The Art of Learning: A Conversation with Gregg Goodhart

In the realm of education, there are incalculable facets to consider. One particularly intriguing perspective is that of Gregg Goodhart, whom we enjoyed interviewing. Disarmingly known as ‘The Learning Coach,’ Goodhart’s unconventional approach transcends traditional teaching methods and instigates a revolutionary perspective on learning.

## The Journey to Becoming a Learning Coach

In the beginning, Goodhart was a high school music teacher who ingeniously discovered the keys to training genius. Of course, this wasn’t only about training geniuses. It was about navigating from failure to success intricately, whether this was progressing from a D to a C grade or mastering an instrument or academic pursuit.

Realizing that our educational system was failing to teach kids the fundamentals of learning, Goodhart expanded his horizon, venturing into teaching instruments he didn’t know how to play and even applying his methods to sports and business.

## The Art of Reflective Learning: Viewpoints from Ed Watters

Insightfully, Ed Watters, the host, zoned in on Goodhart’s learning ‘triad’ of “do, reflect, plan.” He posited that many overlook the essential step of reflection, and without it, they become trapped in a cycle of repeated mistakes and stagnant progress.

They shared a fascinating retrospect about how practicing without reflecting entails risking the same undesirable outcomes. Similarly, Watters astutely observed that many of us stumble upon solutions rather than making calculated improvements, again, highlighting the importance of intentional reflection during learning.

## The Underlying Science: Beyond Talent

Going deeper into learning strategies is understanding neuroplasticity or ‘automatizing skills.’ As it turns out, our brain craves automation and efficiency to conserve energy. This phenomenon is often misunderstood as laziness, especially among children, when, in fact, it is a mere conservation of energy.

Goodhart also brought to light the inadequacy of accepting partial knowledge as mastery. With his music background, one of his profound observations was that achieving 90% in music performance was considered an abject failure, while in academic discourse, it is celebrated.

## The Ideal Mindset for Learning

Underpinning all of Goodhart’s educational philosophies is his focus on mindset. Developing a growth mindset and treating mistakes as priceless information rather than setbacks is the key to sustained learning. Recognizing aspects of learning and growth means overhauling the way we approach and understand failure.

Goodhart links much of this thinking back to the work of Carol Dweck and her theories about fixed and growth mindsets. The belief that you can improve and develop, rather than being limited by natural ‘talent,’ is crucial in this approach.

## Final Thoughts

The conversation with Gregg Goodhart brilliantly unraveled his revolutionary take on learning. His journey from a high school teacher to a Learning Coach and his transition from traditional teaching methods to promoting a growth mindset has left an indelible mark on his students, affecting their academic achievements and equipping them with skills for their future

This surge in practical, mindset-based learning strategies is a testament to the evolving landscape of education. Goodhart’s work exudes the importance of breaking systemic norms and fostering an environment conducive to intensive learning and self-improvement.

Step by step, deep-rooted efforts like these contribute to systemic reforms in the educational landscape and challenge us to widen our perceptions of what it truly means to learn.

The Art of Learning: A Conversation with Gregg Goodhart

This detailed conversation with Gregg Goodhart, known as The Learning Coach, explores the intricate processes of learning and the human brain. Gregg discusses the importance of reflection, the misinterpretation of 'talent,' the role of deliberate practice, and the harmful consequences of false praise. He emphasizes the significance of a 'growth mindset,' viewing mistakes as learning opportunities and adopting a methodical approach to learning. Furthermore, he criticizes the disconnect between cognitive science and education in schools, leading to the 'experience trap'. Lastly, Gregg shares information about his teaching philosophy, his forthcoming book, and the educational resources available on his website.

00:00 Introduction and Importance of Reflection in Learning

00:52 The Role of Education and Self-Reflection

01:43 Interview with Gregg Goodhart, The Learning Coach

03:07 Understanding the Learning Process and the Concept of Talent

04:47 The Importance of Feedback and Trial and Error in Learning

05:59 The Challenges of Teaching and the Concept of Testing

06:54 The Pressure of Performance in Music and Arts

12:50 The Practice Class: A New Approach to Learning Music

19:08 The Role of Hard Work and Continuous Learning in Mastery

21:48 Misunderstanding the Concept of 'Trying' in Learning

22:16 The Importance of Reflective Practice

22:57 The Brain's Efficiency and Energy Conservation

23:25 The Pitfalls of Shortcuts in Learning

24:07 The Power of Mindset in Learning

24:31 The Role of Mistakes in Learning

25:59 The Impact of Praise on Learning

27:06 The Importance of Teaching Growth Mindset

29:25 The Misinterpretation of Growth Mindset in Schools

30:54 The Importance of Authentic Encouragement

34:49 The Need for Reform in Education

36:18 The Power of Awareness and Continuous Improvement

37:08 The Importance of Teaching Critical Thinking

38:19 The Value of Learning Resources

39:59 Closing Remarks and Contact Information

Gregg Goodhart

[00:00:00] Gregg Goodhart: If you do your job and don't reflect and don't try to get better, you will start doing things, you will just start overlooking things and not paying attention. What you were talking about earlier is, you just do, you're talking about automatizing skills. At some point, and there's actually fMRI images of a brain automatizing skills.

