In order to ensure a successful course and help promote students becoming lifelong learners, it becomes necessary to implement a plan in which students will develop a growth mindset. The growth mindset, coined by Dr. Carol Dweck, is the belief that one is always capable of learning something new if one approaches the problem as a fun challenge and continually persists until barriers are broken down and the problem is solved. The growth mindset has become widely accepted by educators because it is backed by scientific data, which shows students who adopt a growth mindset continually outperform those who do not (RSA Animate, 2015). In addition to students performing better, teachers will likely increase student engagement, decrease bad behavior, and remove cheating if students adopt a growth mindset. Therefore, in order to foster a lifelong journey of learning and help prepare my students for a dynamic future, I am implementing a plan to incorporate the development of the growth mindset in my students.
My plan is comprised of three phases to help students adopt and maintain a growth mindset. The phases consist of an introduction, an application, and continuation. The introduction will make students aware of the differences between growth and fixed mindsets then have them observe examples in their lives. To accomplish this I will begin with a class discussion about the growth mindset and how I have adopted it and continue to use it. I will then tell specific examples of how the growth mindset has helped me overcome challenges and made my life better. Next, I will turn the conversation over to students and have them share examples from their lives of how having a growth mindset has helped them. Next, the students will write a challenge they are currently facing and a goal for the year of one way they will implement the growth mindset to overcome the challenge. I believe this is a great way to start because it has students reflect on observations and life struggles to realize the meaning and impact of having a growth mindset. I also want students to be aware that life continually throws challenges at them and they need a plan to overcome them. By having students recognize a challenge that they immediately face, they will better realize this, be able to track the progress of applying growth mindset methods, and see the impact of how a growth mindset overcomes challenges.
Next, in order for students to truly adopt growth mindsets it will need to be continually modeled and they will need to be given time to practice its application. To effectively model the growth mindset, students will need to be talked through specific examples of using growth mindset tactics to overcome challenges. It will also be necessary to show students that it is acceptable to fail, but not acceptable to give up. Students will greatly benefit from seeing a teacher fail and working through their failure to become successful. This is the ultimate modeling of having a growth mindset and is a great example of the idea of ‘yet’. As in, I haven’t mastered it yet, but I will if I stick with it.
Finally, the last phase of adopting a growth mindset in my students will involve coaching and encouraging students through problems as well as praising students on using growth mindset processes and their continual use. This will require the teacher to check in on students’ goals and the progress they are making towards overcoming their challenges. This will need to be nurturing, sincere, and equal in nature if it is to have an impact on all students. The teacher will need to help students devise plans to overcome obstacles, recalculate plans, coach them along the way, discuss shortcomings, celebrate progress, and create new goals. This will help the students maintain motivation to complete goals, show students it is a lifelong process and students will need ‘grit’ to be successful in life. Grit is a term used by Dr. Angela Duckworth to describe continual perseverance and passion (Duckworth, 2013). As students complete goals we will celebrate the process and grit it took to complete them and the fact that we are replacing old goals with new, more rigorous goals. If we are to have students continually improve themselves by setting goals, applying themselves, not giving up, working until the goal is completed, reflecting on the process, and setting new rigorous goals, then we will have very successful students and the growth mindset will not be just an assignment or a fad.
Not only will teachers be helping students, teachers will also enjoy the benefits of increasing student engagement, decreasing behavior problems, and removing the need for students to cheat if successfully implementing a growth mindset plan. A basic principle of a growth mindset is the belief that one is just as capable as others to learn something, all one has to do is set their mind to it. If the teacher provides the proper environment and encouragement, then students will adopt this principle and believe in themselves without fear of looking bad in front of their peers. As a result, students will try harder for longer periods of time to learn something that challenges them. This is increased engagement and will lesson behavior problems within the classroom. An additional benefit is students will also be less likely to cheat. Because the growth mindset focuses on mastery of learning, students adopt the idea of yet instead of obtaining a grade. This places students in charge of their learning and removes the threat of cheating for a grade because grades are no longer as important to the student as is lesson mastery. Teachers will need to give proper feedback and guidance along the way to help promote the idea of yet and lesson mastery instead of obtaining grades. However, if the teachers act as a facilitator and guide students toward lesson mastery will likely give up the need to cheat.
In conclusion, in order to foster a lifelong journey of learning and help prepare my students for a dynamic future, I am implementing a plan to incorporate the development of the growth mindset in my students. Students, who adopt a growth mindset, will hold the belief that they are always capable of learning something new if they approach the problem as a challenge and continually persist until the problem is solved. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on having a growth mindset persistently shows students who adopt a growth mindset show far more growth and development than those who do not. The ability to learn and to achieve goals is paramount to students’ future success because the work force demands students be able to adapt and grow as new technologies and skills are developed. Thank you for reading my plan to implement a growth mindset in the classroom. I hope you are left inspired and affirmed the growth mindset can have a positive impact for you and your students.
Dweck, Carol S. (2008) Mindset: the new psychology of success New York : Ballantine Books.
Duckworth, Angela. (May 9, 2013). Grit: the power of passion and perseverance. Found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8&feature=youtu.be.
Harapnuik, Dwayne. (April 5, 2013). Fixed vs growth mindset = print vs digital information age. Found at: http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=3627.
Inspired4business. (May 15, 2015). #FridayInspiration I can. Found at: https://inspired4business.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/fridayinspiration-i-can/. Accessed on 7/7/17.