Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? If you have a fixed mindset, you may say things like: “This is hard,” or, “It’s just how I am”, or, “I’m just not good at it.” If you have a growth mindset, you may say things like: “This is challenging,” or, “I don’t know how, but I can learn,” or, “I’m not good at it… yet.”
If you don’t have a growth mindset (yet!) don’t feel bad. It’s likely not something you were taught. Carol Dweck, speaker of the immensely popular TED Talk: The Power of Believing that You Can Improve, talks about “the power of YET,” and how it’s one of the most important tools we can teach students today.
A growth mindset is not something we’re inherently born with. For most of us, it needs to be taught and reinforced throughout our schooling. Dweck describes students who learn to cultivate this growth mindset as ones who “engage deeply- their brain is on fire with YET.” They may not know the answer, but they have learned to associate “hard” with “challenge” and “effort” with “smarter.” They believe that they CAN get smarter.
So what’s the problem? In today’s traditional school area of standardized tests, it’s become all about the grades. Dweck points out that students who are conditioned to measure their worth off the letter or number scrawled on the top of a paper are more likely to cultivate a fixed mindset, because the product is what is being valued, not the process or the effort taken to get there. This is why so many students today have begun to explore their schooling options, to find a place that values their journey, not just their test scores.
So how can we teach students to learn this growth mindset? Dweck gives us three pointers.
Praise Wisely. Dweck calls this “Process Praise.” Process praise does not mean praising intelligence or talent. Instead, Dweck suggests praising the process. “By praising the effort that kids engage in- their effort, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance... it creates kids who are hearty and resilient.”
Change Students’ Mindsets. “In one study, we taught them that every time they push out of their comfort zone to learn something new and difficult, the neurons in their brain can form new, stronger connections. And over time, they CAN get smarter.”
Transform the Meaning of Effort and Difficulty. Dweck maintains that teaching students to view effort and difficulty as byproducts of getting smarter can shift a fixed mindset (i.e. This is hard; I feel stupid) into a growth mindset (i.e. This is hard; I feel challenged.)
Building a growth mindset takes time. Support is crucial, as is reinforcement. So today, you’re invited to comment down below: What is something you once thought was impossible you’ve since learned how to do? Share your victories with us to remind someone else who’s struggling that everyone can improve. After all, no one has all the answers… YET!
*** Want to learn more about your schooling options? TODAY, April 25th, educational researcher and co-founder of CMASAS Tamra Excell will be hosting a free webinar to help parents and students who are looking outside the box discover the world of personalized education. We’d be honored for you to join us for our webinar “Exploring School Options” on Tuesday, April 25th at 4pm PST/ 7pm EST! Through this webinar, you can expect to:
- Discover the most important questions you need to ask first when considering your educational options
- Explore what it really means to offer students a personalized education, and learn how to avoid bait-and-switch marketing tactics
- Empower your child with the skills really needed to excel in our dynamic, modern world.
Deciding which option to pursue once you’ve jumped out of the traditional schooling nest can be overwhelming, frustrating, and even a little bit scary. Whether you decide our school is a good fit for your child or not, we hope this webinar will hand you the tools you need to ensure the best education for your child’s needs.
To sign up and learn more, head over to: https://goo.gl/Wj4vQZ