What is a Growth Mindset?
Start the year with one of the best ways to expand learning and productivity in all areas of your child’s life. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, the social scientist who coined the term “growth mindset,” there is a big difference in success rates between students with an attitude of growth and students with a fixed attitude. A growth mindset means that anything can be learned through effort and that no one is born deficient in any learning area.
A fixed growth attitude limits and stunts academic growth. If a fixed mindset student believes there’s no point to getting better at reading comprehension or to improving math skills, then it keeps students intellectually stuck. It can produce low self-esteem too. As adults, productivity is severely diminished and intelligence is limited.
A growth mindset tells us the opposite. Anything can be learned!
Why is a Growth Mindset good for your child?
A growth mindset embodies a passion for learning instead of a hunger for approval. It reveals the “power of yet” as in – “I’m unable to recall that story YET, but I will be able to access my memory with patience and practice.” It’s a way of learning that uses current neuroplasticity research to unlock brain potential. Our brains are always growing and they are certainly not locked into negative self-concepts.
How can you create a growth mindset in your child?
Focus on the joy of learning rather than the end result. Find ways to improve and encourage learning new skills. Praise the effort and not the outcome. Learn to use language that supports a growth mindset. Here are some handy example phrases to keep you and your child growing:
Instead of saying, “I’m not good at this.” Say, “What am I missing?”
Instead of saying, “I give up.” Say, “I’ll use some of the things I already know.”
Instead of saying, “I just can’t do math.” Say, “I’m training my brain for math.”
Instead of saying, “I made a mistake.” Say, “Mistakes help me learn better.”
Instead of saying, “I can’t make this better.” Say, “I can always get improve so I’ll keep trying.”
You get the idea. It’s all about open ended learning where anything is possible through effort and honest self-evaluation.
There are plenty of online and hard copy resources available to facilitate this powerful way to learn. Here are a couple to get you started:
This is Dr. Carol Dweck’s site offering research articles that back up her findings. You can also find information about her ground-breaking book, Mindset.
edutopia: Resources for Teaching Growth Mindset
This teacher’s site has direct links to Dr. Dweck’s articles as well as sites to help with growth mindset and math issues.
How we talk to ourselves and to our children makes all the difference.
By encouraging effort and giving realistic praise we can change the direction of our children’s future. That’s no small matter when it means just changing our words.