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Nurturing A Growth Mindset in Students

When it comes to achieving anything in life, do you have the confidence that you’ll be able to persevere, or will you give up when it gets tough? How you answer the question reveals whether or not you have a fixed or growth mindset.

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Over 30 years ago, psychologist Carol Dweck and her team looked into students’ attitudes about failure [source]. Their studies concluded that students either have a fixed or growth mindset regarding achievement. 

A fixed mindset is when a person believes that their talent or intelligence will stay the same, no matter how much you study or develop yourself. They tend to avoid risks and opportunities because they firmly believe they will fail. 

On the contrary, an individual with a growth mindset believes that skills can be improved with work, practice, and perseverance, and talent can grow! The person believes that results come from the amount of effort, and they see challenges as an opportunity to grow. 

This mindset can change your child’s school experience for the better!

A Growth Mindset & School

Students with a fixed mindset are more likely to give up easily, whereas students with a growth mindset keep going even when work is hard and persistent. 

For example, students who have a growth mindset in math believe that they can get better with practice and are more likely to achieve a higher grade in the subject. Those with fixed mindsets will assume that some people were born with better math skills than others and can seriously struggle. 

Some other benefits include:

  • A lifelong love of learning 
  • Improved career success
  • Continued self-development outside of the classroom

Fostering A Growth Mindset

Luckily, mindsets can be changed! It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Below are some strategies you can implement at home to focus on unlearning a fixed mindset:

  1. Lead by example. Watch the negative self-talk around kids when trying a new hobby or completing a task. 
  2. Praise the student for effort rather than natural ability. You can find more tips on how to do so here.
  3. Encourage your child to take the road less traveled. Sure, there’s an easy route for most things, but there’s no growth in that! It’s essential to learn to embrace challenges and mistakes. 
  4. Apply it to all areas of life, including social relationships and extracurricular activities. 
  5. Discourage self-comparison to peers. Instead, teach them how to learn from those who appear more successful. 

Fixed mindsets aren’t set in stone. Assess any triggers that certain subjects might cause, apply the strategies above and see the improvement a growth mindset can make!

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