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Mindset: Changing the Way Students Approach Learning

Tuesday, February 27 - 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Breakouts

Mindset: Changing the Way Students Approach Learning

Presenters: Dr. Rebekah Mincey, Dr. Catherine Wasson

The ability to persist in the face of difficulty is a trait students need in today's culture. There are different theories of intelligence that lend individuals to approach tasks differently. This session will focus on the role of an individual’s mindset in establishing a conducive learning environment, designing effective instruction, and creating behaviors in students that encourage them to approach learning, and specifically learning difficult tasks, in a different way.

Teaching today’s students has become increasingly difficult. Culture is continually evolving; therefore, teachers must evolve in the way we approach teaching new concepts. It is important to understand today’s students in how students learn, think, work, and view the importance of learning. Realizing that a teachers’ perception of learning new abilities might differ than from a students’ perception, it is important to create a learning environment that promotes optimal understanding of learning new concepts.

The view of intelligence held by teachers and students influences the selection of teaching strategies, the opportunities afforded to students in the learning process, and the attitude and the effort learners bring to instructional tasks. According to a number of research studies, the view of intelligence — fixed or growth — held by teachers and students does actually make a difference in achievement. It might not occur to teachers to determine the intellectual thinking behind learning new skills. By learning the concepts behind the two different types of mindsets and adopting a flexible view of intelligence and engaging students in challenging tasks, teachers can begin to open new pathways of learning.

Rebekah Mincey is a former elementary and high school math teacher. She has also served as an administrator in the form of a district test coordinator. She holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education with minors in math and music, an MED in gifted education, an Ed.S in educational leadership and administration, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration with an emphasis in research. After teaching adjunct at William Carey University and The University of Southern Mississippi for several years, she started teaching full time at Belhaven University for the graduate department. She specializes in measurements and evaluation, research, and curriculum as well as supervises the internship program for alternate route teachers. She presents regularly at conferences where she can share her love of research and learning. Areas of research include how the brain works/learns, mindset, and effective homework strategies.

Dr. Catherine Wasson serves as professor of Graduate Teacher Education at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. She was recruited to Belhaven as the director of Graduate Teacher Education to design and implement the master of education and master of arts in teaching programs. Before coming to Belhaven, Dr. Wasson served as coordinator of Administrator Preparation Programs K-12 and assistant professor in the Department Of Educational Leadership and Educational Psychology at the University of Mississippi. In her tenure at the Mississippi Department of Education, Dr. Wasson held the positions of interim associate superintendent for Academic Education, director of the Office of Leadership Development and Enhancement, and program manager and LEAD project director in the School Executive Management Institute. Dr. Wasson served the public schools of Mississippi in a variety of administrative positions with district-wide responsibilities for counseling, curriculum and assessment and as both an elementary and secondary teacher. She earned her doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Mississippi, her master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Delta State University and her bachelor’s degree in education from Mississippi State University. She is a member of the board of the Millsaps Principals’ and Teachers’ Institute and secretary for the governing board of the International Community of Christians in Teacher Education.

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