Your Children Can Learn Anything: Growth Mindset Basics

Growth Mindset for Parents                                 

Parents need to learn what a growth mindset is, why it’s important, and best practices to support their children in a quest to become the “best they can be”. Learning for all of us just doesn’t happen because we are born smart or not. Learning is a life-long process that can be shaped by growing our brains over time just like we develop and grow other muscles through deliberate exercise and nurturing.

New research shows that parents beliefs and the way they talk about abilities and learning can have powerful effects on their kids’ beliefs. Certain types of seemingly positive praise like “You’re smart at this!” can backfire and make children more likely to avoid challenges or give up in the future when something is difficult.

Fortunately, the same research also shows that there are many things that we can do to help children develop into resilient learners.

Stanford University’s professor Carol Dweck has spent decades studying how people think about intelligence. Dweck and her colleagues have found that people tend to hold one of two very different perspectives about intelligence. One perspective is called a “fixed mindset”. That’s the belief that intelligence is fixed at birth and doesn’t change or changes very little with practice. It’s the belief that intelligence is like eye color. You’re stuck with whatever you’re born with.

The other perspective is called a “growth mindset”. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence improves through study, deliberative practice and effort. In other words, people with a growth mindset think intelligence is like a muscle that grows stronger with training.

For children with a “fixed mindset”, the classroom can be a difficult and unwelcoming place. They see school as the place where their abilities are evaluated and worth is judge, not as a place where their abilities are developed and failures are seen as challenges to overcome. Their goal in school tends to be to show that they are smart or at least to avoid looking dumb. For them, mistakes are a sign that they lack talent and god given ability.

For children with a “growth mindset”, the classroom is a more exciting, fun and less judgmental place. They believe they can develop their ability, and they understand that the classroom is just the place to do that. Children with a growth mindset tend to see challenges as opportunities to grow because they understand that they can improve their abilities by challenging and pushing themselves. If something is hard, they have to put in more effort and find new ways to learn and push themselves to get better.

Children who understand that the brain can get smarter—who have a growth mindset—do better in school because they have an empowering perspective on learning. They focus on improvement and see effort as a way to build their abilities. They see failure as a natural part of the learning process. In contrast, students who have a fixed mindset—those who believe that intelligence is fixed—tend to focus on judgment. They’re more concerned with proving that they are smart or hiding that they’re not. And that means they tend to avoid situations in which they might fail or might have to work hard.

Many studies show that children who have a growth mindset respond differently in challenging situations and do better in school over time.

Want to learn more on Growth Mindset visit this wonderful site that summarizes studies from praise to achievement scores for children with fixed or growth mindsets. https://www.mindsetkit.org/growth-mindset-parents

Or http://mindsetscholarsnetwork.org/about-the-network/

 

 

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