The Power of Yet

Melanie WeitzRecently, I received the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck. The philosophy behind Dr. Dweck’s work has changed my life both personally and professionally. While the profession of teaching is one of the most rewarding, it is also one of the most evolving, always leaving room for us to grow. One of Dr. Dweck’s findings that challenges me to grow as a teacher is the power of “yet”.

After learning of the power of “yet” I wish that I took a bit more time before grading my papers. I wish that instead of a grade that has such finality, I gave only feedback and the opportunity for students to correct their papers. In the subject of writing this is common practice, but I wish I had done it in math and science as well.

Our students should know that just because they don’t understand a specific concept now, does not mean they never will. Dr. Dweck does a remarkable job of explaining how powerful one simple change in our classroom practice can be. “The Power of Yet” gives our students the motivation to keep learning and not give up. I invite you to take the time to watch this short video and consider how you will incorporate “The Power of Yet” in your classroom.

If you would like to share any thoughts or experiences with using the power of “yet” in your classroom, please leave a comment or email me at Melanie.Weitz@fldoe.org.

To read the January edition of the department’s Just For Teachers newsletter, visit http://fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7718/urlt/jftnews-feb515.pdf.

About the author: Melanie Weitz serves as the Florida Department of Education’s teacher liaison. Before joining the department, Melanie taught fifth grade for seven years in the Tampa area.               

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4 thoughts on “The Power of Yet

  1. Eileen Vaglia says:

    That Ted Talk was AWESOME! I have for years, explained to my children, especially in math that if they don’t understand a concept, they are in a state of “not yet”. This has personally helped me in math situations where I was overwhelmed. I have seen it make a huge difference. I have talked to my parents about it as well. It releases a lot of stress for the parents and students. This short video put it all into words beautifully! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    I just finished training a class for the district, Never Work Harder Than Your Students, and she is quoted in the book. I wish more teachers and parents AND students would embrace this “mindset”. It would help us all move forward towards more effective lives and performance. To tie in with the mindset of “yet” I embrace the practice of making mistakes. In our class, making a mistake means they’ve just learned something. It creates a risk free environment where they are not afraid to take chances. We all make them…including me! I reward them for pointing out my mistakes because it demonstrates they were thinking and if something doesn’t make sense, don’t just accept it, question it and act on it! I tell them making mistakes is necessary to learn…and where is the best place to make mistakes to learn?….In school!

    To further that point, we throw away our pencils when the eraser is gone. I teach first grade. I know they make little erasers that can go on the end of a pencil but dealing with the little erasers that go on the end of a pencil just creates a behavior management nightmare! They put them in their mouth, their ears, their nose, they lose them, someone else has theirs….stop the madness!

    So….when a pencil has no eraser we throw it away. The reasoning is, they can no longer make mistakes with that pencil, so it’s worthless! Do we go through a lot of pencils? Yes! Do we make a lot of mistakes? Yes! Do they learn a lot? Yes! To me, it’s worth the cost of pencils to further their quest for learning and attitude of making mistakes to learn more. I use my supply money to replenish my stock when necessary. YET….what an awesome word! I love it! I also love that my students can explain this to others and encourage each other when they see someone get upset for not getting it. “Don’t worry, it means you just learned something!” “You’ll get it…you just don’t know it yet!!!!” Out of the mouth of babes!

    Eileen Vaglia, First Grade
    National Board Certified Teacher
    Northwest Elementary School

    • I love how you are teaching your students that making a mistake means they have just learned. This is something that Dr. Dweck constantly reminds us. If we never fail or make mistakes then we are not growing. Thank you so much for sharing your classroom strategies of instilling that mindset!

  2. Melissa White says:

    What a great video. I teach gifted 4th grade and I am going to use this strategy tomorrow! My students like all strive for perfection and unfortunately get very hard on themselves when they do this. This breaks my heart as their teacher. I will love telling them that they are just not there YET. What a simple word with such a BIG meaning. I will also try to lead by example with this mindset to my students. I have always been told to “be good to yourself” and not so hard. I think this mindset goes with that too. Thank you again for sharing!

  3. Donalee says:

    Math, Reading, Science and Social Studies are an intrical part of music. As I teach my students, I teach to relate music to their core subjects. I hope it will help them in understanding what they are learning in other classes. “Yet” means we are still learning. It is ok to not grasp it at first. The most famous musicians struggled at first, but turned out to be amazing artists. We are all a work in progress is all areas of our lives. As long as we believe we can, we, too can become amazing people! Thank you for sharing this ideology.

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