Student Well-Being Opinion

Pokemon Go Helps Teachers Develop a Growth Mindset

By Starr Sackstein — December 28, 2016 2 min read
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“This one isn’t as rare as a Snorlax,” my son tutored me. “That one is very special and hard to get and is also a very good fighter.”

“But he doesn’t look very scary, why is he such a good fighter?”

“Because he can take a beating and not die quickly. But it isn’t just the CP that matters, it’s also the HP.”

“What is that?”

Although the craze started in July, I wasn’t on board until late September when my son became very involved playing Pokemon Go and he was a very good teacher.

The first time he handed me the phone to catch something easy, I couldn’t even throw the ball in the right direction. I was a little embarassed and didn’t want to try again.

But he insisted.

So I kept trying.

As I kept trying, my son coached me on how to do it better. He would take the phone from my hands and show me, over and over again until I started getting better at it.

And indeed I got better. I played with him and without him because I wanted him to want to play with me more.

Once I got better at catching the pokemon, there were other things to learn.

Logan wanted me to start fighting in gyms, but I was afraid I’d be bad. I didn’t know how, so I avoided it.

Does this behavior sound familiar?

Much like with technology, my learning curve for Pokemon Go has been great. At first, I was vehemently afraid to try things I didn’t understand. What if I looked stupid? What if I didn’t ge it? What if I was bad at it?

Better to not try, right?


With a great deal of practice, just like with everything, I have become quite good at Pokemon Go. Logan is proud to take me out among his 11 year old friends (which quite a feet). Not too many moms get to be that mom that all the boys in the neighborhood wish was their mom.

Pokemon Go has gotten us off the couch and walking for miles without complaint. We visit parks all over the Long Island and talk about everything.

Logan continues to teach me about the game and share about his life and I do the same and we play together. Turns out I really enjoy playing.

Just yesterday, another mom, her son and Logan and I drove all over Long Island playing together, taking over gyms and getting exercise. In addition to playing, I’ve joined a group on Facebook to learn more. The more I played with Logan the better I wanted to get.

So I did research. I read. I asked questions and I listened. I shared the information I got with my son, so he could learn more too.

And just this morning, a little more than a month since I got my own account, Logan declared “You’re so good now! You’re better than I am. I like when we used to play on the same account.”

“Well I had an awesome teacher. I am your protege! We always want our students to succeed. Thank you.”

“But I"m not a teacher, you are.”

“Yes, but for Pokemon Go, you are my teacher and I love playing with you.”

Next up he will have to teach me X-Box One since I got it for him for Chanukah. Admittedly, the controllers scare me a little. They have a lot of buttons. It’s intimidating. But if I want to connect with my son (or students) I have to meet him where he is.

Technology, gaming and all the new things happening in the world are great opportunities for us all to grow. We can’t worry about being bad at something, we need to keep trying and practicing. That’s how we grow.

What new things will you try in the new year to meet your students or children where they are? Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.