Unit 2: Time, Tools, and Study Environment
THE POWER OF POSITIVE SELF-TALK
Is your inner voice positive or negative? What thoughts dominate your mind when you sit down to study?
Positive self-talk is very important when it comes to your success in college. If you are always telling yourself that you won’t do well, eventually, you will start to believe that.
It may seem simplistic, but make sure you are thinking positive about what you are studying. Make sure you have confidence that you can get the good grades you want to achieve in your studies. But do not ever get down on yourself if you get a bad grade. A bad grade (or a good grade) should not define you. Perhaps a not so great grade is sending you a message that you need to try to study a little bit harder.
Getting an undesirable grade could also mean that instead of continuing with the way you studied, maybe you need to make some changes in your study habits so that you are better able to grasp the material. Never get discouraged though, keep trying, keep making adjustments if needed, and your hard work will pay off.
When in doubt, keep telling yourself you CAN do well, even if it is in a subject that you think you are not that great at. The table below shows some examples of positive affirmations you can use to develop a positive attitude towards learning and the good habit of positive self-talk.
Please take time to develop positive affirmations in areas of your life you would like to improve. We highly encourage you to develop a couple of positive affirmations for your continued success in academics.
It is important to become aware of our learning habits, our self-awareness of how we view ourselves and understand how we adopted our thinking. There has been research conducted to identify how we react to failure. Moreover, to identify how we can acquire a new way of thinking to manage our success.
Research confirms how powerful your thoughts can be. Take a look at this short video to better understand this idea: The Scientific Power of Thought
FIXED AND GROWTH MINDSET
According to Carol Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of “where ability comes from.” Dweck states that there are two categories (growth mindset vs fixed mindset) that can group individuals based on their behaviour, specifically their reaction to failure. Those with a “fixed mindset” believe that abilities are mostly innate and interpret failure as the lack of necessary basic abilities, while those with a “growth mindset” believe that they can acquire any given ability provided they invest effort or study. Dweck argues that the growth mindset “will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life.”
In a 2012 interview, Dweck defined both fixed and growth mindsets: “In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
A large part of Dweck’s research on mindsets has been done in the field of education, and how these mindsets affect a student’s performance in the classroom. The growth mindset is clearly the more desirable of the two for students. According to Dweck, individuals with a “growth” theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks. Individuals’ theories of intelligence can be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as “good job, you’re very smart” are much more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like “good job, you worked very hard” they are likely to develop a growth mindset.
While elements of our personality – such as sensitivity to mistakes and setbacks – can make us predisposed towards holding a certain mindset, we are able to develop and reshape our mindset through our interactions.10 In multiple studies, Carol Dweck and her colleagues noted that alterations in mindset could be achieved through “praising the process through which success was achieved”,11 “having [college aged students] read compelling scientific articles that support one view or the other”,12 or teaching junior high school students “that every time they try hard and learn something new, their brain forms new connections that, over time, make them smarter.”13 These studies all demonstrate how framing and discussing students’ work and effort play a considerable role in the type of mindset students develop and students’ conceptions of their own ability.
Carol Dweck and Jo Boaler have done extensive research on the topics of fixed and growth mindset. However, studies on mindset depict results that show that there is a disparity in the fixed and growth mindsets of females and males. In Boaler’s Ability and Mathematics: The Mindset Revolution that is Reshaping Education, she notes that fixed mindset beliefs lead to inequalities in education and are a main reason for low achievement and participation amongst minorities and female students.14 Boaler’s research shows that many women feel as though they are not smart enough nor capable enough to continue in certain subjects, such as STEM areas of academia. Boaler uses Carol Dweck’s research showing that, “gender differences in mathematics performance only existed among fixed mindset students” (Boaler, 2013).
Dweck’s research and theory of growth and fixed mindsets has been useful in intervention strategies with at risk students, dispelling negative stereotypes in education held by teachers and students, understanding the impacts of self-theories on resilience, and understanding how process praise can foster a growth mindset and positively impact students’ motivation levels.15
Emotional intelligence focuses on knowing and managing your own emotions, as well as recognizing and understanding others’ emotions and managing relationships. It is an additional aspect of general intelligence and is seen to be equally as important as traditional measures of intelligence (IQ) for effective performance in many areas of everyday life.
In his book Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence as a cluster of traits:
● Self-Awareness – recognizing your full range of emotions and knowing your strengths and limitations
● Self-regulation – responding skillfully to strong emotions, practicing honesty and integrity, and staying open to new ideas
● Motivation – persisting to achieve goals and meet standards of excellence
● Empathy – sensing other people’s emotions and taking an active interest in their concerns
● Skills in relationships – listening fully, speaking persuasively, resolving conflict, and leading people through times of change
If you are emotionally intelligent, you are probably described as someone with good “people skills.” You are aware of your feelings. You act in thoughtful ways, show concern for others, resolve conflict, and make responsible decisions.
Your emotional intelligence skills will service you in school and in the workplace, especially when you collaborate on project teams.
Emotional intelligence can be developed, and is therefore an effective way of highlighting areas of focus for individuals to become more successful.
“Emotional intelligence is an organizing framework for categorizing abilities relating to understanding, managing and using feelings” (P SALOVEY & J MAYER 1994)
“Emotional Intelligence: long neglected core component of mental ability or faddish and confused idea massively commercialized” (A. FURNHAM 2001)
DEFINING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Despite its popularity, and the fact that most people claim to have heard of it, very few can accurately define emotional intelligence. Skeptics claim that “charm and influence” became “social and interpersonal skills” which has become “emotional intelligence.” The new term and concept chimed with the zeitgeist and became very popular. It spawned a huge industry particularly with those interested in success at work. Many books make dramatic claims. One such claim suggests that cognitive ability or traditional academic intelligence contributes to only about 20% of general life success (academic, personal and work) while the remaining 80% is directly attributable to emotional intelligence.
- Emotional self-awareness
- Self confidence
- Accurate self-assessment
- Organizational awareness
- Service orientation
- Emotional self-control
- Achievement orientation
- Conflict management
- Ins. Leadership
- Change catalyst
- Developing others
- Teamwork and collaboration
Now you have a better understanding of emotional intelligence and have identified opportunities for development. We will continue to learn more about ourselves and how we process information. Our emotions contribute to our response to new information. In addition, fixed and growth mindset will affect how we proceed with new information.