We talk of Growth Mindset constantly at school. The language of “I can’t do it YET” and “It is okay to FAIL” (First Attempt at Learning) is heard everywhere. It seems more and more of our students are getting the message and attempting new work with a more purposeful intent. We see far less refusal to have a go in any event and more respect being shown to students who do have a go. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities are simply fixed traits, and use their performance to document those traits. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed and improved upon, which creates a love of learning and a resilience.
Mrs Seymour’s reflection
“While visiting Kindergarten last week I mentioned I had difficulty in completing something. A little voice piped up, “You just can’t do it yet, Mrs Seymour”. I am totally blown away by the obvious change of mindset we are seeing around school these days. We have students tackling challenges very open-mindedly knowing that mistakes are all part of learning. We have students encouraging each other in the struggles of the learning pit. We have students engaging in work that we might previously have avoided. I even had a parent tell me last week they are utilising growth mindset in their own work, especially when it might get tough. This focus, coupled with a real enthusiasm for school makes Joeys a great place to be right now. Student behaviour is noticeably improved, their motivation to learn much more visible and as a result staff are able to achieve more with students. Parenting is really hard. Having a growth mindset helps. Research shows that parents can have a powerful impact on their childrens’ mindsets. The language you use and the actions you take, show your children what you expect. Giving process praise, talking about the brain, accepting mistakes as learning opportunities, and understanding the role of emotions in learning, are all practices you can begin today. They can then mirror the work we are doing here at school.”
What is the Learning Pit?
Say This, Not That
The way we praise our children can have a profound impact on their mindset. Research on praise and mindsets shows that when we praise children for being smart, it promotes a fixed mindset. It sends a message that their accomplishments are trait-based, and tied to something innate. In contrast, praising kids for working hard promotes a growth mindset. It sends a message that the child’s effort is what led them to success. Want more tips on what to say, and what not to say, when praising your kids?
Say This, Not That!
- Say This “I can see you worked so hard on this!” Not That “You are so smart!”
- Say This “It seems like it’s time to try a new strategy.” Not That “It’s okay. Maybe you’re just not cut out for this!”
- Say This “I like watching you do that.” Not That “You’re a natural at that!”
- Say This “It looks like that was too easy for you. Let’s find you something challenging so your brain can grow.” Not That “That’s right! You did that so quickly and easily; great job!”
- Say This “That’s not right. You don’t understand this yet. What strategies can you try to understand it better?” Not That “That’s not right. Are you paying attention in class? It seems like you’re not even trying.“
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”.~Pablo Picasso~