In a fixed mindset, a student believes their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. Looking around schools today, fixed mindsets are all too common.
How many poor grades does it take for a student to earn before he or she has fixed mindset? How many classrooms are there where the student came in eager to learn, eager to try, to experiment, to be fearless only to leave certain he or she had reached the limits of her success?
A fixed mindset does not need to be a permanent mindset. A mindset can be changed with encouragement, reinforcement and support. All of us in education have an obligation to embrace a growth mindset not only for ourselves but also for all of our students.
When we fail at something or when you students don’t master a new skill, the response should be, “You’ve failed.” Rather, we should react with, “You don’t have it yet.” Yet can be a powerful word. It gives the gift of opportunity to improve.
“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest,” said Alfred Binet.
“A growth mindset is so important because it means our intelligence isn’t fixed,” said Robin Kanaan, National Director of Teaching and Learning for KnowledgeWorks. “Our intelligence can be grown or developed with persistence, effort and a focus on learning.”
We have an obligation to gift each one of our students with the chance to become better. When we can foster an environment where everyone has a growth mindset, leaving us open to struggle, trial, and failure, but also triumph.
Guest post by Roslyn Valentine, a Technical Assistance Coach for KnowledgeWorks.