Growth Mindset Vocabulary:
Independence, Challenge, Courage, Effort, Focus, Perseverance and Resilience.
At St Cross Catholic School, we teach our children that with a growth mindset, anything is possible. That means we encourage children to be resilient and to take on new challenges with enthusiasm. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort and persistence.
We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning. For children who find work easy, we make sure they encounter more difficult tasks. Our children recognise that effort, persistence and good teaching are what help them improve.
The approach links with how we mark work and give feedback too. If children have fixed mindsets they find it hard to cope with failure: we teach our children to see mistakes and failure as positive. This makes for a very energetic and inclusive learning culture.
In 2000, Carol Dweck (a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University), was the first person to coin the terms ‘growth mindset’ and ‘fixed mindset’ after much research into motivation, personality and development. See below for Dweck’s definition of fixed and growth mindsets from a 2012 interview:
“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
How can you help your children to have a growth-mindset at home?
- Avoid generalisations and the language of a “fixed mindset” - eg “I’m a terrible cook…” “I was never good at maths.” - Instead, praise and value your child’s effort, practice, self-correction and perseverance.
- Be curious about your child’s work through questioning - How did you figure that out? What’s another way you could have done that? How many times did you try before it turned out that way? What was challenging and how did you figure it out? What do you plan to do next time?
- Model having a growth-mindset at the table - At dinner, tell your children about a time when you didn’t know the answer to a recent question or you found something difficult. Who did you ask for help? How did you work through it?
At breakfast, ask questions about their opportunities for learning and growth in the coming day or week.
What do they want to learn, practice, and/or get better at today/this week?