This concept of a growth mindset was first introduced to us when we worked in a before and after school care. We both loved this concept and felt it would be an important addition to our classrooms!
The idea behind a the growth mindset theory is that sometimes people think in the way as described as a fixed mindset.
People get stuck in the thoughts of:
– This is what I am good at
– I’m just not good at this
– My brain isn’t capable of learning information like this
– I just get this kind of learning
However, the learning around having a growth mindset describes the beliefs people may have around their learning, shapes their beliefs about intelligence and how it is gained. Dr. Dweck and her colleagues created a study that looked at students ideas around failure and their reactions to these failures. They found that when student believe they can learn and get smarter, they can understand the effort that is needed, which makes them stronger learners. This leads to students putting extra time into their work and achieving higher outcomes.
People that have a growth mindset:
– Understand why they are good at learning specific content, as they understand the content
– See failure as a first attempt in their learning
– Realise that failure isn’t where we should stop and give up
– Understands that our brain is capable of many different types of learning if we push ourselves and don’t give up
In my first year of teaching this concept was the first thing I put up on my wall and discussed with
We discussed things like:
– What type of learner they thought they were
– What we need to do to get better in our learning
– Is failure really a thing? Or is it something that shows us where we need to improve
Obviously this didn’t stick with all of them at the very start. Some of them were skeptical about whether having a growth mindset would help them or not. HOWEVER! I had a major break through with them one day in our second term together. They completed a maths test and 85% of them complete bombed out. A lot of the students were really upset and were ready to give up on that area of maths, saying things like “I’m just not good at maths”. At this point I shared something with them that I had always been a little ashamed about, but knew it would be important to share.
I told them about when I was in high school and thought the exact same things they were thinking at that point. That I had failed a test and received and very very low mark. I was devastated at the time and thought I was just the worst at maths! But I had a teacher that never gave up on me and showed me that it was just my first attempt. He told me that even though I didn’t really know/understand now, but I would! I told them how this gave me hope and pushed me to keep at it, to keep working on this maths concept. I came out at the end of that year passing because my teacher gave me the ability to see my learning as something that was in my control and something I could develop/work on.
I explained to my students that even though we didn’t get the results we wanted this time around, we can use this to learn and get the results we want next time!
I knew at this point they were starting to understand what I was saying, they could see how far I had come and that they could do it as well because I was there to help them.
At the end of this year every single one of my students passed maths and every other subject because they believed in themselves and knew they could do it!
I knew they could do it too!
Some of our growth mindset products:
I love hearing about all the amazing growth mindset stories all our friends and colleagues have to share from their classrooms. Please share below your experiences with using growth mindset in your classroom and how it went!
If you haven’t given it a go yet and you are thinking about, please comment as well. I would love to hear from all the people reading this blog.
Hope to hear from you soon!!
Love Mel xx