If you have the time to spend a few minutes reading something other than read-alouds to your kids, I suggest grabbing a copy of Dweck’s book entitled MIndset. Mindset is a fast read that parents and educators will find helpful for how they interact with their children. Throughout the book, Dweck uncovers ways we were taught to think about the process or success of learning. As kids, we were likely praised for getting all the right answers or for doing well on assignments, projects, athletics and other areas of life. But instead of developing greatness, this actually hindered us. We slip up, and without knowing it, we often are doing the same thing to our kids.
We are in the habit of praising the perfect work or task. We applaud the effortless looking students. Ultimately though, we are giving a thumbs up to the perfect outcome, rather than the effort that was given to get there. According to Dweck, this develops a mindset of perfectionism and stress, a “fixed mindset”. Some kids tend to be this way naturally, so it only adds to it.
Instead of praising the perfect outcome, we need to get in the habit of encouraging the effort and the desire to do better, developing a “growth mindset”. Someone with a growth mindset enjoys the process of learning and sees challenges as something to overcome, rather than a reason to freeze. This rings true at my school table as well. I have one student that hesitates to try something new when she thinks she won’t get it right immediately. She stresses when an academic topic isn’t clicking as quickly as she thinks it should. She expects herself to grasp concepts as quickly as others.
I found this book extremely helpful as it allowed me get into the mind of my students.
- Dweck offers suggestions, exact words to use with kids who need to shift from the fixed mindset to growth.
- She shares helpful ways to create an atmosphere of growth in our homes, workplaces and schools.
- Brainology, a program developed by Dweck, is used by many school systems to raise the level of growth mindsets within their walls. (This is a pricey program for the homeschool family, my only draw-back from this book.)
How are you able to encourage the growth mindset within your home?