“You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.” – Sidney A. Friedman
First let us understand the terminology ‘growth mindset’. What is meant by growth mindset? Anyone who is willing to grow or shows interest in learning new things is called as a person with a growth mindset.
In the words of Carol Dweck of Stanford University – a student with growth mindset understands that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence.
Generally , we believe that every child is born with a growth mindset. It is this belief that makes us teach our one year old kid with various new words that they can quickly grasp and reproduce.
We never punish our kids for not being able to reproduce or grasp the new word that’s being taught to them. We try to use various methods of teaching a simple word to a kid.
For example, associating some action to that word, showing the picture of that word, making others pronounce the same word, and showing video clips in which a cartoon character or some other person is using such words are some of the methods used.
As a parent, we never get tired of teaching our kid because we know that our child is capable of learning new things and one day or the other, they will surely learn this new word.
So, when we believe that even a year old kid has the ability to learn new things and we constantly encourage kids to learn, then why do we question the growth mindset of our grown up kids?
As parents, we are happy to know that our kid is having a growth mindset and is very quick in grasping new things. But as the days pass by and our kid enters the school, suddenly we notice that there is a lack of interest that’s prevalent. What can be the cause for this behavior?
1. Change in the environment: At home, kids are surrounded by their family members and friends.
Whenever they encounter strangers, they either don’t mingle with them or are afraid to go near them. So, when they are put into the school, they have to get along with so many new people which makes it difficult for them to adapt.
2. New teacher: All these days, only parents or close relatives have tried to teach various things to kids. All of a sudden, when a new teacher is introduced, the kid is sometimes unable to accept the teacher.
3. New teaching methods: Parents and relatives use various methods to teach their kid and know the best methodology that suits their kid. But a teacher has to concentrate on 30-40 students and cannot give individual attention and adopt various methods to suit individual kids’ needs.
4. Pressure to learn things in lesser time: There is a defined time-frame to cover syllabus in the school. In order to complete the syllabus on time, the teacher infuses many things into the kids’ mind, without even analyzing if it has been received properly by the kids or not.
Also, when the kids are at school, they know their teacher and they believe that the teacher would guide them correctly and in the most apt manner.
At home, they would be surrounded by their kith and kin and they are always told to stay away from strangers.
They are never pressurized to learn something. They can learn at their own pace and they are appreciated for every single effort that is made to learn something new.
But this cannot be expected in schools as the number of students would be more and individual attention is nearly impossible.
We, at Cuemath, provide a home-like learning atmosphere for kids and we believe in self-paced learning. We firmly believe that there is no such restriction as the right age to imbibe growth mindset.
Every kid posseses the growth mindset. Teachers need to identify the correct teaching methodology to imbibe the growth mindset in kids and achieve better learning outcomes.
In the next section, I explain how I identify the different types of learners.
Types of Learners:
As distinct and invidual learners, kids can be categorized based on 8 different learning styles. Providing resources aligned with a particular learning style will enable kids to learn things easily. The 8 different types of learners are described below:
1. The Linguistic Learner: The linguistic learner is the one who learns best through linguistics-driven activities like reading, writing, listening, or speaking.
Sometimes, it is a combination of these methods. So, for example, if a linguistic learner wants to tackle a new skill, their best method of learning would be to read about it, then listen to an audio recording and take notes on it.
Finally, reinforcing it would require speaking about it and, possibly, writing about it extensively (expressive writing).
2. The Naturalist Learner: The naturalist kid learns by working on a specific topic or subject-matter, and experiences the nature of the subject.
The naturalist loves experiences, loves observing the world around them, and captures the best information or knowledge through experimentation.
3. The Musical or Rhythmic Learner: The musical or rhythmic learner is one who learns using melody or rhythm.
This would be like a musician learning how to play by listening to a piece of music; or a drummer who hears beats in his head before putting it together in the studio.
But it can also be a person who learns best while humming, whistling, toe-tapping, tapping their pencil on the desk, wiggling, or listening to music in the background. For this person, music isn’t a distraction but instead a tool for the learning process.
4. The Kinesthetic Learner: The kinesthetic learner is a person that learns best by actually doing something.
According to FamilyEducation.com, some of the most common kinesthetic-based jobs are those in the arts, manufacturing or creative fields like physical therapy, dancing, acting, farming, carpentry, surgery, and jewelry-making.
None of these jobs could be done without “hands-on experience.” Many of these jobs, with rare exceptions, are also trade professions that require an apprenticeship or shadowing.
5. The Visual or Spatial Learner: A visual or spatial learner is a person who learns best if there are visual aids around to guide the learning process.
For example, someone who can learn best from diagrams, pictures, graphs would be a visual or spatial learner. These people tend to be technically-oriented and are likely to enter engineering fields.
6. The Logical or Mathematical Learner: The logical or mathematical learner must classify or categorize things.
They also tend to understand relationships or patterns, numbers and equations better than others. These are obviously likely to become engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and other technical professionals.
7. The Interpersonal Learner: The interpersonal learner is someone who learns by relating to others.
Often, these people share stories, work best in teams, and compare their ideas with others. In a sense, others help them think of new ideas.
They are natural leaders as well as effective team players. You often see these people in various fields of psychology, business or social sciences.
8. The Intrapersonal Learner: The intrapersonal, as opposed to an interpersonal learner is someone who works and learns best when they are alone.
They set individual goals that are challenging, but not impossible. They are also motivated by internal forces, rather than external ones.
They are often introverted individuals, but not always. These people often enter creative fields, become entrepreneurs, and sometimes small business owners. But, they are usually active in the fields or industries that allow them to work without direct supervision.
Every child possess growth mindset from birth and it is only their environment that is responsible for influencing their mindset. If the teacher adopts the right methodology to teach students of every age group, definitely more number of students will imbibe the growth mindset; thus contributing to an intellectual society.
The teacher should take the extra effort of knowing their student and their ability to adapt to various situations. This will be of great support system for every student.
Every small step taken forward by the kid should be encouraged and parents should always remember that their child is never too big to be not appreciated for even small accomplishments.
It should be a collective effort from parents and teachers to provide a positive environment to the kids, so that they always have the right attitude of approaching various things.
Right mindset, right attitude, right environment and a right mentor will always drive effective learning. Thus there is no particular age to imbibe growth mindset. Growth mindset is prevalent in every child and if tapped in the right manner, it will do wonders for the kid.
I carry with me the expertise of IT industry and the education industry for 10 years. I am a BA English literature graduate and I believe in the fact that “Once you start believing yourself, the entire world starts believing in your capability and provides you with all the resources to achieve your goals”.