Monday, September 29, 2014

Fostering a Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck’s work in this regard speaks volumes about the power of belief. If students believe they can be successful, they will be. If teachers believe they have the power to influence student learning outcomes, then they can make a positive impact on their learning. It’s interesting how a rather simplistic concept has garnered so much attention in the world of education. Educators here and everywhere are humming this new buzzword triumphantly as the catch-all phrase of the 21st century. But is it really that new?

The power of positivity has been around for years. Everyone knows that having a positive attitude is a prerequisite for overcoming obstacles. So why the big buzz? Dweck’s work is now backed by research in the field of education, that’s why. The research indicated that students with fixed mindsets did not perform as well as students with a growth mindset. So it begs the question, how do we, as educators, foster a growth mindset amongst our students?

We start from an asset-based model. We look and wholly consider what assets students are bringing to their learning. Knowing our learners and capitalizing on their strengths, interests and abilities helps. Starting with the end in mind also helps. Where do we want to see our students at the end of the year? How do we effectively use learner profiles to encourage a growth, rather than fixed mindset? What other tools can educators use to be impactful and inspire learning? And are there old adages that, once proven, can be powerful ideas to transform the landscape of education?

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