Growth mindset refers to a theory developed by psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck. A growth mindset allows for the belief that intelligence, ability and performance can grow and increase if the required effort and persistence is put in.
This is the exact opposite of a fixed mindset, which holds the view that your ability is set in stone and somehow predetermined, regardless of effort; which of course is both untrue and destructive.
A growth mindset encourages students to try and learn from their setbacks, embracing them with optimism. When they fail at something, they know they can use it to their advantage and don’t easily give up. Growth mindset promotes go-getters and positive attitudes, which is what every teacher hopes to see in all their students.
Students should be given clear, concise steps to achieve a goal. By attempting smaller challenges frequently leading up to the larger goal, they will gain a feeling of success and accomplishment.
Developing a growth mindset requires facing challenges and learning how to overcome them. It is important for students to understand that facing new challenges is hard for everyone, but sticking with something and trying new ways to approach the task, will eventually lead to success.
Students should be encouraged to take on challenges, as outlined above. When they fail to complete a task or make mistakes, encourage them to understand where they went wrong, and to try new learning methods so they will eventually get there, instead of giving up. Viewing failure as a chance to learn will encourage children to gain confidence and grow.
It’s important for students to not have limited beliefs; they should understand that although learning new things doesn’t come easy, they will get there if they put in the effort and persevere. Change the dialect from “I can’t do this” to “I can’t do this YET”. Examine new ways of working things out, rather than giving up at the first hurdle.
We can all learn something from others about what we are doing right or wrong. Understanding the value of constructive criticism is vital for success. Children may be very sensitive and find it difficult to take constructive criticism on board, so it’s important to be mindful of this and deliver constructive criticism in a kind, meaningful way.