[00:00:18] You can see how it's all lit up and then it finds the place where it's automatized. Do we use ten percent of our brains? Actually more when we're learning because it's confusion and less once we figure it out. But, but the, and the brain craves automatized stuff because it wants to conserve energy because the brain can't store energy. So what most people think, especially in kids is laziness, it's actually conservation of energy. Why should I work this hard on this homework assignment when I can go to Google and get the answers? Okay.

[00:00:52] Ed Watters: To overcome, you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn, we must challenge what we already understand. The way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself. Reach out and challenge yourself; let's dive in and learn something right now.

[00:01:43] Today we're with Gregg Goodhart, and he is The Learning Coach. Gregg, could you please introduce yourself? Let people know just a little more about you, please?

[00:01:53] Gregg Goodhart: Hi, I'm Gregg Goodhart and I am The Learning Coach. I should probably add to that. Um, it's just something I, I'm a recovering high school teacher, actually a high school music teacher. And along the way and trying to be a good teacher, I ended up figuring out how to train genius. How learning really works. Which isn't just about training geniuses, it's about getting from a D to a C on your test or anything else, any other type of improvement. I realized being in the system that we're not teaching this to our kids, which is why we've made up the magical nonsensical word called talent to describe those who somehow get a lot better or a little better.

[00:02:31] And for some reason, others try and don't. And so I, there's a huge need here and I started teaching it just to my music kids. Then I realized I could do it for all instruments so I expanded out to everything, teaching instruments I have no idea how to play. Then I realized it was all academic so I started holding meetings for teachers. Then I realized I could do it with sports and business and other things.

[00:02:50] And so I started traveling around and doing workshops and stuff in it. There's a massive need, there's a huge gap in between the research on how learning really works and the way we teach in schools and the way what most people think learning is. And that gap is wide open, there's almost nobody in it.

[00:03:07] Ed Watters: Yeah. I kind of found it fascinating, the triangle that you have about do- reflect- plan.

[00:03:15] Gregg Goodhart: Yeah.

[00:03:16] Ed Watters: Because a lot of people don't reflect.

[00:03:18] Gregg Goodhart: That's the one, that's the piece.

[00:03:21] Ed Watters: Yeah. That's the important piece, you know? If you don't get that, you're stuck.

[00:03:28] Gregg Goodhart: But that's what most people do.

[00:03:30] Ed Watters: That's right. And I found that fascinating because, never did think about it that way until I came across what you've done here. And if you keep practicing, but you don't reflect to change anything that you're practicing, you're going to get the same results. So you're going to stay right where you are.

[00:03:53] Gregg Goodhart: You might get

[00:03:54] Ed Watters: Fascinating.

[00:03:54] Gregg Goodhart: lucky and get a little better, get worse, but yeah, yeah.

[00:03:58] Ed Watters: You might stumble upon it, right?

[00:04:00] Gregg Goodhart: Right.

[00:04:00] Ed Watters: So I find, I find that so interesting. How did you come up with putting that together?

[00:04:08] Gregg Goodhart: That took a long, long time. I mean, I, like a lot of people, if anyone's doing a decent job based on the way we currently judge it in teaching, they're doing some of these things or some of what, and the main thing is deliberate practice, which is what we're talking about right now. Um, which is poorly explained even by the guy who came up with it, um, in a whole long book and there's books about it. And I was trying to figure out an easy way to explain it and I started to just come across it by working with students. I was trying to figure out how do I get them from here to there? And I realized it was teaching them to teach themselves. And being a teacher,

[00:04:47] I realized that you have to have some sort of feedback in order to correct yourself. All teachers really do is, if you look at the triangle plan do reflect all feeding into each other, all that really is, is trial and error. That's all that really is. All teachers really do is save you time, okay, by, by, so you don't make as many errors.

[00:05:11] Now, that's kind of what we do. But there's, there's many other ways than just reflecting, it's a lot broader than that. But I, but where I kind of exist, and I think what brought me to the, what I could, what I came to understand about teaching was, that you've got to do this in a way people can understand.

[00:05:30] There's entire books written about deliberate practice and I meet people who've read them and they can't do it. They don't know what it is, they try this or that. You got to go, I used to call it meeting the student where they're at. If you write, To be or not to be, on the board and you say, Have you ever heard of Shakespeare? And they say, No. Okay. You know what a play is? No. Can you read this sentence? No. Do you know what words are? No. Do you know what the alphabet is? No. We're starting with the alphabet. And you have to go down to the alphabet, meet them where they're at

[00:05:58] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:05:58] Gregg Goodhart: and bring them back up. I found that to be the most, uh, frustrating part of teaching because a lot of people have a lot of weaknesses. You know, they're strong, strong, strong, then this is the weakness you have to take care of if you want them to do well. And we tend to cover it up. Let's just get them to the next level, let's just figure out how to get through and do this. And so I was trying to figure out how to address that. And I, like a lot of people, before I discovered the cognitive science, which is really what opened things up for me, I had my own words for this. I think I called it guided feedback, which is not the best.

