalpartners.blogspot.ca/2015/11/each-day-is-memorable-moment-as-i-sit.html
- Pam Taylor – http://mindfulauthenticity.blogspot.ca/2015/11/peel21st-blog-hop-what-has-been-your.html