One of the most important skills you can teach is a growth mindset in children. A growth mindset helps you achieve more in less time by stripping away the obstacles which hold you back. First, a definition: Growth Mindset – The belief that your potential for learning is virtually unlimited and that you should never accept “limits” as valid merely because they are valid for someone else.
In every area of your life, it will serve you well. I believe it is one of the most powerful skills you can develop. Many people think intelligence is the key to success. But, I do not subscribe to this line of thinking. If you don’t have a growth mindset, it’s difficult to achieve sustained success. Intelligence simply isn’t enough on its own.
Properly Use Praise
When you are fostering a growth mindset in children keep in mind, it is more than just having an open mind and accepting feedback. It involves coming up with strategies for improvement and continued growth. Caution should be used when providing praise. Praise that encourages a growth mindset based on effort is beneficial. Praise that focuses on the end result is counter-productive. “You should be a cartoonist because you are so good at drawing!” Is an example of this type of praise. Counterproductive praise can cause a child to have an inflated view of their abilities, which can lead to a lowered self-esteem. Praise for the effort one puts into something is different from praise for the outcome.
Help Students Develop a Growth Mindset in The Classroom
Students with a growth mindset think their abilities will grow over time. A fixed mindset is the belief is that intelligence and talents are static. The majority of teachers believe that integrating a growth mindset will improve student learning. Integrating lessons that cover and encourage it in your teaching will improve your students’ performance and attitude towards learning. They will be eager to learn new things. They will begin to enjoy solving challenges, rather than being stopped by problems.
A more confident, well-rounded student is the goal when teaching a growth mindset in children.
10 Ways to Promote a Growth Mindset in Children
1. Praise Students for Planning and Trying
It is more than just telling students to keep trying. It is about having them compare their effort to their plans and measuring the successfulness their attempts. Get involved and engaged, complement their creativity and give them valuable feedback, rather than just empty praise.
2. Vary Your Teaching Strategies
By changing the methods of teaching for different lessons you illustrate to students that you acknowledge that there are different styles of learning. You put a value on the different learning and teaching styles. This will reach different students and show them that even though they may learn to think differently, they are no less valuable or important. It also sends the message that doing things in ways that are out of the ordinary is not just acceptable, but beneficial.
3. Make Learning Fun – Turn it into a Game
Quite simply games are more fun than chores. So make assignments, quizzes, and tests into game-like challenges. Life does not have to be hard or boring. It is very dependent on your thinking. So change your thinking as well as the thinking of the students. Besides just grading things, try giving XP (experience points) and create levels for students (characters) to achieve. Fostering a growth mindset in children is easier when you ask, what would a child like?
4. Challenges vs Problems or Work
Discovering ways to overcome something is far more appealing to students and adults alike than is facing a problem. Change your use of words and change the perspective of the children. I have stopped using the terms “schoolwork and homework” in my class. Both bring up negative emotions for me, so I figured it probably does for my students as well. I have replaced them with the terms “in-class and out-of-class challenges and assignments”. Shockingly, students do not have near as much trouble getting the work done when I call it this.
5. Encourage Students to Elaborate their Answers
When you have a student quickly answer a question, have them elaborate or expand on their answer. This will show areas of misunderstanding or confusion. Often students memorize answers rather than understand the concepts. Having them dig deeper and expound on what they said deepens their understanding and shows the value of using critical thinking. It takes effort and this will promote the idea that the effort is worth it.
6. Explain the Real World Purposes of Abstract Skills and Concepts
Students will gain a deeper understanding of what it means to have a growth mindset if you help them understand how to use the concepts being taught in class. Most students have a burning desire to understand the why of things. Help them by illustrating the purpose of the concepts being gone over in the lessons. This will deepen their understanding of the ideas.
7. Teach Goal Setting in a Journal
The best way to demonstrate the power of goal setting is to use a journal. There are several reasons for this. The first is by writing down their goals they can measure their progress and accomplishment of the goal. Second, writing down goals makes them real. It brings them from abstract thought into concrete idea form by making them define and construct their goal on paper.
8. Teach the Power of the Word “Yet”
The word YET is powerful in that it changes a failure statement into one of possibility. If you say “I can’t accomplish the goal yet”, it is far more positive and full of hope than the statement ‘I can’t accomplish the goal.” One very easy way to teach the concept is to use the word yet much more yourself. By saying it, students will begin to see and feel the difference the addition of the word makes.
9. Help Students Change their Language
Help students use and practice using growth language. Have them restate what they say using language with more promise. Rather than say, I tried and that’s it. Help them restate it to something more like: “I tried a simple approach and it didn’t work as well as I hoped, but there might be another way of trying this”. The use of language will determine their involvement in life. Help them discover and develop growth language.
10. Use Success Folders
I suggest using the goal journals for this, but in lieu of those, success folders can be a great way to keep track of students’ accomplishments throughout the school year or semester. Even a quick review of the folders and past successes can change the perspective of students when they are about to be asked to solve another challenge. Studies show that taking a few minutes to review wins before a difficult task can increase the motivation and effort spent on the task.
How to Get a Better, Stronger, and More Confident Mind
Confidence is critical when teaching a growth mindset in children. Developing confidence and a positive self-view is one of the skills of mental toughness. It’s a good idea to take time to imagine success. Instead of just thinking about what you want, actually, see it in your mind’s eye. Do you want to feel more comfortable speaking in groups? Take a mental picture of yourself talking in front of a group of people. Picture them engrossed by what you are saying, picture yourself relaxed and focused on the topic of discussion. You have to feel what it would be like to not be focused on yourself while speaking to others. By changing your mental picture of the interaction, you can change the way you think about it and grow more confident.
Get Your Mindset Right First, Then Help Others
If you are tired of working so hard to help create a growth mindset in children, you may need some help with your own. Are you tired of feeling beat up at the end of the day…? Are you feeling like there is something holding you back from reaching the level of success you know you should have reached by now…? Do you hear a little voice tell you you can’t do something, or that you aren’t good enough…or smart enough…?
These challenges and how to overcome them are the topics that I’m going to tackle in my free upcoming 3-Day Workshop on how to identify and modify your perception. Join me and I’ll share with you my experience; together with a lot of actionable tips, that can help you improve your self-image and confidence right away.
Sign up using this link now: FREE 3-DAY PERCEPTION WORKSHOP