With so many students vying for admission to the most prestigious schools and limited scholarship funds, competition in the classroom can be just as fierce as on the playing field. Grades, standardized tests, and admission interviews are just a few of the pressures faced by those whose primary performance domain is academics. While many principles and techniques from sport psychology are transferable to the academic setting, there are also some important differences with respect to the successful learning and execution of cognitive tasks as opposed to motor tasks.
THE RIPE MINDSET
Ripe Minds has distilled over four decades of research into a comprehensive, detailed framework that can help students from elementary school through graduate school in their quest to realize their full potential and perform their best when it matters most.
The Preparation Mindset involves the mental attitudes and approaches that are most conducive to attaining a high standard of performance excellence. Everyone wants to go to the best schools and be among the best in their field. However, by definition, only a select few can be designated “elite.” In addition to the right combination of nature and nurture (i.e. inherent talent and environmental supports), the development of expertise involves sustained effort over time, often in the face of obstacles and setbacks. Only those who are willing to relentlessly push the limits of their capacities will be able to distinguish themselves from the crowd and reach the elite level. This sort of commitment requires certain mental qualities such as vision, mindfulness, confidence, optimism, discipline, and resilience. These are the mental habits of champions, and they can be developed through instruction and practice just like physical skills.
The Performance Mindset involves the mental skills and processes that allow individuals to deliver an already established standard of performance when under the pressure of high-stakes testing or admissions interviews. Let's face the facts. When it comes to college admissions, grades and test scores matter. Admissions officers don't care how hard you have tried, how much you have studied, or even how much you know. What matters in this context is whether or not you have the scores that demonstrate an ability to demonstrate your knowledge under the pressure of timed exams. Along with testing, admissions interviews provide yet another pressure-packed scenario in which you have only a single opportunity to put your best self forward. Performing optimally under such pressure requires the development of mental skills aimed at regulating arousal, attention, and emotion.
As a lifelong math teacher, Ripe Minds founder Dr. Dave has special expertise in helping students who struggle with math anxiety or who tend to underperform in testing situations. Recent research in educational psychology has revealed important insights into the factors contributing to math anxiety as well as simple strategies that can help mitigate its effects. Dr. Dave has given talks summarizing this research at national math education conferences (NCTM, AMTE) and has written an online professional development course designed to help teachers with Understanding and Combating Students’ Math Anxiety. Put Dr. Dave's expertise to work to help you or your child develop and demonstrate mathematical fluency without being undermined by anxiety.
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