Growth mindset is a phrase that is used regularly when discussing education, but it is also making its way into mainstream personal growth strategies. What does growth mindset mean, and how can it be used in your child’s day-to-day education?
To understand what growth mindset is, we must first look at what mindset means. Mindset is composed of the attitudes and beliefs we hold. There is such a focus on mindset because we are now exploring the fact that we have a choice in our mindset. We can choose to believe that a task is insurmountable, or we can believe it is another challenge that can be overcome. Choosing a positive mindset might seem easy, but it’s not as straightforward as it seems.There are many factors involved, such as confidence, past successes and failures, and influences that impact our mindset.
If you are thinking “that is me” or “that is my child,” there’s no need to worry! Once you are aware that mindset is a choice, you can begin to intentionally choose your mindset.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
A growth mindset believes that with effort, a person can improve and succeed at any task. A fixed mindset believes that the ability to succeed at a task is predetermined by a person’s natural abilities. For example, a common phrase that is used by students is “I am not good at math.” In this fixed mindset, the student believes their math abilities will never improve, or that they are fixed. By shifting this mindset to “if I try my best at every math lesson and all of my math homework, I will continue to improve,” the choice is made to believe that growth is possible, which enables growth to happen.
This idea that shifting our mindset can shift the outcome of a situation or task over time is empowering for some and therefore, easy to implement. However, for others, it takes consistent reinforcements and reminders, which is why we’ve included the following strategies to help build a growth mindset within any student.
There are two key strategies that can be used to promote a growth mindset.
Promote the effort of working towards a final result.
For example, when solving the math problem 4 x 5, a child may begin skip-counting by 4s, land on 16, and announce that as their answer. To promote a growth mindset, the feedback might sound something like this: “Great effort skip-counting by 4s since that is the first number in the equation. You skip-counted by 4s four times. Does that seem right if you are solving 4 x 5?” This leads the student to think critically about their answer and hopefully guide them into realizing that they need to skip-count by 4s five times to land on the correct answer of 20. By praising their effort and process, you reinforce that although the initial answer was not correct, their ability to try will still help them reach a correct answer.
Do this every day.
Consistency is key when shifting a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. It is important to give growth mindset feedback every day in a variety of situations. Did your child try to put their dishes in the sink but got distracted on the way and set them down? Let them know you see that they are trying, and praise their efforts! If your child starts on a tough problem and says they don’t know what to do, remind them of the other times they were able to take one step at a time to come to the solution. This type of mindset does not develop overnight, but through consistency, it is possible for anyone to achieve it.
What steps do you take in your household to promote a growth mindset? Comment below, and let us know!