Are you teaching your students to embrace a growth mindset? Students with a growth mindset believe that they are capable of increasing their knowledge and growing their intelligence. The outcome can be remarkable, resulting in students who are more motivated, happier, and undeterred by failure. Here are five ways to help your students develop a growth mindset:
Talk about how to tackle problems. Encourage your students to think of challenges as opportunities to learn, and mistakes as milestones on the path toward growth. When one attempt doesn’t work, have your student rethink it, adjust, and try another.
Share pitfalls of the fixed mindset. Talk to your students about how a fixed mindset can put them at a disadvantage in school and leave them feeling disappointed and dissatisfied. Students with fixed mindsets avoid taking risks because they are afraid of mistakes. They give up easily because they’d rather shirk hard work.
Celebrate progress. Just as you tell parents, grades are the result of effort. Explain to your students that what you want to see most is sincere commitment to do their best. When a student acquires a new skill or raises a grade, take notice.
Adopt the class mantra, “There’s always something new to learn.” Tell students to stay curious. Encourage them to ask questions, and dedicate class time to seeking answers. The more you engage your students in learning for learning’s sake, the more you help them strengthen their growth mindsets.
Reframe failures and struggles. To the student who wants to give up, say that learning requires persistence and practice. To the student who claims he is bad at something, point out that he’s still figuring it out and will get there. Whenever possible, help your students turn those fixed mindset claims into growth mindset statements.
When you infuse these concepts into your teaching, you build life-long learners. Tell your students to dream big, work hard, keep at it when something is difficult, and support each other.