Week 3: Story Critique

This week I chose to examine a TED talk by Carol Dweck on growth mindset titled, The Power of Believing That You Can Improve. I am familiar with Carol Dweck’s work examining the importance of a growth mindset, but I had never seen her present before, so I was curious to see her on the TED Talk stage. Dweck’s studies on the power of yet have always stuck with me since first learning about them in my early education classes. I have even incorporated some of her strategies into my classroom. Therefore, I was excited to check out her TED Talk to see if there was more I could learn from her studies.

In order to critique Dweck’s story I focused on the following three Jason Ohler evaluation traits:

1.      Story
2.      Research
3.      Media application

Having been familiar with some of Dweck’s studies from academic readings I was excited to hear her tell her story, and share stories of others using the growth mindset in the classroom. She does a great job of starting her presentation with a short story to get viewers engaged. She also incorporates her findings by telling specific examples of what students said in studies, and how they responded to challenges. She also gives action items in her story which I found helpful. She talks about changing how we praise children, which helps to keep her audience engaged by giving them concrete things they can bring into their own lives.

Dweck has what I always consider a challenging job in academics-she is tasked with communicating the results of multiple studies in a clear and concise way. I’m sure this is always difficult for researchers. There is so much that goes into their work I can’t imagine having to sum it all up in a 10 minute speech for the masses. Dweck takes on this challenge though (I’m sure she is use to it by now). She does a solid job of breaking studies down into small personal stories. I especially found the quotes from the student participants helpful.

Media application is one place where I felt Dweck’s presentation fell short. I was actually distracted by the low quality images that were shown during her talk. I kept thinking they all looked like Microsoft images you would find in a high school paper 10 years ago. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but I expected better visuals for a TED Talk, especially from someone as successful as Dweck. Most of the visuals didn’t help to support the story, if anything I think they distracted from the story, with the exception of a few charts/pictures. In the end I think the media additions felt as though they weren’t well considered.

Overall, I’m happy I stumbled upon the talk because I am a fan of Dweck’s work. However, it is definitely not one of my favorite TED Talks. Check out the video and let me know if you think I’m being too much of a critic.



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