9 easy steps to develop growth mindset

Boy with binoculars on a scale of books

All teachers will have heard about growth mindset. Most teachers will have had training in it. But how many teachers are actually getting it right in the classroom? Read our latest blog to recap the basic concepts of growth mindset and follow our 9 easy steps to develop growth mindset attitudes in your primary classroom.

What is growth mindset?

A growth mindset refers to an individual who believes they can develop intelligence. The term was coined by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford, who noticed during research that children who believed intelligence is learnt are better at solving problems than those children who think intelligence is innate and fixed. In growth mindset pupils there is an understanding that through effort, good teaching and persistence, talents and abilities can be developed.

Want to do more to develop a culture of growth mindset in your classroom? Follow our 9 easy steps for getting growth mindset right.

9 steps for developing growth mindset

1 – Train teachers and pupils – children need to understand the growth mindset concept as much as teachers do.

2 – Integrate growth mindset into the curriculum – it’s a mistake to teach growth mindset in isolation as part of PSHE or in an assembly. It’s important the growth mindset philosophy is incorporated into the whole curriculum.

3 – Praise a student’s thinking – subtle cues will mould a child’s perception of intelligence. Saying ‘you are so good at maths’ reinforces a fixed mindset. Instead, offer praise about the learning process to encourage a growth mindset – ‘you worked really hard to find the answer.’ Correlate success with effort, not intelligence.

4 – Embrace the word yet – failure is an inevitable part of the learning process. Failure provides pupils with a chance to reflect. Research suggests that utilising the word ‘yet’ can shift the thinking of students from ‘I can’t do this’ to seeing problems as growth opportunities.

5 – Teach pupils to embrace failure and celebrate it – part of developing a growth mindset is in celebrating failure rather than fearing it. Letting pupils struggle a bit so they can solve problems on their own is an important step. Teach pupils to embrace mistakes and see them as part of the learning process.

6 – Encourage students to take risks and love challenges – create a culture that fosters risk taking. The more students take risks and love challenges, the more they stretch themselves and make mistakes, which leads to growth and learning.

7 – Pupils must experience success in small incremental tasks – when pupils are struggling to succeed, tasks should be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks to help the student experience success.

8 – Work with parents – invite parents into school to learn about growth mindset. Fixed mindset language may be used at home, such as ‘oh don’t worry I was rubbish at maths.’ Educate parents about this.

9 – Plan lessons to support growth mindset – consider these three key growth mindset questions in your lesson planning:

  • Does the work provide the opportunity to learn something new?
  • How can I give meaningful feedback?
  • What strategies can I use for struggling pupils?

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