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What is growth mindset and why is it important?

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You may have heard of the phrase growth mindset, but what does growth mindset actually mean? More importantly, what does growth mindset mean for kids?

There are growth mindset books, definitions and quotes everywhere. To help make sense of it all, we’ll explore what it means and why it is important for your children. Throughout, we will draw on Carol Dweck’s work regarding fixed and growth mindsets.

What is a fixed mindset?

Believing that intelligence cannot be changed in any meaningful way. People are naturally intelligent, it is fixed.

What is a growth mindset?

Believing that intelligence can be developed over time. Through effort and determination, intelligence can grow.

Why should you encourage a growth mindset in your child?

1) Increase your child’s engagement with learning

Children with a fixed mindset are afraid to try new things because they don’t want to look dumb. Their goal is to look smart and avoid tasks they could fail at. Over time, this means they are less likely to enjoy the process of learning because they are more concerned with demonstrating what they already know rather than making the effort to develop new abilities.

Children with a growth mindset view tasks that challenge them as their favourite tasks of all. This positive view of challenge helps to fuel a spirit of curiosity, giving children the confidence to engage fully with the learning process and have fun.

2) Improve your child’s exam results

Dweck’s study followed hundreds of students through their transition from primary to secondary school. She found that those who had a growth mindset achieved higher grades when compared to those with a fixed mindset, despite all starting at a similar level. This is because their goal is to learn, even if that means appearing dumb to their peers when learning something new.

3) Set your child up for life

Einstein wasn’t the man he was when he as born. He developed his ability over his life, seeking challenges to grow his brain. He put in the effort year after year to ensure he kept learning at all costs. Difficulty, he thought, was a positive thing. Something to move towards rather than run away from.

Instilling this philosophy at a young age will ensure your child has the right priorities going forward.

We know that life can be difficult sometimes. If they understand that the price of learning something new means making a few mistakes here and there, they won’t be so bothered about trying to cover them up. Instead, they can focus on becoming who they want to be: growing their brains like little Einsteins!

To find out more about growth mindset take a look at Carol Dweck’s video:

Tweet us @matr_org to let us know your thoughts or to find out more about Matr and how we can help your child in their learning, sign up to our newsletter here. You’ll also gain access to fun and free maths resources to keep your child engaged.

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