Every week, I try to tune in to ClassDojo’s weekly chat on Twitter. I also like to summarise my own thoughts to the questions asked and this week it was the topic of Growth Mindset from Jenna Kleine, who works for ClassDojo.
Q1 a. What does having a ‘growth mindset’ mean to you? b. To your pupils?
To be honest, I hadn’t really heard of this term before and needed to do a bit of research on it. This cartoon posted on Twitter that was posted was most useful.
In some ways, it made me a bit sad to think there are children with a fixed mindset. In some ways, I expect children to be more open to learning. However, I thought about the times I’ve heard things like: “I can’t draw…” or “I’m bad at maths” and realised that fixed mindsets are ubiquitous. To answer the question, I’m lucky that I naturally have a growth mindset, in other words, I never give up when it comes to learning something new (if I’m interested in it, of course!) For my pupils, I expect the same thing!
Q2 How can we help our pupils foster a ‘growth mindset’?
I think the teacher has to be a role model here. I think adults tend to have more of a fixed mindset so, as teachers, we need to embrace learning as much as our pupils do. I don’t think there’s any harm in sharing what you are learning with your pupils, where appropriate. I also think our responses to errors or mistakes will make or break a pupil’s mindset.
Q3 Which of these skills are the most important for developing a ‘growth mindset’ and why?
I think the answer could probably be all of the above. For me resilience is probably the key skill in the image but I think resilience is probably key to a lot of things!
Q4 How might a ‘growth mindset’ impact a pupil’s life outside of school?
I think it would help in a very similar way to how it would help in school life. At best, it would help them maneuver around the awkward world of fixed mindsets in the adult world around them!
Q5 If a pupil has a ‘fixed mindset’, what is the first step in making the shift towards a ‘growth mindset’?
It’s fairly tough to break a fixed mindset, hence its name. I suppose it’s important to encourage taking risks and praising the pupil when they do take them. Teacher can also set up open-ended tasks and problem-based tasks. Perhaps simply disagreeing with the child who says: “I can’t….” can help.
Q6 Check out these ‘10 growth mindset statements’ – what would you add?
I’ll give my example that I hear more and more children saying: “I can’t draw.” Turning this to growth mindset one might change this to “I can draw lines and shapes. If I combine them and try different ways, I can draw anything!”
Q7. How can we, as educators, model a ‘growth mindset’ for our pupils?
I think we have to be seen to be learners too. We need to admit when we make mistakes and show that we learn from them. We need to tell them about things we are learning about if we can too.
Q8 There are times where we might find ourselves in a ‘fixed mindset’. How do you make the shift back to a ‘growth mindset’?
I suppose this is true and maybe sometimes it’s ok to have a fixed mindset on certain things. I am very passionate about various aspects of life and it would be difficult to change my mindset on them, even if I’m in the minority. However, I tend to question my own views all the time so I’m rarely unmoveable about most things!