[00:06:27] And everyone kind of has their own ways of describing this stuff. And maybe at some point we'll talk about why there is a benefit to having a common language that comes out of the science and all this sort of stuff. Um, because, you know, a lot of people want to make, we'll make the argument, Well, if it works, it works.

[00:06:43] That's correct. If it works, it works. But you're probably going to miss six other things you could have found out if you had a real succinct way to identify it and knew where it fit into the larger model. So that's how I got to where I was. I will tell you what was on the line, I was music teacher at the time and I did not go to teacher school.

[00:07:00] It was a private school, so I did not need a teaching credential. I now know, I now teach teachers who have teaching credentials because they're not taught this stuff in school. And what is on the line when you're a music teacher is something that is not on the line in pretty much anything else, sports.

[00:07:17] And when I say music arts in general, where you have to actually perform, sports is kind of that way but not as effective because the coaches do a lot of the reflect piece for you. It does not teach. That's why there's so many coaches and you're out for practice every day. Well, what did I do? I taught and sent my students home to practice.

[00:07:35] You know, they don't do that. You do your practicing on the football field or the basketball court and you have coaches making sure that you do the, and, and research shows that that's a less effective way to learn independently. You will learn, you will get better, but you won't learn, but you won't learn how to learn independently.

[00:07:50] So what the arts has is instead of a phony test where the grade is kept secret between you and the teacher and the parent, when I say phony, testing is a compromise. You, we want to educate millions of people and we have to do it in classrooms with twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty kids. And hundreds of kids, when you have to evaluate them, boy, it would be great to talk to each one, know the depth of their knowledge and develop a plan.

[00:08:16] Whether all teachers are capable of that, maybe that's another story. But the point is, is even if you are capable of it, there is no time. If we wanted to increase the budget by about 8, 000 percent and have people do that, that would be great. That ain't happening. We can, we barely have enough money to have school as it is.

[00:08:33] And teachers are so impacted by doing other things. So what we do is on tests, we test for basic foundational knowledge. Okay. If you don't know a certain principle of the way chemicals interact, you can't do laboratory experiments. You just can't.

[00:08:50] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:08:50] Gregg Goodhart: If you don't know it takes, you have four downs to get a first down in football and you don't have five or more, you can't be a quarterback. You just can't. You have to have these basic, you would never let your quarterback out on the field if they didn't understand that. And so what testing is, is it's, as far as what we have, it's a pretty good compromise. You get everyone and you test them on their basic knowledge and see and say, However much of that you have is your grade.

[00:09:19] That doesn't determine whether you can do the thing well, but I know you can't do the thing well if you don't have these basics. And that's basically how our testing system works. Now in the arts where you have to perform, you're not, I don't say, Do you know where the notes are? Here, identify this and that note.

[00:09:35] Hi, you just passed my class. We have to put our kids on stage every semester. One, there's one concert a semester. And our final and our evaluation happens in front of the whole, anyone who wants to show up at the concert. If you have a good administration and some of them will show up, I always had that, people would show up to the concert.

[00:09:53] But, and aside from the parents of the kids in the band or the orchestra or the guitar [00:10:00] ensemble, people are going to judge pretty, it's pretty easy to judge if someone plays music well or not. And there's nowhere to hide. And if something goes a little wrong, ninety percent in calculus is considered good. Ninety percent in music is an abject failure.

[00:10:16] There's a really neat video out there called, um, Why A Isn't Enough. Where a guy did it with an orchestra, with a great high school orchestra, big brass section and strings and everything. And they play this section. So now you think ninety percent is good, huh? Now I'm going to have them play it again.

[00:10:30] Everyone gets to make one out of ten mistake, that's it. And it's not even necessarily a wrong note, maybe they'll play too loud where they should play soft. And of course the orchestra kicks up again and it sounds like a disaster. That is what a ninety percent is, ninety percent is F. What, we're not testing for competency when we test in other classes, we're testing for basic knowledge to see that you, and this kind of works because you have enough basic knowledge

[00:10:54] if you can do, you know, ninety or better in your classes. And nobody, nobody should be getting any less than a ninety-five, ninety-seven, ninety-eight percent in their classes. It's not their fault, they haven't been taught how to learn. If you understand you can memorize stuff easily and do all this other stuff, the whole of school becomes a lot easier.

[00:11:12] Having said all that, we accept what would be a failure in other areas as being good, which is another lesson we teach that isn't great, as being good. Hey, I got an eighty-nine percent, a B+, that means you don't know eleven full percent of how to do something. There's nothing you can do where you don't know eleven full percent of how to do something.

[00:11:29] So as music teachers, we have been forced for several hundred years to create people who can actually do, people who can produce, who can do the thing we're teaching. Not just pass the test, and that's quite a bit of pressure. Yeah, we find little ways around it, you know, we're doing, you know, there's no standard that, like algebra or calculus, like, Why are you teaching addition and subtraction to your twelfth grade high school seniors, you know? We would know that's wrong.

[00:11:55] Well, in music you can find the, you know, big orchestra with a couple of parts that are in addition and subtraction for these people at a different level here. But we're always bringing people up, and I don't care how easy something is to do, to perform it in the moment where you have to create whatever it is, I don't care if it's an algebra equation,

[00:12:13] I don't care if it's a science experiment, being in a play, being on a football field, to create in the moment is really hard. You have to have, you have to have a huge mental model in which you can access things very quickly and problem solve in the moment. That's what it is, problem solving. When you see someone performing, they are solving problem after problem after problem very quickly in real time.

