From Reality TV to Growth Mindset

During the school year, I don’t watch much TV, but I do indulge during the summer.
For those of us who love dance related of shows, World of Dance (WOD – the one with Jennifer Lopez) was an exciting new program this summer. The question among dance fans became – which is better – WOD or So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)?
Image result for quote about learning growing and changing
I gave WOD a few watches, but I didn’t love it, and I couldn’t figure out why.
The choreography was amazing.
The dancers were at the top of their genre.
The judges gave valuable, relevant, and well-thought out feedback.
Each piece of the show is excellent.
It took me awhile to pinpoint it, but I finally figured out that WOD doesn’t have my favorite element of SYTYCD growth.
In case you aren’t familiar with SYTYCD, here’s how it works:
In the beginning, dancers are experts in one style (jazz, animation, tap, etc). Over the course of the show, we see them forced out of their comfort zone, struggling with new, different, challenging work, and persevering over the struggle. They get feedback and use that to inform their future performances – they make changes, learn and grow. It’s visible and the best part of the show for me. 
This summer I’ve also enjoyed catching up on old seasons of Project Runway and Food Network Star. On all of these creative based reality competition shows, it’s not about the product (I’m vegan and not really into fashion), but I love to see how they tackle the problems, work (or struggle) together on teams, develop innovative solutions, and adapt to critique. When something doesn’t work, they try something else. It’s growth mindset in action.
It’s all of the things that school should be about but sometimes isn’t.
Schools should be places where kids want to be. Where they see the relevance of their work, and they want to do it.
We, as educators, must create space for this type of work, learning, and growth in our classrooms. They need to understand how the skills are transferable. 
If they can think creatively to solve this problem, here in our classroom – then they’ll be able to think creatively to solve some other problem we can’t even imagine yet in the future. We can’t practice solving that problem because we don’t know what it is, but we can help students get the tools they’ll need with the time comes.
How can we take the spirit of these shows and embed them in our curriculum? Share your ideas!

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