“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
-William A. Ward
A great teacher recognizes the fact that motivation is necessary for students to achieve success and leaves no stone unturned in fueling their growth mindset. Apart from teachers, direct and powerful interventions from parents can also help adolescents build powerful growth mindsets that lead to more significant achievements in school and are better prepared for the future.
Children should realize the fact that their brains can grow stronger – measurably stronger – with time and effort. It sounds simple, but the effects of believing this are profound. A child with a growth mindset is less concerned about competition and often finds motivation or inspiration from other kids’ success. A child with a fixed mindset will often give up, get bored or frustrated at the sign of any challenge or obstacle.
Praising students for their efforts encourages them to avoid the most useful kind of learning activities, those in which they learn from their mistakes. A child with a fixed mindset often focuses on their reputation and strives to get a perfect score or win the first prize.
Praising students’ intelligence instead of their efforts has negative consequences.
‘The wrong kind of praise creates self-defeating behavior. The right kind motivates children to learn.’ – Carol Dweck
In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck has put forth the argument that students have an underlying belief about learning: either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. The effects of mindset on students’ personality development are profound.
Developing a growth mindset is an organic process. A growth mindset will help students to envisage themselves as learners, doers and hard workers. Once kids understand that the brain grows physical connections as they practice and learn new skills, they get excited about the learning process and feel less worried about making mistakes.
A fixed mindset makes children insecure about their ability every time they encounter a new situation. A fixed mindset may compel children to reject new challenges and stay in their comfort zone. They firmly believe that they cannot improve or become successful if they are not gifted. They do not work towards improving themselves if they are not good at a particular skill.
Why is having a growth mindset towards Math so important?
A positive attitude and growth mindset are critical for Math learning. “Growth Mindset towards Math’’ is an approach to teaching Mathematics, which believes that mindset is more important than the inherent ability in determining the progress of pupils in Mathematical understanding. Students with a growth mindset had better Math grades and test scores than students with a fixed mindset.
Every child will face Math obstacles at some point or the other and should be prepared to face them with a growth mindset and a healthy attitude towards Mathematics .This will give them the courage to persevere and to overcome the challenges.
Teachers should identify the students having a fixed mindset and encourage them to change their perspective. Teachers should also employ different strategies to help students having difficulties in Math.
Nurturing a Growth Mindset
The fixed mindset has hampered the growth of society and communities by stunting the intellectual growth of people and making them afraid of changes. The greatest attribute of the growth mindset in students is their self-confidence, foresight and maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity.
Children with a growth mindset will supercharge their capacity to learn and grow if appropriately nurtured. Parents, teachers or any important adult in the life of a child or adolescent will have enormous power to steer them towards the right headspace.
Having a growth mindset means that we are approaching the world as a puzzle to be solved. We understand that learning is never complete. Instead of seeking praise for our accomplishments, we are curious about how we could still improve. Steve Jobs was a great example of this. He focused his energy on the endless possibilities of technology rather than limiting himself to what already exists. Carol Dweck’s research shows that those who display a growth mindset continue to grow and thrive, while those with a fixed mindset often limit themselves only to what they are good at.
Techniques to nurture a growth mindset in children are:
Change your words of praise: – Appropriate praise encourages effort, strategies and action. There is a difference between praising for efforts and praising for innate abilities. Students who are praised for their efforts and strategies develop a growth mindset, work harder, become more resilient, and perform better than the students who were praised for their inborn talents and abilities. These students are likely to develop a fixed mindset.
Encourage students to set and track their own goals: The teachers need not always initiate goal-setting for the students to accomplish the academic standards. By allowing students to set their own goals, including their parents, will help them to evaluate their own performance and are self-drive to achieve their target. Teachers can guide the students in this process, and this symbiosis will foster greater learning outcomes.
Use a Math curriculum that challenges your child: Mathematics is the queen of all sciences. It is an intriguing subject which fuels intellectual growth. Enlighten your children about how Math is essential to face the challenges of day to day life as well as to meet the changing demands of the technological era. Try to pose tricky Mathematical questions and puzzles which challenges them to strive hard and delve deep into the subject.
Establish high expectations and clear goals: – The process of goal setting is crucial because it helps unearth and identify what is truly important to oneself. Setting goals for oneself is a way to fuel an individual’s ambition. Teachers can model the process of goal-setting, provide constructive feedback for their efforts, and support students in tracking their progress. Clear expectations help the students to assess their growth effectively and take measures to better their performance. Without them, clear results can prove elusive.
Teach your kids to learn from their mistakes:– Arthur Ashe once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”
There might be many ups and downs in our journey while accomplishing a goal. Kids naturally make mistakes while learning something new. Everyone makes mistakes and children are no exception. Children make many mistakes like forgetting a homework assignment, lying, cheating etc. However, all mistakes contain the seed of learning. As parents, we wish that our kids are independent. Mistake helps to develop wisdom and good judgement.
Our reaction to our kids’ mistakes can convey various messages to them. Mistakes are inevitable, no doubt about it. We need to teach our kids to cope with their ensuing frustration. We should always help our children to explore new skills to acquire or new perspectives to consider.
Do not label your kids: – A lot of time teachers and parents label their kids because they feel uncomfortable about the child’s behaviour or attitude. Labels can make it more difficult for us to show empathy when our kids are struggling.
Labels are difficult to ignore and surpass. Positive as well as negative labels have the same effect; children begin to internalise that label and own it.
Make sure that the words you use are the ones that you are pleased to stick on and speak to your children. As a parent or a teacher, we should encourage students to recognise themselves as learners and offer them support on their path to discovery which will have a remarkable effect upon their confidence and success.
Model a growth mindset yourself: – One of the best ways by which the teachers can encourage their children to have a growth mindset is to work on developing one themselves. Encouraging the children to imbibe a growth mindset is not an easy task, but it could become one of the most exceptional contributions that you could make towards their success and happiness. Model a growth mindset through your willingness to hear from your students and try new strategies based on their feedback.
Teach them what to expect
People with a growth mindset believe that their abilities can be developed. They believe that their qualities can be changed and that they can further develop their intelligence and abilities through hard work, sound strategies and inputs from others.
Having a growth mindset is about the belief that someone can learn and improve. To help shape students’ behaviour and mindset, teachers and parents should look forward to developing a consistent culture of high expectations and quality feedback.
The level of intelligence for an individual is not fixed and can be flourished with time and effort. Nurturing this belief in children is one of the most valuable contributions we, as adults, can do to help them to use their potential to the fullest.
The growth mindset can be a potent learning tool when applied correctly but can be harmful when misinterpreted.
“Children are like wet cement; whatever falls on them makes an impression”.
– Haim Ginott
Everyone deserves to enjoy all the spheres of life!. It is the moral responsibility of the teacher to be a torchbearer and show the right path to the coming generations. He or she is a friend, guide and motivator who builds the framework for students to become productive citizens.
Grandparents are torchbearers of specific thoughts and beliefs. Parents play a significant role in inculcating values in their children. We must encourage our children to be successful by being ambitious, but not greedy. By setting an excellent example for those who are looking up to you gives assurance of a happy and a prosperous future.