Building Growth Mindsets in Children (parents and teachers)

Posted: January 28, 2014 in Building Relationships, Communication, Culture of Achievement, Instruction, Instructional Leadership, Leadership, Uncategorized
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cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by George Martin

As you know, I’ve recently re-read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.  As I was reading the book I was really revisiting things that parents and teachers/educators can do to help build children’s growth mindsets.  Here are some great ideas that the author has discovered as effective by watching parents interact with their children and by studying some of the great teachers of our time (Marva Collins, Rafe Esquith, Dorothy DeLay).

1.  Everything we say and do sends a message to the child/student.  This message impacts how the child views himself/herself.  These messages begin the moment a child is born.

Reflection:  Consider the things you are saying and doing.  Do these things demonstrate that we are all growing and learning and that your purpose is to help the child develop and use the appropriate tools to tackle the job?  Does your child/student know you are there to help, coach, and support?  We are modeling for children how we process challenges in our own lives.  What do your words and actions teach and model for kids?

2.  How we praise and correct a child/student impacts the development of mindset.

Reflection:  Are we praising for intelligence (fixed) or hard work (growth)?  Are we praising practice and persistence or a final product? Are we trying to help a child/student avoid failure or helping them learn from mistakes to increase future success?  Consider the messages you are sending and use each moment as a teachable moment.  We won’t always get everything right the first time.  That’s OK!  Sometimes it is when we don’t get it right the first time that we learn the most. 

3.  We need to set standards that are high, and help students reach those expectations.

Reflection:  How are we modeling to children/students our own love of learning?  They need to see this in us.  Carol Dweck states, “The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning.”  How are we demonstrating that we believe in the child and care about his/her success?  Are we modeling in our own lives that we have to work hard and foster our own sense of inquiry born out of our own love of learning?  It is important to set standards high, but then be there to support and provide the tools necessary to meet those expectations over time.

This is my last post in this series–but I would encourage you to check out this book from the library.  It’s a fascinating look not only at how we can help our students/children develop growth mindsets–but it challenges some of the reader’s thinking as well!  

Do you have a tool to add to our tool belt to help us build a growth mindset?  Click on the comments and share it with us!

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