By: Trish Hayes
, 6th grade Math
This semester 6th grade students have spent time during their advisory, math, ELA and ADLE classes talking about how to cultivate a growth mindset. These conversations are based on the research of Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford who states that there are two types of mindsets that impact how we confront challenges in school and in life: fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. A fixed mindset tells us that our abilities are innate and unalterable while a growth mindset reflects a belief that we can cultivate our skills over time through effort and perseverance.
Students have been reflecting on the ways in which their mindsets can support or complicate their learning processes. Our hope is that these conversations will help students grow into people who embrace challenges and view mistakes as opportunities to grow, instead of letting fear of failure or embarrassment stop them from trying new things.
So how can you, as a parent, support your child in developing a growth mindset? Dweck suggests that it requires more than just blindly praising effort. She recommends helping children to notice what types of experiences and environments trigger them to fall into a fixed mindset, since none of us has a growth mindset about everything all of the time. For example, if your student feels that they “just aren’t that good” at art or math, you can encourage them to notice their mindset and challenge the assumption that they cannot change or grow if they try. One powerful way to support their growth is to help students identify strategies that lead to success. So if your student continually struggles in a subject, ask them what they are learning from their setbacks, what they see as their next steps in developing their skills, and help them to identify resources they can tap in to for support. Contacting your child’s classroom teacher would be a great first step in seeking out these resources.
You can also encourage your student by sharing some of the areas in your life that cause you to have a fixed mindset and trying to model the kind of perseverance and fearlessness you want them to develop. Let’s work together to empower our young people to relish a good challenge both inside and outside of the classroom. When they learn to do that, they can change themselves now, and change their world in the future! For more information, please click here