Grades, after all, are not the endgame of education. It is the beliefs, values, and traits that foster the development of independence and self-determination that surpass whatever value grades can offer. As parents and educators, we have a major role in developing the right beliefs that define and shape one’s perspectives. It is these perspectives or mindsets about the world, about abilities, and about our own weaknesses, that shape the thoughts and actions regarding what we view as possible and impossible.
The child that struggles to gets B’s is the one that is developing the right mindset needed to overcome challenges and obstacles later in life. While the child that gets easy A’s is not developing in quite the same way. JESSICA LAHEY wrote a great blog on this point, One Works for B’s; One gets easy A’s.
Recent research has proven just how powerful the right mindset is in determining one’s success in overcoming challenges and accomplishing goals. Research by Carol Dweck has highlighted the important difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and the importance of praising the process of learning the not the outcome.
Replace “you must be smart at this” with “you must have really worked hard”. A fixed mindset child develops a belief that talent is innate and there is no room for growth, but a growth mindset child develops a belief that talent comes from work and is charged with limitless potential.
This is a visual summary of Dweck’s findings.
To start developing a growth mindset in yourself and your children, start with these suggestions:
- Praise risk-taking and setbacks
- Focus on effort, struggle, persistence
- Look for difficult tasks – and set your mind on the reward of failure
- Focus on Strategies to overcome challenges
- Reflect and adapt to what’s working and remove what is not
- Focus on the process NOT the outcome. Be passionate about the Learning and the act of improving
- Seek challenges that redefine who you are – “I am an early riser”
- Choose to work hard
This Powerpoint is a quick overview on the differences between Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset.