Cultivating a Growth Mindset in Your Students

Growth mindset is everywhere in the education world right now, but that doesn't mean it's just a fad. Growth mindset is the idea developed by Carol Dweck that those with the belief that talent and intelligence are malleable, rather than fixed, perform better in school and in life. If we can teach our students that effort and perseverance matter more than inherent intelligence, we will have done a powerful thing. There are many ways to cultivate a growth mindset in your students, from modifying the way you praise your students to modeling it yourself! Here are a few ways you can get started:

Introducing growth vs. fixed mindset is a great lesson for the beginning of the year! Start by explaining that people with growth mindsets know that their brains are always getting smarter. They know that mistakes are simply an opportunity to learn, and that challenges will make their brain smarter. Explain that students can cultivate a growth mindset in themselves simply by changing their words! Create an anchor chart of words and thoughts to encourage a growth mindset.

Another great way to introduce growth mindset at the beginning of the year is to have students set "growth goals" for themselves. My Growth Goals Bulletin Board Kit makes a perfect first week of school activity, as well as an adorable, but meaningful, bulletin board display. 

While it's great to dedicate a whole lesson to growth mindset at the beginning of the year, it can also be helpful to have reminders posted throughout the classroom. My cactus-themed Growth Mindset Posters are perfect if you're looking to print and go, but you could also have students work together to create posters themselves.

Help students to reflect on their use of growth mindset by periodically coming together as a class to discuss challenges, mistakes, and growth. You can also use my Growth Mindset Writing Prompts as morning work or for journals to encourage reflection.

We can help our students develop a growth mindset by praising them for hard work, overcoming obstacles, and learning from mistakes. Avoid praising students for inherent intelligence or talent, instead noting their perseverance in the face of obstacles. In addition to verbal praise, you can also reinforce a growth mindset with these Growth Mindset "Brag Tags." If you don't currently use these incentive tags in your classroom, you can learn more about them here.

One of the most powerful ways to encourage a growth mindset is to model it yourself! When you make a mistake, talk about what happened and what you can learn from it. If the class is struggling with something, talk about how you, as a teacher, need to consider other strategies rather than give up. Here's hoping for a year of growth for you and your students!

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