[00:12:35] You don't get to stop and come back to the answer later or anything like that. So that is how I got here because of that pressure. And I wanted my kids to be good. And I found amazing things along the way.

[00:12:49] Ed Watters: Yeah. Yeah. Well, practice makes perfect. And what

[00:12:53] Gregg Goodhart: Of course, practice makes perfect.

[00:12:57] Ed Watters: Right. And, and you, you have a practice class.

[00:13:02] Gregg Goodhart: Yeah.

[00:13:03] Ed Watters: Could you tell us about that?

[00:13:04] Gregg Goodhart: Yeah. So,

[00:13:05] Ed Watters: Because I find that interesting.

[00:13:07] Gregg Goodhart: Thank you. Yeah. So in, in, in the field, and I still do, uh, music coaching as well as other things, but I, I'm still big into music coaching because that's where I knew people and I started building it up that way. And in our field, we have, uh, and I know masterclass is a word a lot of people use, so I'll define what a masterclass is basically in the music field.

[00:13:26] You have a master, like a performing artist or someone, and generally you want someone who's relatively famous, so everyone wants to show up in their field at least. And I used to host masterclasses myself with artists. And you have a student who you've worked with, uh, who works up to a, just a very high level of playing.

[00:13:44] Then they get up on stage, perform, then the master, who brings their special knowledge, raises it to another level. That's what a masterclass is. Well, the way masterclasses work for most kids who take them, now, I'm not talking about the top notch people at the Eastman school, and Juilliard, and Brevard and all this sort of stuff.

[00:14:03] I'm not talking about them. They still kind of feel the same way, that they never play well, but they're doing a good job. Most people bust their tails, I'm one, bust their tails to, when I was in college, to get ready for a masterclass. Because we all have it in our head that as soon as we get done playing, the master teacher is going to say, Why are you not famous?

[00:14:24] I cannot wait to tell you about, to tell my record company about you, you are one of the greatest discoveries. And we all think that way as we're getting ready. And then it gets closer and closer and we get up there and what do we do? We suck. We do. Because we make tons of mistakes, we, because we're practicing poorly.

[00:14:41] And by the way, if you're not practicing poorly, you're one of the talented people and you're probably not at the same music school I was, um, that's for sure. Because I didn't get into the talented music. I went to a very good music school, but not the one where you have to prove that you can play really well before you get there.

[00:14:57] And so, we have, and, and I, and you can really liken this to just about anything else we need to perform in life. And the goal of all learning is performance, being able to perform something. If you're learning something in business, you have to be able to perform it, um, or whatever it is. And what happens is, is there's usually two, four, five, six sections within the music that are just beyond the student.

[00:15:22] They just, you, you work on them, I mean, for months. Months, and I'm being literal here, months. And you spend twenty, forty minutes a day playing that thing over and over. And then trying this and then coming back to it later and then talking to your teacher and then coming back. And by the way, a lot of teachers in music

[00:15:41] almost, almost everyone to some extent and many to a large extent, do the same thing our teachers and academics do. Here's what to learn, now go home and figure out how to learn it. I'm not gonna tell you how to learn it, the most important part, I'm just going to tell you what to learn. Maybe try this or try that.

[00:15:57] No, this is how it works, do this, then do this, then do that, then try this. That's not what's out there. So we have these mystery areas, and we've come up with a mystery word. It has no real definition other than describing what it looks like, and that's talent. No one's ever been able to find what that elusive element in the brain is.

[00:16:17] People theorize, no one's ever, what we have found is a specific type of work called deliberate practice. And so we just live, and I'm speaking from experience, we live with these big mistakes. I went, I have a master's degree in classical guitar performance. I should have been one of the better guitarists on the planet,

[00:16:33] not even close. I could do eighty percent of what I did pretty darn well, but what y'all are going to remember is the twenty percent of crap when you go. No one pays for a concert ticket to go here if someone played with twenty percent errors and watching it fall apart, that's not the magic of the music. And so this is occurring with almost everyone, anyone who has played music. And you don't have to be a classical musician, go ahead.

[00:16:55] I know what some of you have been through if you're doing this musicwise, you're, you've been working for three months to get together to play that Fleetwood Mac tune at a coffee house and you show up and what happens? Stage fright. But you know what? Stage fright, for the most part, doesn't cause errors. Errors cause stage fright. And we think we played it better at home, but

[00:17:16] Ed Watters: Ahh.

[00:17:16] Gregg Goodhart: we didn't, we didn't reflect, we don't know. Uh, unless you have social anxiety disorder, if you think you have social anxiety disorder, please see, see someone for, for an evaluation and professional help. But we could talk a lot about stage fright, I've written a whole supplement about that to my, my practicing manual. About how, it is, for most people, the, the, the, numbers in music, for decades being a music teacher talking to many music teachers trade, is pretty much 100 percent for stage fright in music students. And even professionals will have it but that's a different kind of stage fright.

