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While school can be a fun and transformative experience for students of all ages there are certain challenges. Over the course of a student’s lifetime, as everyone is learning to read, speak and work with others, some will excel faster than others. Children will begin to develop a mindset that they can take on new challenges or that they are incapable of doing so based on their performance in school.
Here, we dive into what a growth mindset is, the value of instilling the belief that a young person can grow into who they want to be no matter the challenge ahead, and how you can help facilitate this mindset in the classroom.
High achievement isn’t simply natural ability and luck — a growth mindset is a belief that students who excel aren’t necessarily smarter or better than those who don’t but that they are not limited to what they already know. A fixed mindset believes that people are born with abilities that are set within them for life.
According to Forbes Coaches Council writer Svetlana Whitener, someone with a growth mindset takes feedback and uses it to improve, instead of dwelling on it. This person will continue to work towards their goal using creative solutions. They are in a constant state of evolving and working on, expanding, and honing their goals to reach new heights thought to be impossible.
Students with fixed mindsets will try to avoid situations that challenge what they believe are their weaknesses. If they need to participate they will give up quickly or insist they already know all of the answers. They will likely seem less confident in their ability to learn a new skill and feel as if they are only born with certain abilities that are fixed for the rest of their life.
Motivating a student with a fixed mindset might seem challenging but you can foster a growth mindset for all of your students with just a few approaches.
Everyone has the ability to learn and grow from their mistakes. For some, the capacity to interpret constructive criticism and leverage it was never taught to them. To combat these limitations, here are steps you can take in the classroom to help your students break out of their beliefs, grow their confidence and overcome challenges head-on.
1. Set micro-goals
Giving students small wins instead of focusing on big picture assignments can give them a sense of accomplishment. Whether this grows into a larger lesson at the end of a project, these micro-goals can build necessary confidence for fixed mindset students.
2. Encourage them to work through problems
Maybe the student didn’t get the answer right away. Instead of praising them for the effort they put in even though it was erroneous, ask them to attempt another way to arrive at the correct answer.
3. Normalize struggle
Solving problems is not always linear. Struggling to find the solution is part of the learning process for every student and should be encouraged. When this ideal is reinforced, students won’t be as intimidated by challenges or prone to self-doubt.
4. Avoid praising intelligence
Praising intelligence fosters the idea that some people have it and others don’t.
Your students all want to feel seen in the classroom. So, encourage your students to find creative solutions to problems and praise the outcome and the journey rather than their intelligence.
5. Develop collaborative exercises
Rather than fostering a competitive environment, develop an environment of collaboration in which students can showcase their unique skills without feeling compared to others. This will reinforce the process of learning rather than distracting students with a race to individual wins.
A growth mindset is necessary not just throughout schooling but in the workplace as well. These skills, developed over time, can build a generation of future leaders who are empathetic, bought into the process of learning, and empowered to learn at their own pace.
For more tips on how to enhance your classroom for your students, contact us today!