Mindset is a word that is coming up more and more when talking about education. As it is becoming so common it is important for us to learn the appropriate teaching strategies to help our children have a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. A person with a fixed mindset believes that they are born with a certain amount of ability and brains that’s that. A person with a growth mindset believes that a person can develop through hard work, resilience and effort.
Here’s an example of growth mindset in practice within in my classroom. I have a very simple strategy and it’s one that you could try at home. Adding the word YET.
By adding this small but powerful word to the end of a negative sentence it transforms the meaning. Take for example the sentence “I’m not good at this.” This is a very tough sentence to digest if you’re a young child as this sentence is full of blame, self-blame. It screams I’m not good and it’s my fault. By adding the word yet to this sentence it makes the sentence less about blame and more about the learning opportunity: “I’m not good at this yet.” By adding the word yet it has now opened the child’s, or person’s mind to the potential learning opportunity available in a given situation. By presenting the learning opportunity to the scenario it gives the child the option to either learn and succeed or learn and fail (and therefore learn some more).
Along with a growth mindset, children need to be taught the appropriate coping strategies to deal with failure. They need to become aware that failure is a journey, it’s not the destination. When we fail at something we are learning what we need to focus on. As an parent/educator it’s important to remember (and teach) that although everybody make mistakes; we are not the mistakes. To ensure that children embrace challenges, and their mistakes, we need to ensure that they’re reflecting on each challenging situation and not blaming themselves for the mistakes they’ve made, or will inevitably make. So do your best to add yet to the end of a negative sentence that you find your child, or yourself using to help grow your mindset.
Stephen Flood- Life Skills Academy