[00:17:52] Why, when social anxiety disorder shows that fifteen percent in the general population, do we have ninety-five percent music? It's because we have, so I digress. And so we have these problems that never go away. I show up in a practice class and I say, You're not here to, you know, impress me with all your good stuff. The ninety percent you can do well, good for you.

[00:18:14] I'm here to fix the ten percent that you feel makes you look foolish, and you're right. Because I know, I've been there. And so we sit there and we work on them and we take things that, and I have a video called, What Is a Practice Class? If you search that, you should be able to find it. Where people who

[00:18:31] literally just played their, you know, final concert of the year, solo thing, where you've been working on it for eight months and still screw stuff up. Three days later I'll see them after the year's over and I'm in doing one of my summer workshops or something, they fixed it in twenty minutes, twenty minutes. And it's at tempo and it sounds great. And if it can be,

[00:18:51] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:18:51] Gregg Goodhart: and the whole point of a practice class is, if that can be done mechanically with a process, then what else is possible? It's my small way of disproving the great, I don't want to say myth, but the great misunderstanding of talent.

[00:19:07] Ed Watters: Yeah. Well, you know, it all boils down to putting the hard work in. And that's why a lot of people don't get good. They just want to get by. And I can tell you, I've, I've put time in on many different subjects. And even being classified as a master service technician, I wasn't a master, you know, I put the time in, you know, I, I can hear it, I know what it is. And I just do it because of putting the hours in behind doing it.

[00:19:49] You can feel it, you can hear it, it just happens. And that's really what a master is. And when you are [00:20:00] a master, you're still learning everyday. You're trying to tighten it up here, you know, fix it here,

[00:20:08] Gregg Goodhart: Reflect.

[00:20:09] Ed Watters: you know, tweak it. Reflect, exactly. I love it. So, it, it does transfer to every aspect of our lives, how we, the training, uh, ask a Navy SEAL during a tight, hard time, they're going to reflect to their training and that's what they go with. It, it's not second guessing, that's not the time to second guess, it's time to do. So, the second guess part is that training and that's where you get good. You try, you reflect and yeah, you suck until you hone that skill. So, and if, if we get smoke blown up our backside a lot of the times, because you get told you're good when no, you're fair, you're okay. So owning up to that,

[00:21:07] Gregg Goodhart: So damaging.

[00:21:07] Ed Watters: Yes, it is.

[00:21:09] Gregg Goodhart: Yes, it is.

[00:21:10] Ed Watters: It is. I, I believe that a hundred percent. And if you own up to not putting the time in, I didn't, I didn't study well to do this and I'm not going to perform well. You know that going into it. Like you just stated, that's where the nerves come. Oh God, I didn't, I should have done, and I do it still today. You know, if I'm not proper prior planning, it's not gonna prevent my piss poor performance.

[00:21:41] Gregg Goodhart: That's right.

[00:21:41] Ed Watters: So that's the seven Ps, proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

[00:21:48] Gregg Goodhart: But there's a misunderstanding as to what the word try means. People think try means doing something unpleasant for hours and somehow then you're going to work towards mastery. There's something in the research called the experience trap and studies have been done where they, uh, like the particular one I'm referring to is from the great, great book I recommend everybody read called, Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin.

[00:22:11] It is amazing. It's what opened a lot for me. I had been, you know, figuring this stuff out. And then when I saw that, that opened the avenue of research for me. And they talk about, um, uh, x ray techs reading scans. And they found that ones earlier in their career could find more instances of cancer that were there than people later in their career, yet they have more experience.

[00:22:35] If you do your job and don't reflect and don't try to get better, you will start doing things, you will just start overlooking things and not paying attention. What you were talking about earlier is, you just do, you're talking about automatizing skills. At some point, and there's actually fMRI images of a brain automatizing skill.

[00:22:54] You can see how it's all lit up and then it finds the place where it's automatized. Do we use ten percent of our brains? Actually more when we're learning because it's confusion and less once we figure it out. But, but the, and the brain craves automatized stuff because it wants to conserve energy because the brain can't store energy. So what most people think, especially in kids is laziness, it's actually conservation of energy. Why should I work this hard on this homework assignment when I can go to Google and get the answers? Okay. It's, it's a matter of the brain

[00:23:24] Ed Watters: Interesting.

[00:23:25] Gregg Goodhart: trying, oh, I got a whole story about that too, um, which, which shortcuts your learning. It gets you a good grade on your homework, but it shortcuts your learning. So what, so this whole experience trap idea, and you're talking about putting in the hours, absolutely. But a lot of people, I can't tell you how many, so many people get up on stage, myself included, after hundreds and hundreds of hours of practice, and it still doesn't work. What happened? We were putting in the time. You just, must not have a talent for that. And what it really is are all of these elements that I've been talking about. In fact, you just brought up one of them, that, don't tell people they did a good job when they didn't do a good job.

