A student’s mindset can be a transformative presence. But it’s a double-edged mentality.
It can be the key to success, or a limitation that follows them into adulthood.
The things you say, and the messages you convey to students all help to form their mindset.
So, do you create situations that make them question their own abilities? Or do you nurture their natural talents?
Learn how the mindset is formed and the impact a growth mindset for students can have.
How Is Mindset Formed?
Everyone is born with an innate passion for growth. Babies don’t worry if they have enough skill or talent to start walking.
They charge ahead.
And if they fall? They don’t wonder if they’re good enough. Failure doesn’t stop its effort to develop.
So, where does it all go wrong?
We are constantly bombarded with messages from the outside. Family, friends, and acquaintances all have opinions. And that can help shape our mindset.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The digital age has brought influences from new sectors. All of a sudden, what the media, politicians, and strangers say on social media have a new power of influence.
By far, the biggest influence on how mindset is formed comes closer to home, though.
Parents and teachers play a large role in shaping young minds. And the messages you give children will carry through to adulthood.
Creating situations where a child questions their abilities or worth may help encourage a fixed mindset. And this is far from ideal.
Important messages that shape a young mindset
Young students take their cues from the adults around them. In fact, as children work to develop their own mindset definition, everything they see and hear around them can have an impact.
Take a look at these comments:
- You’re so smart! I can’t believe you learned that so quickly!
- Look at how he plays! He may be the next Beethoven.
- You didn’t even need to study and you got an A!
All those praises seem harmless. Even encouraging. However, according to psychologist Carol Dweck, they send a message about success.
What parents and teachers think are encouraging statements may sound different from a child’s perspective.
For example, the first comment sends the message that if they don’t learn quickly, they may not be smart.
The next message may tell a child that expectations are high, and to fail would be to disappoint others.
It may seem like a fine line to walk. Is it possible to encourage without causing pressure?
The answer is: yes. But it may take some practice.
4 Tips to Nurture Growth Mindset for Students
One of the best gifts you can give students is the right mindset.
You saw how some messages can lead to fixed mindset thinking. Now it’s time to take a look at how to encourage a growth mindset for students:
1. Talk about mindsets
If knowledge is power, empower students by teaching them about mindsets. Let them know the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. Encourage a discussion about it.
2. Practice mindful feedback
Listen to the feedback you give to students. Understand that your intention and what they hear may not always match. Ask them for feedback.
3. Encourage reflection
There will be times when your student fails no matter how much hard work they put in.
Rather than offering damaging platitudes, encourage them to reflect on it. Let them assess their performance and adopt a different strategy if needed.
4. Praise the approach, not the effort
Sometimes effort won’t be enough. Don’t focus on how hard a student worked. It may help with self-esteem, but not so much with cultivating a growth mindset.
Instead, talk about strategies that did or didn’t work. Creative problem-solving can help students develop new ways to approach a challenge.
The final thought
“There is no shortcut to becoming a genius.”
–Jon Butcher, Author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Program
Everyone has to put in the time and effort to develop talents and abilities. However, a growth mindset for students can help prepare them for both success and failure.
A growth mindset will open a world of possibilities. Encourage their success and teach them to overcome failure with the right attitude and mindset.
What are some of the ways you encourage the growth mindset in students? Share your thoughts in the comments below.