The Power of YET!

How about a favorite word for one of my favorite things?  Does that count?  My new favorite word is...


Why?  And how does it apply to my classroom, teaching, and learning?

Last fall, in conjunction with our district's initiative of differentiation, several of us started studying and reflecting on Carol Dweck's mindset.  (I think we're a bit late on the mindset bandwagon, but at least we have started the conversation!)  During professional development, we introduced our faculty to the ideas of growth vs. fixed mindsets, several of us read her book Mindset: the New Psychology of Success, we created failure walls in our classrooms, we talked to our students about ways to overcome a fixed mindset (especially in math!) and our principal took our entire Instructional Leadership Team to see Dr. Dweck when she had a speaking engagement in town.

At Dr. Dweck's talk, she mentioned the "Power of Yet," and that was a light-bulb moment for me, and I immediately shared this concept with my students and our faculty. 

  • Student: I don't understand that example.  Me:  YET.  But let's try the the next one together to find your missing step.
  • Student: I don't know why I missed that question on the quiz.  Me:  YET.  Please ask your partner to help you work through it again since he answered it correctly.
  • Student: I don't get how to ____________  (fill in the blank with any appropriate topic).  Me: YET.  What can we do to help you understand?
  • Student: I don't have my problems finished...YET.  But I promise I'll get them to you first thing tomorrow.
  • Teacher: I don't think that instructional strategy will work for me.  Me: YET.  But let's change this one little piece to help it become a better fit for your teaching style and students.  Are you willing to try it now?
  • Me: I haven't started on the calendar or syllabus for either class.  My brain:  YET.  But you still have a little time and you know you'll have it ready for the first day of school.
  • Me: Once school gets into full swing, I don't know how I'll be able to keep up with the whole blog/twitter universe.  My brain:  YET.  You've already learned so much in the past few weeks, and people seem so willing to share.  You'll figure out how to make it work.
In my classroom, YET became a common phrase, and a few of my students even responded to a blog post about the power of yet in academics and sports.

I don't know if Carol Dweck coined the phrase "the power of YET," but after a quick Google search, it looks like the business world is all about YET, and I found these blogs in a long string of posts and videos:

Richard Bravo's blog: Positive Expectancy: the power of "yet"
Create What Matters Most: The Power of "Yet!" - Shift Focus, Create Results
Creative Life Changes: The Power of Yet

I am now all about this tiny word YET and its power.  I know it's not as fun to say as multiplicative, but it has become my favorite word.  Do you see its power, too?

Happy Friday!