Mindsets & Microsystems
What factors in our microsystems shape our theories of intelligence? (This is the belief in our intelligence, not our actual intelligence). What factors cause us to believe that we can’t learn? What factors shape our behavior so that we either enjoy or “hate” hard work, either take or avoid risks, either appreciate or are offended by constructive criticism?
Using the texts and concepts we’ve read and discussed so far, write a 4-page (MLA format) essay in which you discuss relationships between the microsystems we live in and our mindsets. Cite the microsystemic factors that shaped the students’ as well as the teachers’ mindsets from Mike Rose’s “I Just Wanna Be Average.” Use these examples to support your claim about the relationship between microsystems and mindsets .
Some Prewriting Strategies:
o First review Carol Dweck’s first chapter from Mindsets. Ask yourself: what characteristics and behaviors are associated with each mindset?
o Next, re-read Rose’s text and closely examine his lush renderings of the microsystems or environments (home, school, neighborhood) that shaped the students. Think about what Rose is saying in terms or the shaping power of our environments on people’s mindset. Note that it will change from time to time (hint) based on the environment he’s in. Consider that carefully, and see if you can discern a pattern.
o Be sure to explain and argue why and how the examples you present support your claim. o You may want to create your own version of Urie Bronfrenbrenner’s Human Ecology
graph to plot factors in the microsystems you’ve identified in Rose’s text.
Papers will be assessed according to the concision of the prose, the clarity of the argument, the quality of the examples chosen to support that argument, and how true the writer has been to the spirit of the texts s/he addresses.
Significance: This assignment offers students the opportunity to have a go at synthesizing schemas and applying general concepts to specific instances. This synthetic thinking is difficult to represent in writing, and the “Environment/Mindset” paper offers students the chance to practice in a relatively low-risk environment.