As an educator, I have heard all of the buzz words throughout my career. This month in The Kindergarten Collaborative, we did some deep dive learning all about Growth Mindset and this is one coined phrase I will definitely hold on to. So, what is growth mindset? Growth mindset is the belief that our abilities and our intelligence can be developed through hard work and dedication.
When faced with a challenge, we either function with a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. In a fixed mindset, we believe that our abilities and intelligence are fixed. For example, “I did well on that test because I am smart” or “I failed because I am dumb.” There is no room for improvement in a fixed mindset. Your abilities are what they are and there is no focus on effort, but instead on the outcome.
In a growth mindset, we have a different approach and see failure as an opportunity to grow and try again. The challenge motivates us and helps us build confidence because we are willing to try hard. We are focused more on the effort and the journey than “winning.” With a growth mindset, we believe that there is not one way to push through a challenge and that with hard work, we can be successful.
I honestly recognized so many things in myself I wish I had known before. Like anything, when we know better, we do better. After reading Dan St. Romain's book, Teach Skills and Break Habits: Growth Mindset for Better Behavior in the Classroom, watching Matt Halpern's session and participating in amazing collaboration with TKC members, I feel like I have refined goals for myself when moving forward with strategies for developing a growth mindset.
My Key Takeaways
Create an environment that fosters growth.
Create a learning space so children can fix their own problems.
Remind children that, “Their brain is growing!”
Praise the progress, not the person.
Use books and writing as learning opportunities.
Focus on the amount of work put in.
Model problem solving.
Encourage risk taking and allow them to solve problems on their own.
Implement the “process praise.” Instead of saying, “You're really good at _______.” Try, “You really worked hard at ______________.” Let children know you see their effort so they strive to give more effort and not just focus on praise for “success.”
The Power of YET
This was my greatest take away! The “power of yet” has changed my growth mindset the most. The power of yet teaches children (and adults) that we are all life long learners and we shouldn't give up when we are challenged. It is also a mindset that helps us instill good habits and increases confidence. Children need to learn that they can do hard things. They also need to understand that everyone experiences failure but failure just means we haven't learned that YET. I can't do this…YET.
There really are a million ah ha moments I had this month. Moving forward, I truly understand the importance of developing a growth mindset in myself first. If I want my children and other people to use their growth mindset, I need to model it. Children are a reflection of the way we act, the words we say and even our mindset. I think the most important thing is that growth mindset is exactly what it says. GROWTH. MINDSET. That doesn't happen over night. If we can transform our mindset and help our young children do the same, they are more equipped to handle whatever life throws at them in the future. Isn't that what we truly want for them?
**Also, I can't WAIT to see what we learn next month in The Kindergarten Collaborative!
Check out these great children's books for Growth Mindset.
Looking for a classroom resource? Click here to check out this growth mindset mini unit.
Happy teaching, learning and growing friends.
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