Growth Mindset...what's all the hype?

Friday, July 21, 2017

growth mindset - how to implement into your classroom, ideas, tips on growth mindset

Growth mindset - another 'buzz' word in education right now right along with rigorous, data, scaffolding, brain break, etc.  Let me tell you a little about growth mindset and how it changed my classroom community last year.

Growth mindset is defined as believing that most basic abilities that we were born with or have grown into can be further developed through dedication and hard work.  This mindset believes brains and talent are just the starting point and the sky's the limit.  This concept was developed by Dweck in 2006 and in recent years schools and educators have taken notice and implemented her ideas.

Last summer I did a little reading up on it and thought I would give it a try by introducing the concept to my students.  I did it in a very cheerleader, peppy kind of way.  My thought was if I was excited and into it they would 'buy into' it.  It worked!  YAY me!  I teach third grade so it wasn't too hard.  Let me tell you why I'm so glad I did this from DAY 1.  I had a student - we will call him Robert.  He came into my room with a long response from the previous teacher's ( pink's and blue's ).  I think most of you know what I'm talking about....this blue card is what prompted me to write this quote last year BTW:

teacher quote, give each student a fresh start, inspirational

Back to my story - this young man had a very fixed mindset.  This is the definition of a fixed mindset:  the belief that their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent are simply fixed traits.  They also believe that talent alone dictates their success without effort.  They often make excuses for their failures creating a self fulfilling prophecy - " I'll never be able to do math because I've always been terrible at it."  This self talk is so destructive and halts their learning process. 
This young man had self talk that broke my heart, he thought he was terrible at everything and was known to throw a pencil and run out of the classroom to deal with his stress.
From day 1 I spoke about Growth and Fixed mindsets and how our class was taking on the growth mindset route.  I spoke a lot about being 'big kids' as in third grade my students move to the big kid hallway.  I said things like, " we are in the big kid hallway and this is what is expected of us..."  My students rose to the occasion and I loved hearing them 'check themselves or their friends.'  For instance, I heard things like, " no, you can do this remember we have a growth mindset in our class."  " You got this!"  The positivity was flowing like joke!  My class last year was the most positive, loving, encouraging classroom environment I've ever had - AND - I'm a 23 year veteran.  The shift in how we spoke to one another and how we looked at challenges was overwhelming to watch a good way of course.  I would get choked up at my desk listening to my students encourage this little guy that struggled so much. 
The best moment I think was before state tests ( which c'mon it's hard for anyone to be positive around that time right?!?!  )  No one says, I love state tests! 
This little guy came up and told me how nervous he was for the state tests.  He said, " I'll probably just fail!"  I said, " Robert, you know better than that of course you're going to rock them.  Just do your best and focus on how far you've come this year. "  He smiled really big and said, " You're right Mrs. Moore, I've got this! "  It made my heart melt.  This is a child that never said anything positive regarding school since kindergarten.  
If the only reason I incorporated growth mindset last year was to reach him then it was all worth it, because let me tell you - He changed!  Everyone on campus noticed his mental/behavioral change.  It was amazing to watch happen over the year.
I'm sold, I wish I knew about this years ago and I'm looking forward to teaching it to my students every year.  I'm all about building a classroom community and building relationships first...always have been.  This goes right along with that philosophy and fit it perfectly with how I run my classroom.  If  you'd like to learn more you can read about it  { here }

You can grab some growth mindset products to get you started here as well.

growth mindset printables, craftivity, ideas to implement into your classroom

growth mindset reflection printables

I just want to challenge you to give it a try in your classroom this year, I'm certain it will be a game changer for you like it was for me.  Best of luck!