Growth mindset. That phrase again. Last week we spoke about the importance of growth mindset, drawing on Carol Dweck’s work on fixed and growth mindsets.
We know that a child believing their intelligence can be changed is a key indicator of success in school. Therefore, this week, we are sharing our top 3 tips for encouraging a growth mindset in children.
1) Don’t talk about growth mindset in isolation
Sitting your child down and telling them about what it means to have a growth mindset is not going to transform their world in an instant. A longer term approach will ensure your child reaps the benefits of a growth mindset, with their attitude starting to reflect your attitude.
To start embedding good practice at home, you could design a ‘growth mindset’ board to display some growth mindset phrases. You can get a selection of these by signing up to our newsletter.
2) Use of appropriate language
Dweck’s research indicates that views on intelligence are influenced in part by the language they are surrounded by.
When providing praise, focusing on the process rather than the result or person is a step in the right direction.
This means using phrases such as ‘thank you for your effort on that task’ rather than ‘well done on getting all those questions correct’ to start changing what is seen as valuable. Over time, your child will start to prize perseverance over correctness, building the resilience necessary for success going forward.
Importantly, it means avoiding phrases such as: ‘Not everyone is good at maths — I never understood it’ and instead focusing on ‘how they may not be good at maths YET.’
Indeed, the word ‘yet’ is truly powerful in helping to foster a growth mindset. You can hear more about the power of yet by watching this video:
3) Value mistakes & challenge
Growth mindset theory illustrates how mistakes are an opportunity to learn. You could use these occasions to remind children that everytime they learn something new, including why they got something wrong, their brain grows! Rewarding children who spot their mistakes will take you another step closer to embedding a growth mindset. Indeed, some parents have taken the step of making banners with the title: ‘It’s ok to make mistakes’ to help change their child’s attitude.
Through all this, challenges should be seen as an opportunity for growth. Instead of focusing on carrying out tasks in areas your child is comfortable with, encourage your child to move outside of their comfort zone to attempt new things. Of course there will be some challenge involved, but this is good!
You could ask the question: ‘Did you have any fabulous struggles today?’ to encourage your child to view challenge through a positive lense, allowing their brain to get even bigger!
We hope that these insights have been helpful. We’d love to see how you are encouraging a growth mindset at home. Tweet us at @matr.org — and let us know your thoughts.
Find yourself baffled by the maths terms that are mentioned in your child’s school? Take a look at our Maths Dictionary For Parents!