Growth Mindset – The Secret to Academic Success!
As we teach children to grow and achieve everything they aspire for in life, it is important to introduce them to a growth mindset. Before we learn how to foster a growth mindset in the classroom, let’s first get clarity as to what a growth mindset is.
A growth mindset is the belief that students’ efforts can help them boost their intelligence. Carol Dweck, Psychologist and Professor at Stanford University, confirms this fact in her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Difference Between Fixed and Growth Mindsets
To understand the growth mindset better, it is important to differentiate it from a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset makes an individual believe that failure is an unchangeable incapacity. On the other hand, a growth mindset allows individuals to see an opportunity in every failure they experience. This kind of mindset helps people try new things, take risks and be innovative. According to Dr Dweck, mindsets are not absolute in any individual. For instance, those with a growth mindset for art or sports may not have a fixed mindset for academics. There’s a mix of both mindsets in an individual. However, we can develop an inclination towards a growth mindset if we put in some effort.
Effects of Growth Mindset on Education
From the above discussion, it is understood that a growth mindset is the way forward for students to progress in their careers. Teaching students to have a growth mindset contributes to their ability to think out of the box. In Dr Dweck’s research, she found that when students were appreciated for their efforts rather than their intelligence, they were more proactive in taking up newer challenges. This eventually led to improved grades. A growth mindset allows students to work according to their abilities, identify their limitations and overcome them with their efforts.
Helping Students Develop a Growth Mindset
Now that we know that a growth mindset can transform students’ lives for the better, let’s see how we can develop it among students. Positive reinforcement is the key to helping students embrace a growth mindset. Teach them to look for an opportunity in every failure instead of abandoning the task and moving on to another one. Encourage them to look at the possibility of using different methods in achieving the same thing. Teach them to view success or failure as journeys instead of perceiving them as destinations. Finally, reward them for their ideas and efforts irrespective of the outcomes. This will encourage them to continue putting in effort without trying to achieve the desired outcome.
What Do Other Studies Say?
Apart from Dr Carol Dweck, there are many scholars who have delved deep into this subject. Their findings throw more light on the effects of a growth mindset on students. A study conducted by the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2018 shows that there is a great difference in the academic performance of students with a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset. Another study conducted on 6,00,000 students from 78 countries shows that the latter performed way better than the former in science, maths and reading. This information must motivate students and teachers to inculcate a growth mindset.
Adopt a Positive Vocabulary
To enjoy the benefits of a growth mindset and help students adopt it, shift to positive vocabulary. In all the studies mentioned above, it is said that adding the word ‘yet’ to negative sentences like ‘This is a hard task to do’ has a great bearing on the success of the task. Such positive words encourage students to keep trying one method or another until they find a ‘suitable solution’ to the problem they’re facing. Help students focus on concrete results instead of quick ones. Teach them not to look down on mistakes as embarrassments, but to embrace them as lessons for success. It will make the young minds fall into the habit of constructive thinking with a growth mindset.
Let’s awaken the growth mindset we already have within us. All we need is to consciously apply the concept in our day-to-day lives and watch life transform into a positive, successful and happy journey. Now, you know the secret to success. Make good use of it! When are you starting?