Friday, April 8, 2016

Encouraging a Growth Mindset for your Students

       Growth Mindset is an understanding that you can learn and achieve anything if you are willing to work and practice and study and try.  A student's ability to learn is not predetermined from birth.

       This is an important concept for teachers who seem to always have some students who believe that they are not born with the skills necessary to learn.  A common saying among some students is, "I don't have a math brain.", meaning, "I don't have the ability to learn math regardless of the extent of my efforts."  We know now that this is not true.  But teachers are often faced with the prospects of needing to convince some of their students that this is not true.
       This chart is filled with suggestions for helping students to view their perceived obstacles in a different way.  Part of a teacher's job is to motivate their students to do their best everyday.  The more that we can convince students and then demonstrated to students that effort leads to (at least some level of) success, the more we are able to create a learning atmosphere in which students believe that they can learn.

       Growth Mindset is for weak and strong students alike.  We also have students who have been successful in the traditional school setting who don't have a growth mindset.  These students may have been praised for their "smarts" and they may be afraid to try something new for fear of not succeeding.  This limits their ability to grow.  Hence, encouraging a growth mindset is for all students and not just for a few.  Our best teachers have always been encouraging a growth mindset.  We have all had teachers who were able to convince us to try and to work hard in the belief that we would eventually succeed.  We need to see this occurring much more often in our classrooms.

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