Premise #3: Growth Mindset
You have probably heard this term before, because really, it is a foundation for all learning. Still, some of our students come into our classes every semester and proclaim that “Reading and writing is not for them,” or “Literature is not my thing.”
While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion and we all have unique strengths and attributes, we try our best to change the way our students think about reading and writing in college. Mostly, we expand their view of the possibilities of college reading and writing.
Depending on various factors from audience, to the academic discipline, to the assignment prompt, college writing is different from high school. If you are reading this textbook, you are preparing your mindset to be open to these differences, to use strategies that match your learning styles, and to succeed as a college reader and writer—which will help you thrive in all parts of your life. By viewing college reading and writing with a more open perspective, and viewing your own diverse ways of learning with a more strategic point of view, reading can be for everybody. It just takes a growth mindset, where finding your learning style, negotiating an appropriate level of challenge, and having an open, flexible mindset all come together to help you grow as a reader and writer. To expand just a bit, one of the most fundamental lessons I teach my students about the importance of having a flexible mindset in college is developing the courage to take risks, experiment, and truly grow as readers and writers. We read (and watch) various types of texts, including various TED Talks and other videos. Further, my classes discuss English as a living language that has been debated in Composition Studies for 45 years, with a living document entitled “Students Right to their Own Language.”
In this document authored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), they argue that English is not a fixed language, yet has still been used to uphold fixed standard for achievement tests where naturally those who have continually “failed” come out believing that “reading and writing is not for them.” Once students find out that various Englishes are legitimate and valid in the real world, even in the academic community and within scholarly discourse, their perspectives on English changes. Once students like you know that you are allowed to have your own voice as an academic writer—once you are able to develop a more flexible mindset about “English” through various reading and writing experiences included in this textbook—you will be better prepared to grow as readers and writers.