Students from around the globe are constantly in a fragile state of growth. While their minds are still developing, they continue to experience and learn from a myriad of opportunities presented to them, either by the educational institutes or their parents. It’s riveting to realize that even at this vulnerable age, every student deals with impediments in a different way. On one hand, some children bounce back from their setbacks and try harder next time, whereas the other set of students are immensely devastated by their failures and hence are unmotivated to try again. With reference to the scientific research conducted by Dr. Dweck, this contrast was coined as the distinction between a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset.
In essence, people who tend to believe that their talents are innate and therefore can’t be developed further have a discernible Fixed Mindset. They don’t develop their talents but spend time documenting them. Students undergoing the aforementioned mindset will obstinately believe that they’re “dumb” and will try to rationalize their setbacks, for example, “I just can’t do the math.” On the other hand, individuals who deduce that their skills can enhance and take every challenge as an opportunity to grow are the ones with a Growth Mindset. Students who endure this mindset reckon that they can refine a skill with consistent practice and perseverance. They take mishaps as lessons and each setback as a new opportunity.
It’s safe to presume that human beings evolve their mindset, as it continues to mature with time and experiences. Evidently, how we rear our children plays an indelible role in the same.
There are a few principle ways which can facilitate us to develop a growth mindset in students:
Acknowledging the imperfections – As it’s famously quoted by the Pope, to err is human. Especially when kids learn a new skill, it’s typical to make mistakes. As adults, we must teach our students to learn and embrace their imperfections and to continually remind them that their mistakes don’t define them, rather it only makes them human.
Try alternate tactics – One can accomplish something if they put their heart and soul to it, but the techniques to reach the destination might not be the same for everyone. Psychologically, humans are dynamic and they never cease to evolve. This signifies that due to our disparities, we should hearten the students to approach the situation through a different strategy, and help them figure out what’s best for them.
Setting realistic goals – The journey of every student is seldom the same, and their interests may vary too. As teachers and parents, we highly anticipate our child’s abilities. While we may have the best intention, it’s salient to not put the burden of our expectations upon them. Each student should be driven only to learn, even if they tend to take small steps with their own accordance.
The power of yet – When we see a child struggling through a task, it’s beneficial to remind them that they haven’t mastered it yet. Dr. Dweck’s research states that using this phrase is one of the most favorable habits to inculcate. It imparts the value of patience in a student, as no human can master everything under the sun in one sitting, rather it’s only viable after immense hard work.
View feedback and criticism through a positive vision – People who have a Growth Mindset incessantly ask for feedback. We need to make students comprehend that even if they’re unsuccessful at a task, there’s always room for improvement. The need for improvement does not signify failure, it portrays a never-giving-up attitude. When the students learn to view criticism from a pragmatic lens, they only get better.
To conclude, Dr. Dweck’s demonstration of the Fixed and Growth Mindset has indispensable implications on students, given the fact that how they view themselves is directly related to their ability to progress. As teachers and parents, we can intentionally build a Growth Mindset in our children. This is easily possible by providing them with reassurance and a space to learn even after falling.