Sunday, July 12, 2020

It's all about a Growth Mindset

What's a Growth Mindset and 

how do I teach it?

So first, let's start with some background.  It's an idea founded by Dr. Carol Dweck from Stanford University.  A fixed mindset is the idea that things are the way they are.  You're born good at something or not.  There's no room for growth.  A growth mindset is the idea that you can develop ability through hard work and effort.  You can become good at anything, if you work hard enough.  If a student has a growth mindset, they build confidence, perseverance and ultimately success.

So I've been doing some work with my kids on changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.  I thought I'd share some of the things I've done.

So in my class I started with quotes.   I found a lot on Practical Savvy.  I put up quotes like:
  1. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did. Mark Twain
  2. It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. Confucius
  3. It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Walt Disney
  4. It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
I gave each group of four kids one quote and had them discuss it.  Then they separated and formed new groups.  They shared their quotes, their groups thinking and what it has in common with the other quotes.

After that, I explained the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset.  I then gave them an activity where they took fixed mindset thinking and turned them into growth mindset.  You can find that activity here.  

I then put up posters showing how to change fixed mindset thinking into growth mindset.  I made them with nice frames.

Another activity is to have them research successful people who had to overcome obstacles to get where they were.  People like Walt Disney, Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs.  You can find that activity here on TeachersPayTeachers. 

Best of all I created a growth mindset bundle!  If you want it all:
Research, Quick pre-assessment- pick a side, Read aloud possibilities, The Most Magnificent Thing, Neuroplasticity, Activity: Your Brain!, Activity: Let’s make a neuron!, Successful People and Their Struggles, For the teacher: Moving from Person Praise to Process Praise, and the Change Your Mindset posters- 11 separate png’s  (This bundle includes my previous products:  Fixed vs. Growth Mindset Activities and Change Your Mindset: From a fixed to a growth mindset posters)

I've found these lessons to be the most successful with my kids. I hope you find them useful too!

As a teacher, I want to be sure I'm framing my feedback using growth mindset. Am I using process praise (praising the effort) such as "You must have worked hard on that!" or person praise (praising the student) such as "You're so smart."? 

Process Praise & Process Feedback
Things to do everyday, often, or as applicable

Think about whether or not you did these things...

  • Process Praise-Praising the work or effort of the student, which led to the result/outcome e.g. “You really studied hard for your math test and your improvement it.” 
  • Provided feedback when students struggled despite strong effort 
  • Provided feedback when they struggle and need help with strategies
  • Provided feedback when students made progress toward a learning goal
  • Provide feedback when students succeeded with strong effort 

So that's where we are right now.  Funny, the other day, a student said," Miss, E--- has a fixed mindset!  He said he can't do it and he hasn't even tried!"  So I asked, "What would be a better way to say it?"  She said, "He could have said, I'm worried I won't do well but I'll try my best."  Something is sticking!!

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