Teaching growth mindset in the classroom is a critical skill you don’t want your students to lack. Today I’ll be explaining my growth mindset lesson plans and the growth mindset resources I use in my classroom.
What is Growth Mindset?
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck, 2015)
One of the biggest things we as teachers encounter is a student with a fixed mindset. They believe they aren’t smart. The practice you give them feels useless to them and perpetuates the cycle of “feeling stupid.” How can we change our student’s mindsets? How can we get them to understand that they have their whole life ahead of them and they are limiting themselves? I don’t have a full answer for you yet, but I have a place for you to start.
Growth Mindset in Schools
Early in my career, I read a growth mindset article titled “You Can Grow Your Intelligence.” It discusses how the brain is a muscle filled with neurons. When we learn new things and challenge ourselves, these neurons multiply and get stronger. As the brain gets stronger, “impossible” things become easier.
I always read this article at the beginning of the year and during
For example, a student who learns to speak 2 languages when they’re very young has stronger neurons in that regard. However, another student can learn to speak both languages very well if they continue working at it and give it enough time.
A classic example of this is Michael Jordan. Despite being cut from his basketball team for not being good enough, he went on to become one of the greatest basketball players of all times.
What’s crazy is our students miss out on the chance to grow a stronger brain because they think they can’t, or it’s too hard. This is why a growth mindset curriculum is so critical.
The Problem with a Fixed Mindset
The problem with a fixed mindset is an obvious one. Our students are not fulfilling their potential. This isn’t just an individual issue, but a worldly one. Imagine if classrooms were implementing growth mindset lessons in the classroom starting from Kindergarten through 12th Grade? Our students wouldn’t be limiting themselves and it could ultimately change their future. Imagine a world where all our students actually believed in their ability to learn.
Having a Positive Mindset
This also directly relates to having a positive mindset. People think thousands of thoughts a day and many have a “habit” of thinking negatively. However, it’s JUST a neural pathway. We can rewire our brains and choose a new more positive thought.
If a person has low self
Trouble sticking with going to the gym/eating healthy?…build a new pathway.
My point is… we have the ability to change things in our lives by simply practicing and being patient. However, it requires that commitment despite the obstacles, much like breaking any other habit. The key difference is this habit has been built over a lifetime. If we can start growth mindset exercises and begin
I think it’s important for our students to understand this as well as ourselves. They need to believe in themselves and know that with time they will grow in any way they desire, as long as they are dedicated and we are there to teach them. They can’t learn this important lesson without us first explaining it. We also need to believe in ourselves, take action, and be patient. The growth lies in the struggle. Build that new pathway.
How to Start Implementing Growth Mindset Lessons
- Discuss It – After reading You Can Grow Your Intelligence with my students, it opened the door to a lot of discussions. I explained to them what it means to have a growth mindset and how it directly correlates with success. We also reviewed why having a fixed mindset is harmful and it holds us back from reaching our full potential.
- Model It – We spend 7+ hours a day with our students. We have a greater impact than we think we do. Throughout the day, I show students how to have a growth mindset. I kindly fix their wording when they say phrases like “I just can’t do this” or “I’m not smart.” Eventually, your students will start helping each other, which was especially rewarding.
- Praise Them – I always say “celebrate what you want to see more of.” Positive reinforcement goes far in the classroom.
Other Teaching Growth Mindset Resources
In a previous blog post, I outlined simple ways to start teaching growth mindset in your classroom. I also included my growth mindset book recommendations.
You can also check out the Carol Dweck Growth Mindset Ted Talk or Class Dojo on Youtube. They both provide a lot of useful information and growth mindset tips you can use in your classroom. If you are looking for a month to month guide for teaching growth mindset, check out Annie Brock’s series.
FREE goal setting and vision board activity
Positive Mindset Activities & Journal Prompts (Great for morning meetings)
Affirmation posters, cards and journal pages
Strategies for Empowering your Students
In this blog post, I’ve explained the importance of teaching a growth mindset and the effects of being positive. However, if you’re looking for strategies and activities you can use to empower your students, I’ve got you. You can grab my free guide: 7 Easy Ways to Empower Your Students.
I promise by implementing some of these strategies you’ll start to see a shift in your classroom and your students will start believing in their ability to learn. This subtle change can ultimately impact the rest of their school year and maybe even their life.
Ashley at The Calmish Teacher is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
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