As big of a topic as it is, it’s not always clear how to teach our students how to adopt a growth mindset. So what are effective ways to promote growth mindset in the classroom?
Read on to learn five concrete and applicable growth mindset strategies to take your students from having a fixed mindset to a growth mindset!
First off, what is growth mindset? Simply, according to Carol Dweck, author of the super informative book Mindset, “in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
A proven way to teach growth mindset is to use the right vocabulary as teachers to prepare our students for challenges by framing learning for them.
For example, before giving our students a certain task or worksheet in the classroom, we can say something like, “What I’m about to teach you isn’t to see if you’re good or bad at something, it’s to challenge you so your brain works hard and therefore, grow.”, or “Ok, I’m going to give you a big challenge and it’s not going to be easy, but when we struggle, that means we’re growing our brain and learning something new.” Repeating this each time you give your students an academic challenge in the classroom will help them realise that they are capable of anything and in turn, develop their growth mindset!
An affirmation is simply a simple phrase we repeat over and over again until we start to believe it. We can easily work in affirmations in our daily classroom routines as we teach in our online mindfulness program for the classroom, Educalme.
For example, if a student says something like “I’m not good at math”, or “I’ll never understand this math problem”, we can create an affirmation with them like “I am developing my math skills” and practice repeating it a few times every day as we start math class.
One affirmation that’s more general than the example above that we absolutely love is the following (grab your free poster to put up in your classroom!):
Less red pen all over your students’ work is better. Make time in your daily schedule to meet one-on-one with a few students to coach them on their work instead of correcting the errors for them. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! Growth Mindset is about the journey, not about what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”.
For example, when students write a text of any sort, meet with them to first celebrate what they’re doing well in their writing, then to talk about what needs to be worked on. Spin what needs to be worked on in a positive and constructive way. This will help them to see that they are always learning and improving, which will help them develop their growth mindset!
There are many, many resources out there to explicitly teach students what growth mindset actually means! If they understand growth mindset vs. fixed mindset is, they are much more likely to adopt the right mindset that will help them grow.
Start by explaining to your students that when you are learning something new, their brains are actually growing and changing because they are developing new neural pathways. That’s why it isn’t easy to learn something new – Our brains have to use up a lot of energy to learn! But when they learn new things, they are becoming more resilient, and are proving to themselves that they can learn anything which will help them in their life path to take on challenges and do what they love!
A growth mindset is much easier to acquire if we have developed our self-awareness. Why? Because when we are more self-aware, we can recognize what our perspectives and mindsets actually are, and then deliberately change them to something that suits us better.
We believe the best way to become more self-aware is to practice mindfulness. Through the practice of mindfulness, we come to understand our emotions, thoughts and perspectives, which helps us to understand our mindsets. With your students, try a daily 5 minute mindfulness practice to help them become aware of their mindsets. We have the tools to get you and your students there with our online classroom mindfulness program!
Try out our Educalme free trial and be sure to put the poster up in your classroom and to repeat it with your students each day to help them grow and develop their mindset! With a growth mindset, your students will thrive in and out of the classroom!
Check out Carol Dweck’s book Mindset
Check out Michael Roussell’s podcast!
Let us know in the comments, how will you implement what you learned today?