[00:24:02] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:24:02] Gregg Goodhart: Okay? Don't try to make them feel, you know, you know, how you feel good doing a good job. There is a whole field of study that is largely ignored. And when it's not, it's become a feel good trope. And the education system used, which it, and it's called mindset. Carol Dweck is the researcher. Three decades plus of her research in a book called, just called, Mindset. Um, she's at Stanford. And, first thing is, that she identifies, well, without getting too complicated,

[00:24:31] why are we upset when we make mistakes? Why does it make us want to quit? How is that going to get us better? A mistake is a golden piece of information. Stop. Why did I make the mistake? What could I do to fix it? If I don't know, ask a more knowledgeable other, someone who knows more. And in this day, on the internet, you know, if you, I mean, you can't believe everyone, of course, but you can find a good Facebook group for just about anything.

[00:25:01] And get some decent information if you just can't figure something out. Or, forbid, you actually have to pay for some teaching and go get someone to teach you to figure this stuff out. It's much easier to get answers nowadays for this sort of stuff than it was, I mean, when I was your age, I was the same exact age as you are right now,

[00:25:19] so it's a lot easier to get better at stuff nowadays than it used to be. But we have so much information that we think we're doing it right. How many times have we gotten advice and we do some of it and it doesn't work? And so we don't do it. No, you got to follow directions exactly right. So the whole idea of mindset, well, it's a lot more than this, but the whole idea of mindset is, mistakes are our friends,

[00:25:41] there's no reason to be upset. You do not need to keep your designation of talent amongst your peers by performing well all the time if you want to get better. That will totally stunt your performance wherever you're at. What you want to do is, is make as many mistakes as you can. That is, start challenging yourself to higher levels.

[00:25:59] Dweck did a study, at least one time on this, and I think there's more, um, where she gave, uh, a moderately difficult puzzle to two groups of kids. I think about middle school age, I can't remember exactly. This is in the book. And they both figured it out with a little bit of work. And one group was told, You're so talented, that's just magical, you have such a gift.

[00:26:18] And another group was told, You worked hard and figured that out. You're getting smarter every time you do that. Yeah, it was hard. Yeah, you made mistakes, but you figured it out. Then when offered an opportunity to do a more difficult puzzle, less people, significantly less people from the talent group took the challenge.

[00:26:35] And what she found was, it's because people are afraid of jeopardizing their designation of talent amongst their peer group. If you go onto that higher thing, you're going to look worse. That's what learning looks like. Learning does not look like success, that's what learning looks like when it's finished.

[00:26:51] The act of learning looks like failure after failure and learning opportunity. So if we think mistakes are somehow a comment on who we are as a person, if we're embarrassed, make them, game over. And you can teach someone this, you don't just tell them. It's called a growth mindset, you believe you can get better.

[00:27:09] You don't look at any challenge and say, I just can't do that. You believe that you can get better. And the other is called a fixed mindset, you're given a certain amount of ability and talent at birth. Maybe you can do a little bit better if you work really hard, but you basically have a limit. And the research so far is really clear,

[00:27:26] that doesn't seem to really exist for anything or anyone with the exception of physical size. And that's even less than most people think that it is. And I'll finish this thing on mindset. So look into mindset, folks, teach your kids, mindset. We should be teaching this in school from the very beginning.

[00:27:42] Every time you ask a question as a teacher, every teacher knows this and we've all been in class so we know this too, so class, what's the answer to **********? A couple people go, Well, what is that? If you know that you should either know the answer or not know the answer? And why are you embarrassed?

[00:28:02] Well, all the other kids aren't even raising their hand. That's, we shouldn't have that at all. Everyone should be willing to make mistakes here. Others make mistakes, correct them, make mistakes themselves, get corrected. That's the only way it works. And well, you know, be nice to the kids, they can't handle it.

[00:28:17] Then that's your fault that they can't handle it. They should be taught from the very beginning, mistakes are nothing to be embarrassed about. And it's more than just a philosophy, you actually teach this. I have a, something, a document that, a group of documents I saw, one of them is how to teach mindset.

[00:28:33] Every time you notice someone getting frustrated from mistakes, you say, You're in the right place. And by the way, usually we want to do things to specifically create mistakes like contextual interference and retrieval practice. So when they're making mistakes and want to quit, you say, No, no, no. Then what happens is, it works.

[00:28:49] And then when it works, that's what's great about the practice class. And all of a sudden you can do something you never thought you could do before. All of the adults or whoever it is teaching you, all the people saying, Oh, don't worry, this works. I did it. Trust me, do it the same way. All of the things you say doesn't, don't matter.

[00:29:04] What the student can do, or the person, and I've done this with people literally in their eighties and kids as young as five, what you feel in here, oh my gosh, I can do things that are far beyond anything I ever thought, and look, there's a method for it. I wonder how much more there is. That is what a growth mindset is.

[00:29:25] It has been watered down in school, growth mindset. So everyone wants to teach growth mindset, everyone wants to encourage. It has been watered down into a feel good trope in which we tell kids, who have not studied well, You're great. You're going to be fine. Even if you do poorly on this test, it's okay because mistakes don't matter.

[00:29:42] No, on tests, mistakes matter a lot. It's all the things leading up to the test, and every performance is a test. I don't care what it is, business, every, every test is a performance, every performance is a test. You can't do phony encouragement. There's a, there's a book called, um, which is way [00:30:00] off subject, but it's called The Knowledge Gap.

