How To Teach A Growth Mindset In The Classroom

The ‘Growth Mindset’ has become a regular topic of conversation within schools, and it’s a challenge for teachers to help their students fully grasp the concept. The Growth Mindset as it has come to be known, is the brainchild of social and developmental psychologist Dr Carol Dweck, who began studying attitudes regarding failure, talent and its perceived origins among young children in schools.

She explains students’ mindsets and the way they perceive their abilities fall somewhere between two mindsets:

Fixed Mindset

Pupils believe their skills, talents and overall intelligence are fixed. They may resist learning and trying to improve, typically feeling embarrassed when they are unable to understand something.

Growth Mindset

Students have the belief they can develop their skills and talents through effort and persistence, as well as taking on feedback. They generally believe they can improve through hard work and trying new learning methods.

If you can lean students towards the Growth Mindest concept, Dweck writes you can improve the level and frequency of their success, because their mindset plays a prominent role in self-motivation.

This leads us to the question “How can I teach a growth mindset in the classroom?” Here are our top tips for developing a growth mindset amongst students.

1. The Power of The Word ‘Yet’

Adding the word ‘yet’ at the end of a sentence can change disparaging sentences into positive ones, promoting growth.

Take these examples and see yourself putting ‘yet’ at the end of them…

  • “I don’t understand algebra”
  • “I can’t read that many pages”
  • “I don’t know how to make this chemical reaction”

Using this linguistic trick will go some way in helping your students learn the Growth Mindset.

2. Create Success DIaries

Throughout the school year or term, pupils may forget their achievements and how far they’ve come. Success diaries can be implemented in your school planner where each day or week, students set aside some time to write what they’ve done well (WWW) and anything they’ve learnt in the day.

Reinforcing students’ achievements can lead to greater confidence and belief that can learn and understand new things. Get in contact to order your bespoke success planner.

3. Use Diverse Teaching Methods

Every teacher knows that you can’t use a one-size-fits-all approach when teaching a class full of students. Using different tactics and principles will allow you to present pupils in a way they can understand the Growth Mindset. 

Use different content ideas like videos, presentations and demonstrations to fortify your point and this will help children grasp the concept in an imaginative way. Different processes like letting the class work individually, in small groups or classroom-wide can also help teach the Growth Mindset at school.

4. Limiting Praise For Intelligence And Effort

Praising students is by no means a bad thing to do, but doing it too often means you can unintentionally discourage growth – Dweck says, “complimenting intelligence can reinforce it as a fixed trait”. For example, if you tell a pupil to “just keep trying” when their hard work doesn’t pay off, they may feel incapable of doing any better.

Instead of praising effort and talent, you can instead adjust the approach you make when giving feedback…

Fixed Mindset

  • You tried your best and that’s the best you can do
  • Well done! You’re so smart!

Growth Mindset

  • Don’t worry if you don’t get it straight away. Focus on what you can do to improve next time.
  • Well done! All that revision paid off, you should keep it up!

Using these methods in the classroom will help your students adopt the Growth Mindset and let them prosper now and in the future. If you’re still unsure of what the Growth Mindset concept is, you can visit our blog titled What is the Growth Mindset?

As well as providing tips on how to enhance your teaching abilities, Penstripe also create a range of bespoke planners for both students and teachers – perfect for the success diary mentioned earlier! To see our other school solutions, click here.


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