At the beginning of my Journey of Learning, I took an entire course on the Growth Mindset where I would reflect on the importance of mindset and mentality when it comes to growth. I was asked to create a Growth Mindset Plan that would share my knowledge and findings with colleagues and students to encourage them to adopt a growth mindset as well. Now I am being asked to revisit my plan and incorporate new knowledge into a revised and refined version.
In the above TED Talk, Angela Lee Duckworth, American academic, psychologist, and popular science author, describes the importance of grit in education and in life. As a psychologist, she has studied the common factors that will determine a person’s success. A measurable common factor was always grit or the perseverance to finish what a person has started. She ends the talk with the question how do we teach our students grit? The answer is that there has yet to be an answer other than encouraging the growth mindset. Teach your students that failure does not mean the end of the road and they have the option to keep going and finish what they have started.
According to the Association for Psychological Sciences, adopting a growth mindset alone is not enough for growth to occur. Using two meta-analyses, a study showed that there was no strong correlation between a growth mindset alone and higher academic achievement. This begs the question, how can you use a growth mindset to lead to higher academic achievement as well as instill grit within your students to encourage lifelong success?
A Nurturing Environment and the Power of Yet
A few things need to be considered in order for the growth mindset to fully take root in an organization and within an individual. First of all, the growth mindset has to be fully incorporated into the learning environment. In order for students to begin adopting this mindset, the teachers, parents, and administration needs to be fully on board and have the mindset themselves. The learning environment needs to be nurturing, forgiving, and encouraging. A student needs to be able to fail and learn from the mistake instead of being stuck in a state of failure. Carol Dweck, the psychologist behind the growth mindset, emphasizes the power of YET. Instead of being told they have failed or do not understand something, students are told they do not YET understand and encouraged to keep working at it.
Importance of Modeling
As I stated above, a huge part of my student’s adopting a growth mindset will be myself adopting a growth mindset. I try and be as transparent as possible with my students while still remaining at a professional level. My administration encourages all teachers to voice their emotions to students so that students learn about emotional regulation via modeling. I can also do this with a growth mindset. In times where I fail as a teacher, or face setbacks, etc. I can model the growth mindset to my students by continuing this transparency with my students. All too often adults are seen as and made to be seen as perfect by children. I do not think I realized this wasn’t true until I became an adult. By creating an environment of respect and kindness in the classroom, I will be able to share highs and lows with my students so they see in a healthy environment it is all a part of life.
This is probably one of my most progressive principles in my classroom. Since I work at a private school, I have the luxury of avoiding state testing. This does not mean that my students are not asked to display what they know but I always offer many avenues of displaying content knowledge. It is a known fact that everyone has a different style of learning so I do not judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. When it comes to the end of a unit, I offer a variety of ways a student can show me their mastery of a subject. I offer a test for those that do best with testing. I offer more artistic options for my creative students such as a presentation, a video assignment, or an art project. I also offer the option to write an essay on what has been learned. Depending on the subject, there are many ways that my students are asked to show me what they know and they have the freedom to choose what would show their knowledge best. This freedom teaches responsibility and gives them a voice in their learning. It also allows me to understand the student better by learning their strengths. This freedom also gives my students confidence and motivation to learn knowing that they will not have to take a one size fits all test. By being able to use this method of assessment in my classroom, there have been many positive outcomes one of which including encouraging the growth mindset.
Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth – YouTube. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8
Sisk, V. F., Burgoyne, A. P., Sun, J., Butler, J. L., & Macnamara, B. N. (2018). To What Extent and Under Which Circumstances Are Growth Mind-Sets Important to Academic Achievement? Two Meta-Analyses. Psychological Science, 29(4), 549–571. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617739704
The power of believing that you can improve | Carol Dweck – YouTube. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X0mgOOSpLU