Daniel Coyle: Growing a Talent Hotbed (TED) & The Talent Code

Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset + Daniel Coyle's The Talent Code = Myelin/Skill Development

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Several years ago, our staff read Dweck's Mindset, but then many teachers wanted more concrete ideas of how to develop student skills as students developed their growth mindsets.  One teacher introduced us to Daniel Coyle's The Talent Code, and we found that it had many practical ideas and strategies that were helpful to share with our students and implement in our classrooms.  I really appreciate how Coyle synthesizes the science of myelin development along with what he's observed from talent hotbeds, such as:

--deep practice (e.g. doing tasks slightly beyond one's competence so that one is making mistakes, paying attention to them, correcting them and learning/developing myelin/skill; being able to see tasks as a whole, being able to chunk tasks into smaller components, and slowing down)

--ignition (motivation, often tapping into a desire to belong to a talent hotbed or even addressing concerns that one is behind and needs to work hard to catch up)

--master coaching (e.g. example of John Wooden's common form of teaching: modeling the right way, showing the incorrect way, and remodeling the correct way)

The Talent Code has a wealth of examples and many concrete practices that transfer well to classroom settings  (there are also resources on Coyle's Blog).  I always start my classes by addressing myelin development and how critical it is to find the "sweet spot" of learning so we're constantly growing/learning, and this has been an ideal way to start cultivating a classroom community where it's safe to take risks and make mistakes so we can experiment and innovate more.


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Photo of Aaron Wilson-Ahlstrom

Great post. Deep practice - Yes! So much pushes teachers/schools away from deep practice, starting with state content standards that are often geared more toward content coverage than deep practice of core skills. What if coaches had a list of dozens and dozens of discrete skills/content they had to push their teams through, rather than being able to introduce essential skills, practice them until the team is able to integrate them into their performance, and move the group more organically to ever more sophisticated (and deep) performance?

I also appreciate the explicit mention of expert feedback - this is also crucial.

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