[00:30:01] It's about reading and how reading is taught at school. And there's a vignette in the book about where kids go for their state testing and it's state testing day. And there's a little chain made of like little paper cuffs. And it says, everyone's, everyone's name on it, We're a strong chain that supports each other

[00:30:17] so we're not afraid of the test. What the heck is that? You don't need encouragement walking into the test. And you don't need growth mindset encouragement walking into the test. You know you've got it and you know you've got it because you've done pre tests which show you got it. And then after a couple of tests, guess what happens when you get ninety-eight%?

[00:30:36] You only lost the two percent because of a dumb mistake. You didn't read something thoroughly. But what happens when you start getting ninety-eights on a regular basis? You start to expect it. You know, if I do this work, I get this result. That's a growth mindset, not some pat on the back, feel good trope.

[00:30:54] Ed Watters: Yeah. And, and, you know, to add to that a little bit, when, when you falsely tell somebody you're doing good when they're not, you're actually, their emotional intelligence level sinks. And you are,

[00:31:13] Gregg Goodhart: I never thought about it that way.

[00:31:14] Ed Watters: You are, yes, it does. It, and then, then you expect others to treat you in that same fashion. And then in the real world, that's where we get those problems. And it's the same thing as what you just said. So I, I really think what you're doing is great and

[00:31:37] Gregg Goodhart: Thanks.

[00:31:37] Ed Watters: a lot of people don't slow down enough to think about the process.

[00:31:42] Gregg Goodhart: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. There's a whole book about this by Daniel Kahneman called, Thinking Fast and Slow. He's a Nobel Prize winning researcher. Um, he calls it System one and System two thinking. And he's not one of these guru guys, he is a mathematical, you know, Moses stuff. There was a movie about him and his partner, Amos Tversky, that came out a couple years ago,

[00:32:04] he's the real deal. Thinking Fast and Slow. You're right about slowing down. And on the, and I know you're talking about, on the, this one's so good, if you want to see something that's poignant, funny, and tragic at the same time, and you will laugh your head off, there's a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2013 called You Can Do Anything.

[00:32:23] And it illustrates exactly what you were just talking about with injuring someone's emotional level or emotional intelligence. Um, you will, it's probably about three or four minutes long for anyone out there. It's TV 14. There is one swear word in the sketch, but that's it. That's why I have trouble showing it at my, some of my school things. Um, but we've, spend the three minutes or so watching it, you'll, you'll, you'll laugh so hard, you'll cry. And then you'll cry because it's true.

[00:32:51] Ed Watters: Yes, and unfortunately, that's, that's where the world is today.

[00:32:57] Gregg Goodhart: Someone's gotta fix that.

[00:32:58] Ed Watters: We need more of this. That's right. And if we don't talk truth

[00:33:03] Gregg Goodhart: Yep.

[00:33:03] Ed Watters: and understand, we don't have to be perfect. But if we try to be perfect and we look every day to improve, the world's going to be a better place just by doing that.

[00:33:17] Gregg Goodhart: 100 percent.

[00:33:17] Ed Watters: And by, by being lazy and saying, Well, I don't have to, let them, they do it better. That's not the mindset to have and that goes back to that mindset.

[00:33:32] Gregg Goodhart: Yep.

[00:33:32] Ed Watters: So what, what we feed ourselves is what we're going to feed the world.

[00:33:37] Gregg Goodhart: Yep.

[00:33:37] Ed Watters: And if, if you're going to surround yourself with people that are feeding you garbage, that's what you're

[00:33:44] Gregg Goodhart: Garbage in, garbage out.

[00:33:45] Ed Watters: going to be. Garbage in, garbage out. And that's a hard lesson to learn, but it's so true. And that's coming from a background of very difficult times and learning and having to pull myself out of that gutter. And know, people will try to hold you down.

[00:34:06] Gregg Goodhart: Yeah.

[00:34:06] Ed Watters: You have to say, No, I want better than that. And that's what life truly is.

[00:34:14] Gregg Goodhart: Yeah. A few little mindset lessons in first grade, and a few lessons

[00:34:18] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:34:19] Gregg Goodhart: in practice, and a few lessons on contextual interference. And a few, just a little, and then a little more in second grade. And then a little more in third, where it was infused into the system. But our schools of education and schools of cognitive science are siloed from each other. They do not work together. That's a whole other area

[00:34:41] Ed Watters: interesting.

[00:34:41] Gregg Goodhart: in my book that's going to be a whole chapter. It's, it's pitiful. Researchers,

[00:34:47] Ed Watters: I've heard,

[00:34:49] Gregg Goodhart: Go ahead.

[00:34:49] Ed Watters: I've heard so many people say that the learning institution, K through 12 anyway, needs to be rediscovered, relearned, and rewritten. I think that's so true.

[00:35:06] Gregg Goodhart: How many times do we reform the

[00:35:07] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:35:07] Gregg Goodhart: system? No Child Left Behind, Race to The Top, whatever they're doing now, uh, Common Core, which, which actually, Common Core has some decent things in it, which is why people hate it, if you're gonna do it right. But if you explain it correctly, if you do it right and don't explain it correctly, then that's gonna be a problem. But we've been trying to reform this stuff forever, and people ignore the cognitive science. And so researchers don't know how to speak teacher, even though they think they do. And teachers do not have the time or the training to evaluate the research properly, even though they think they do.

