Growth vs. Fixed Mindset: 6 Strategies to Help Students Succeed
Have a growth mindset means believing that most abilities and talents can be developed through hard work and determination. For example, someone with a growth mindset will be willing to go through something tough or difficult in order to improve their skills. On the other hand, a fixed state of mind is to believe that you were born with talents and abilities.
The concept of growth mindset is prevalent in education and it is important for teachers to discuss it with their students. When students embrace this concept, it creates a classroom environment of positivity, self-confidence, and courage.
How can you introduce a growth mindset into your classroom? Instead of just hanging up a poster, make sure the students really understand what growth is and fixed mindsets are. Here are six ways to do this:
Videos. There are several videos that reinforce and teach the growth mindset to students. Personally, I have shared these two with my students: The Truth About Your Brain and the Pace Talk about the Growth Mindset by Kids. Both can be followed by a class discussion where they can share their personal views and experiences.
Activities. Make a list of growth mindset statements (i.e. I’ll try another strategy!) And fixed mindset statements (i.e. that I give up). Or create a list of both mindsets and ask students to put them in the correct category.
Make it part of your routine. Each day, find a way to add mindset discussions to your daily routine. Whether you make sure to point it out as you see it in the characters in the stories you read or that you present it daily in class discussions.
Discuss the feelings that go with the state of mind. Having a growth mindset doesn’t necessarily mean you’re happy all the time. Working through things can be frustrating, irritating, and at times overwhelming. Discuss all of these feelings and validate them. Also, talk about how you will feel ultimately cross the finish line and reach your goal!
Provide opportunities for a “productive struggle”. Students will understand the power of the growth mindset on a whole new level if they encounter difficulties and are able to overcome them. Allow them to step out of their comfort zones during academic or even social tasks.
Discuss the power of “again. “Instead of saying“ I can’t, ”try“ I can’t… again. ”Adding“ more ”to multiple sentences is such a positive change! We recognize that it’s not easy but eventually we will. Plus there’s this awesome Sesame Street video about it too.
How do you bring the growth mindset into your classroom? Share with us on Twitter by tagging @ArizonaEducator or #AZPBSKIDS and tag @azpbskids on Facebook.
About the Author
Marissa Will is the mother of two toddlers, Olivia (4) and Logan (2). Writing was her first passion: she is a freelance writer and alumnus of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Will is currently training the future leaders of tomorrow: she has spent the past eight years teaching in third year with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.