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Growth mindset and a 15-minute learn-to-draw video: A short assignment

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In the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Facebook group, Maria Lechtreck shared a 15-minute Graham Shaw video that teaches us how to draw. After learning—in mere minutes—how to draw cartoon faces, I have been wondering how to work this into my Intro Psych course—the video, not the cartoon faces.

The Intro Psych textbook I use (Myers and DeWall, Psychology in Everyday Life) opens with a short chapter titled “Student Success,” and the chapter contains all kinds of useful information on how to be, well, a successful student. I ask my students to reflect on what they read in this chapter, identify three suggestions they found most useful and why, and then identify their biggest challenges and what strategies they have in place to cope with those challenges.

As a companion to that question, I’m considering adding this set of questions.


How confident are you in your ability to draw? Very? Somewhat? Not at all?

Now, watch this 15-minute video. Participate along with the audience, drawing the characters as the presenter Graham Shaw draws them: Spike, Thelma, Jeff, Pam, and Albert Einstein. Draw a character of your own imagination. Take a photo of your collection of 6 drawings, and paste the photo here as part of your assignment.

After watching the video and participating along with the audience, are you more confident in your ability to draw? Explain.

At the end of the recording, Shaw asks us to consider what other beliefs we carry around about ourselves that may be causing us to limit what we can do. If someone believed that they are “not good at math,” for example, how could that belief limit the career paths they might take?

Lastly, read “How praise came to be a consolation prize” in The Atlantic. What is meant by “fixed mindset?” What is meant by “growth mindset?” When someone says, “I can’t draw” or “I can’t do math” or “I can’t write,” are they exhibiting a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? Explain. Lastly, what is meant by “false growth mindset?” According to growth mindset, what’s the best way to react to a failure?

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About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology in community colleges since 1992, and has been at Highline College in the Seattle area since 2001. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award . She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed.