Productive Persistence workshops give faculty and staff tools to help students

Have you ever heard a student say, “I am totally not a math person,” or “I am just not a writer?” Productive persistence workshops currently being held on campus provide faculty and staff with methods to help students change these mindsets and overcome other psychological barriers to learning. Productive persistence focuses on emotional aspects of learning such as changing student beliefs. A major tenant of this approach calls for encouraging students to adopt a “growth mindset,” so they can learn to believe their hard work will lead to success.

This is the second year productive persistence training is being offered to faculty. Former math instructors, Lawrence Morales and Jane Muhich previously worked with leading social psychologists at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Last year they brought their training to their colleagues across the District to create and implement activities to help students develop productive mindsets and effective strategies to succeed in math courses.

This year, Jane and Lawrence are working with Judy Blair in the Teaching and Learning Center to bring these strategies to faculty in all disciplines. The first two workshops in a series of three were held at the end of October, and the final fall workshop will be held on Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. in SAM 207.

“Sometimes programs are implemented broadly at a large scale and people are surprised when they don’t improve outcomes,” Jane said. “What we are trying to do here is have faculty integrate the concepts in their own classrooms so they can understand and measure to see how things are improving, and learn first on a smaller scale.”