What is Growth Mindset and Why is it Important?
A mindset is a view that people hold about themselves.
Having a growth mindset means that you believe you can get better at things through hard work, dedication and persistence.
A fixed mindset means that you don’t believe you have the capacity to get better at things; that basic qualities like talent and intelligence are fixed and hard work won’t change this.
The mindset you have can have a significant impact on your lifelong achievements; your ability to adapt and change; your self-perception; and your resilience.
Someone with a growth mindset will bounce back after setbacks, be resilient, and have a love of learning. Someone with a fixed mindset may give up when problems arise, or simply not try because they don’t believe they have the ability.
It is important that children learn how to develop a growth mindset because it will help them to become more persistent in their work and hobbies. When children have a growth mindset, rather than giving up, they are more likely to try something new.
Children who have a fixed mindset may struggle to reach their full potential because they struggle to adapt when life gets tough. For example, these children are more likely to make comments like "I'll never be able to spell," or “I’m no good at maths”.
Click on the links below to find out more about Growth Mindset
How Can You Help Your Child Develop a Growth Mindset?
- Set high expectations
Often, lower expectations can feed positively into self-esteem – and there is some real value in this - but if we set high expectations (although not unrealistic ones), we will foster self-belief and will encourage children to push their abilities a little bit further.
- Encourage your child not to give up
This can be easier said than done as once children find something difficult or frustrating, they will want to give up and say they can’t do it. Instead of letting this happen, help your children understand that it is a positive thing to be learning something new as it means they are expanding their skills. Provide support and assistance that will enable them to succeed (but don’t do it for them) at the same time as building their tenacity and ability to persevere.
- Embrace Mistakes
The prospect of making mistakes can be a daunting and scary thing for children, particularly the shame they feel which they may associate with it. This could stop them from giving something a go in the first place, which means they might never reach their potential or broaden their horizons .Instead, let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes – we all do it! Making mistakes is how we learn. We embrace the mistakes and use them as opportunities to learn what went right and what went wrong, to know for next time. Then encourage your child to have another go.
- Reframe Thinking
Observe your children when they are completing certain activities and tasks and listen to the language they use. Do they say phrases such as 'I’m rubbish at this!' or 'I can’t do it!'?
If they do, encourage them to say more positive phrases such as 'This is hard right now but with a bit more practice, it will get easier!' and 'You’re on the right track, keep going!’
Positive self-talk is an effective way to help children re-frame their thinking and understand the impact of self-talk on their confidence, resilience, and overall mindset.
- Reward their achievements and/or attitudes
A great way to keep children motivated for practising a growth mindset is to praise and reward them whenever they engage in this type of thinking.
“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence”.
- Carol Dweck
Do you want to find out more? Then click on the link below to access a free online course (that will take approximately 30 minutes to complete). It has been developed in conjunction with Raise The Bar and provides information for parents about what growth mindset is; why it is important; and best practices to support children in developing this learning belief. (NB it is American, so spellings and grammar will be American in structure)