“Growth Mindset” is Much More Than Just Another Buzz Word
Your may have noticed the growing focus (pun intended!) on the power of the “growth mindset” in education in the last few years. Some have worked to debunk it, but a balanced perspective tells us that this is not to be ignored. Students tend to do better when they know that they CAN.
This goes well beyond the false “everyone wins” mentality that has permeated a lot of education, and especially children’s athletics, for a few decades now. Rather than instantly rewarding everyone for just being there, fostering a growth mindset manages to raise expectations and encourage students at the same time.
Of course, encouraging a growth mindset is by no means the only thing we need to do to ensure a good education, by any means. It is more important than ever that we work to ensure that the curriculum students are being taught is meaningful, to develop pedagogy that is well designed and thoughtful, and to strive for methods to authentically assess students’ learning. Nevertheless, a little “growth mindset” can go a long way towards encouraging many students who can benefit from this perspective.
Here are some excellent resources to help you encourage your students to realize their potential, and know that wherever they are in their studies and academics today, they can and will improve, and they need to know they have the potential to do so.
- Use this great Growth Mindset Feedback doc to offer growth-oriented feedback to students at all levels of effort and mastery.
- Let students know that its okay to struggle! Many teachers and other experts have written about this. Encourage them to be up for the challenge!
- Review and share this video from Carol Dweck with colleagues (Carol is probably the best known champion on the growth mindset and is often credited with coining the term): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X0mgOOSpLU . You’ll see more similar associated videos here – try a few and decide which work best for your teachers or for students.
- Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Teachers and Staff! Explore this excellent Edutopia article about the work of Carol Dweck, Jackie Gerstein, and others, to learn more.
- Share this video from Kelly McGonigal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUHfw_wfVJ8
- Set students up for successive small wins with simple technology based lessons! Show them how to find and share a great resource on the web, or demonstrate amazing smartphone apps like these Augmented Reality applications that they can impress friends and parents with. Or tell them about the Wayback Machine and how they an dig up old versions of websites (see how different YouTube looked way back in 2005, or how unattractive Walmart.com was back in 2004).
- Believe in all of your students! This great article on Mind/Shift will encourage you to “communicate positive expectations to students by using encouraging words”. While it is easy to do this with students who appear motivated, “it is even more important to communicate positive beliefs and expectations to students who are slow, appear unmotivated, or struggle.”
- Let Them Show You (or Each Other)! Peer Instruction, and student demonstrations, can inspire confidence in your students and help them realize what they are capable of.
- Explore Larry Ferlazzo’s “Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning“.
Do you have resources you wish to share, or examples of how these techniques have worked for you? Please comment and share :)!