Want to Learn Faster and Better? Developing Growth Mindset is the Way.

Standford University’s professor Carol Dweck has studied kids’ skills and mindsets for more than 30 years. She claims that we have either a growth or fixed mindset. According to her studies, students who have a growth mindset are able to try new challenges, learn from their mistakes and handle study stress better. Students who have fixed mindsets, tend to be perfectionists and actively avoid making mistakes.

Growth Mindset as an Important Future Skill.

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Things change rapidly, therefore we need to be able to face those changes with resilience and optimism. Helping our students cultivate a growth mindset takes practice. It’s about changing their attitude and finding words and actions to help them sustain interest and determination. Growth mindset people tackle challenges with confidence and see mistakes as inevitable steps on the path to completing projects.

Giving Feedback and Praise

Both mindsets exist within us all. We make the choice to view our lives via either perspective.

When we teach our students about mindset, we need to consider effort. Effort is crucial, but cultivating a growth mindset is not simply praising a child for the effort they’ve put in and leaving it there. It’s about focusing on the process of hard workand trying new strategies that lead to the completion of tasks and growth for the individual.

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Exercising a growth mindset is about dealing with accomplishments (or lack thereof) with sensitivity then unlocking paths for further learning, instead of giving up. We need to remind our children that the brain is like a muscle – it can grow and change through hard work and determination. Our brains actually grow more when we get the answer wrong than when we get the answer right!

4 Ways to Support Growth Mindset

Supporting students to cultivate a growth mindset leads to increased confidence and resilience and the development of present moment awareness.

Some strategies to help your child with ‘mistakes’ or ‘challenges’ include:

1. Helping them to balance their emotions about the situation by expressing empathy

For example: “I can understand why you’re feeling disappointed. You worked really hard. I’d feel frustrated too.” Perhaps share a similar time of disappointment if your student is old enough. Then, ask your child how you can work together to solve the problem. Seeing and hearing your student’s needs is often enough to calm the situation before moving to solve it.

2. Informal Talk

During a break or quiet moment, help build resilience by asking your student: “What did you do today that was really hard?”

3. Creating plans together to tackle the problem

For example: My problem is…; I want to solve it by…; Obstacles to solving the problem are…; I can jump over these obstacles by…; I will know I have solved the problem when …

4. Becoming aware of the language you and your student use during and after challenging situations

For example: Rather than, “I can’t do these math exercises!” change the words to, “I can’t do these exercises yet.”

Instead of, “This topic is too hard!” try saying, “This topic is challenging but I’ll try it another way.”

Can you help your students reframe their words to reflect an attitude of growth?

Eduten Playground has been planned in a way to support kids’ learning from their mistakes. It helps teachers to develop their students’ growth mindset. It allows students to try again and again without criticism. Instant feedback is also part of Eduten Playground’s features. Instant feedback encourages students to work harder and harder.

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Melissa Georgiou, M.Sc. of Education, Teacher, has 15 years of teaching experience in Australia. She has studied the Finnish Education system for the last 6 years.

Erkki Kaila