[00:35:39] And so you end up with this wide open area. I'm talking about this gap in which I, which I, which first I say is very lonely. There aren't a lot of people there and it's also the wild west. Anyone who's figured out a little bit will go out and say, I figured it out and I know how to do this or that. It really, you really have to humble yourself,

[00:35:55] there's a lot to it. Can't tell you how many times I found out I was, I want to say I was wrong. I wasn't wrong, I was using the best thing I knew at the time. All I did was find something that was better. And maybe there's better stuff than I've already found, I'm always on the lookout for it.

[00:36:14] Ed Watters: Well, you've got to be. Uh, that's, that's part of life. And if, if you really, truly care about life, you'll be aware. And

[00:36:23] Gregg Goodhart: And if you're changing tires,

[00:36:23] Ed Watters: being aware,

[00:36:24] Gregg Goodhart: you should care about what you do more than anything else on

[00:36:27] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:36:27] Gregg Goodhart: the list. You have

[00:36:28] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:36:28] Gregg Goodhart: another person's life in your hands.

[00:36:31] Ed Watters: That's right. That's right.

[00:36:33] Gregg Goodhart: I always took that

[00:36:33] Ed Watters: And, and

[00:36:34] Gregg Goodhart: very, very seriously.

[00:36:35] Ed Watters: The, the younger they are, the more of a sponge they are too. And you never know when or where they're looking on. So that mindset of being aware of your persona, who you are, being centered with yourself at all times, it's very difficult and something to walk. And that's why a lot of people don't walk like that. So,

[00:37:04] Gregg Goodhart: And I think, and I think it's an easy sell, even in a polarized society. I'm not telling you what to learn, I'm not telling you to learn this fact or that fact. I'm telling you how to find facts, do critical thinking. I'm telling you, if someone says, This is what you need to do, if that's in your worst interest, I can't tell you, I can't be with you every lesson. But I can tell you the best way to learn to do it.

[00:37:27] The best way to not be in your best interest is, but it's how, how you go about learning it. And that could be any, you could want to teach anything. You could have two people over here totally disagreeing. This is what we should teach in school, or this is what we should teach in school. But if you want them to learn this, it works the same way as wanting them to learn this. It doesn't matter what the subject is. I'm fond of saying, You can use this for good or for evil. Please don't use it

[00:37:50] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:37:51] Gregg Goodhart: for evil.

[00:37:52] Ed Watters: Yeah, exactly. You know, it's a fascinating thing and more people need to start talking about it. So when we talk about it, things get churning and action happens. That's how we change the world by talking and spreading good news, it's part of what we do. Gregg, do you have a call to action for our listeners today?

[00:38:19] Gregg Goodhart: Well, you know, I do have some, this is very interesting. So as I started to want to do the podcast thing, I was really surprised by the response level of general non music, right? Teaching podcast. Like, wow, you could do, I've always thought this way, I just didn't think as many people like yourself, congratulations for noticing what this stuff is, would start to figure it out. And I started going, Oh my gosh, my website is, I got a part for academics, a part for sports, but all my, you know, lead magnet and all that stuff, for those of you who do marketing, is geared towards music.

[00:38:50] So I say, Go to my general website,, there's a whole thing on my teaching philosophy. Which has no, it could be music, it could be tiddlywinks. It doesn't matter what it is, this is how you go about it. And within a matter of days, because I've been working on it, there's going to be a waiting list that goes up to get a free chapter of my book as soon as I'm done with that chapter.

[00:39:14] And then I am writing a general learning book, kind of for everybody. So that's my next thing there. If you're a musician, oh yeah, go to, uh, uh, just go to my website and, you know, click learn more. It'll take you right to a freebie, which will, if you have those problems or you've been working on something for a long time, I don't care if it's, uh, you know, playing bass for a Beatles cover band, or if you're getting a master's degree in music, it'll walk you through a couple of steps that will allow you to see your own power and get it done. And then you can go from there.

[00:39:48] Ed Watters: It's amazing. The content and resources that you have on your website,

[00:39:53] Gregg Goodhart: Thank you.

[00:39:53] Ed Watters: it's kind of awesome. And I say, Thank you for having that for people. [00:40:00] And most of all, thank you for sharing with us today here on the Dead America podcast.

[00:40:05] Gregg Goodhart: Thank you for having me. It's been great to talk to you, it really has. You're awesome.

[00:40:09] Ed Watters: Yes. And, and one more thing before I let you go, how can people, what is the best way to get ahold of you to get on a podcast, or talk, or just hook up with you?

[00:40:22] Gregg Goodhart: Uh, there's a contact on my website that goes directly to me. I get those emails, um, through the contact. And so I, you know, get back to people. So, you know, send an email, I love talking about this stuff. There's nothing more fun than I can think to do, it's my, it's my passion.

[00:40:41] Ed Watters: Great. Thank you, Gregg. You enjoy your afternoon.

[00:40:45] Gregg Goodhart: Thank you so much. You too.

[00:40:51] Ed Watters: Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I'm Ed Watters, your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.