This whole notion of having a growth mindset is very strange from the beginning. As I read the book, Mindset: The new psychology of success by Carol Dweck, I thought to myself that I fit this description perfectly since I do have a some fixed mindset tendencies. However, as I continued to read growth mindset I would think to myself that I think like that as well. So is it possible for me to have a mixture of both? Some would say no, and that I would either need to be one or the other. Well, I disagree, and I do fall into both categories. If I know where my fixed mindset comes to light, I can then talk to myself and get on track with the growth mindset. I can tell myself that I am not failing, and I am still learning and I will continue to learn.
Intelligence is not something you are born with. Intelligence is a skill that you continue to work on. To have a growth mindset is to not let failures stop you, and to overcome any fear you may have. It is a learning journey where you are not afraid to explore. Children are more open-minded when it comes to learn play. It is not until they go to school where they may start to doubt themselves or become scared of trying, or exploring. They start to think of themselves as either being a failure or successful. We need to start making sure our children do not think this way, so they can continue to explore and be risk takers.
Importance of Growth Mindset
Adults and children need to have a growth mindset so we are not stuck in the unknown. Usually, we do not continue our learning because we are either afraid of failure or because we think that we know it all. If you do not continue trying you will never know if you can succeed or if there is something more out there for you to learn. If we are afraid of failure than we are not learning. Think back when you were a child and you wanted to climb all the way from one side of the monkey bars to the other. Did you stop trying because you fell or did you continue to get back on until you were able to do it? You continue to get back on the monkey bars until you did it. How did you feel afterwards? You probably felt great. You learned how to swing across the monkey bars and never gave up. We need to make sure our children and us, adults, never give up. The growth mindset is to never give up.
Be a “Yet” Learner and Growth Mindset
In my classroom it is important for my students to learn that just because you may not understand a skill the first time, means that you did not understand it, yet. To be able to have this mindset in the classroom, is important to incorporate it in the culture of the classroom. The same way we teach our students the classroom procedures, how to give positive critical feedback, how to disagree with one another, is the same way we need to teach them how to be a “yet” learner. It is important to give them opportunities where they are going to fail and have them believe in themselves to continue. They may not get the skill the first time or second, but as they keep trying they will learn it. Students need to be exposed to situations where they will be tested with this mindset. The change of mindset will not be a quick change, from one day to to the next, but it will take some some time Throughout the year students will constantly need to be reminded that they are “yet” learners. They are able to master the skill and build upon that further.
Growth Mindset and Grading
For students grades can be a stressful aspect of their schooling. Not only do they feel pressure to get good grades on their own, but they also get pressure from their parents. It is important for them to know that they are not defined by a number. Just because they may get a bad grade or not understand a skill, it does not mean that they will forever be stuck there. Once students are used to having a growth mindset they will not be preoccupied with their grades. They will start to value their need to continue learning over grades.
Improperly Promoted Growth Mindset? What to do?
Growth mindset is fairly new to me, so of course there will be bumps in the road. There is no set guidelines and there is not going to be someone walking me step by step throughout this process. There will be times when I will fall back on my fixed mindset habits. The way I can I prevent or to fix it is to realize when it’s happening. When I do fall back to the fixed mindset, I can talk it out. Tell myself that it is just a setback and I can learn from it and let this become my mantra. When students do the same, have a conversation with them. Talk it out and work through the obstacle. Just like with growth mindset, just because I do not succeed does not mean I am a failure in promoting a growth mindset in my classroom. With everything we try to do in life, it will take time.
Growth Mindset and Innovation Plan
The growth mindset will have a great influence/impact on my innovation plan. Having my students go home and watch instructional videos without having me in the forefront will be a challenge for them. It will be a challenge because when they watch the video they may not understand the skill and feel inadequate when they come to the class the next day. Once they realize that it’s okay for them not to fully comprehend it the first time and that no one will negatively judge them about it, they will feel more comfortable. Their mindset will also start to change and they will put their full effort when they have online learning in the classroom. They will care more about the learning and the journey than getting a good grade or a perfect score. Ultimately that is what I want my students to achieve from this mentality, the growth mindset. They are more than a number or percentage on paper. They are a growing little humans that need our support, encouragement, and challenges.
Dweck, C., & T. (2014, October 09). Carol Dweck, “Developing a Growth Mindset”
Retrieved December 16, 2016, from https://youtu.be/hiiEeMN7vbQ
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random