Great learning has the power to change how we think about ourselves, our relationships, and our role in the world. For both students and teachers, one of the most significant impacts on a person’s learning is their mindset, or self-perception.
A student’s mindset about their role in learning can profoundly affect the quality of their learning, skill development, relationships, achievement, and success in other areas of life. That’s why when we’re designing our resources, we focus on helping teachers develop two types of mindsets: Growth mindsets and Outward mindsets.
Students with growth mindsets believe that intelligence isn’t static and that they’re capable of learning and improving. These students see effort as the key to their success, don’t take feedback personally, and don’t get discouraged when they receive it. For them, challenges are opportunities for growth.
We know teachers can help their students to develop a growth mindset, and we leverage that understanding when we create our resources. Here are some great ways teachers can encourage their students along these lines:
- Recognize, celebrate and reward hard work and effort, not just success.
- Encourage positive thinking by helping students reframe their struggles. If a student says, “I’m not good at this,” help them reframe the talk to, “I really struggle with this topic, but if I keep working at it I’m sure I’ll get better.”
- Be honest and transparent about your own experiences. If a lesson didn’t go well, try to figure out why and what you can do to improve things next time.
- Give your students regular, ongoing feedback that provides them with constructive steps they can take.
- Try new things yourself. Show your students that you’re not afraid of challenges, and that you’re willing to work hard at new tasks to master them.
And here are a couple specific resources that teachers can use to encourage a growth mindset in their classrooms:
A student with an outward mindset is curious about others’ lives. They’re helpful when working with their peers, are highly empathetic, and are responsive to group dynamics. They enjoy working collaboratively, are focused on achieving shared goals, and often ask questions such as: How can I support this person to be successful?
To help students develop outward mindsets, teachers can:
- Lead by example. Actively engage your students with genuine inquiries, and show them that you’re willing to support them however they need.
- When assigning group projects, encourage students to focus on what they can provide to their group, rather than what they can take from it.
- Ask your fellow teachers what they need and how you can support them in their classes.
- Be present and listen to your students, their parents, and your peers.
Here are a several resources teachers can use to encourage an outward mindset in their classrooms:
Remember, a student’s mindset has the power to change how deeply they engage with their learning and their peers. Helping them develop growth and outward mindsets can radically transform their own self understanding and dramatically improve learning outcomes.