A concept which we have recently introduced to our school is growth mindset based on the work of Carol Dweck. We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning and asking questions. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort, persistence and positive attitudes to the frequent difficulties in the process of learning.
Have a look at this video for some information about how growth mindset works:
How does growth mindset work in reality?
A quote from Carol Dweck:
“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
This is important because (1) individuals with a “growth” theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals’ theories of intelligence can be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as “good job, you’re very smart” are much more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like “good job, you worked very hard” they are likely to develop a growth mindset. In other words, it is possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.”
People with a fixed mindset will only tackle things at which they are fairly certain they will succeed. People with a growth mindset will not only tackle any task, regardless of whether they believe they will succeed or not, but will feel excited by the challenge.
We can fix mindset through our language of praise:
Remember that you are the product of your upbringing and education and you may have been brought up with a fixed mindset yourself.
Ask yourself honestly:
Do I believe I won’t ever be good at something?
Do I constantly compare myself to others?
Do I give up easily?
Do I make things easier for my child so they don’t risk failure?
Do I care about where my child ranks?
Do I praise my child for getting the best / top mark?
Do I tell my child how clever they are?
Do I reinforce their negative views (I couldn’t do maths, so it’s no surprise my child can’t)?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then don’t panic – it’s easy to change your mindset!
What you will see in school
Above is the picture that is displayed in the school and is a visual aid for the children to describe their learning journeys throughout the day. We want the children to understand that it is okay to be stuck, and that some of their best learning is done when they find things the hardest.
Growth Mindset displays in the classroom:
Posters to encourage children to avoid saying 'I'm Stuck'.
We want to encourage children to think that their brain is like a muscle: the more you use it the stronger it gets.