Promoting A Growth Mindset In Our Classrooms

Improving learning by nurturing a growth mindset in our classrooms.

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  1. Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck's research on growth mindset is powerful for student learning. It emphasizes that a student's ability to learn is not fixed. Having the disposition that you can learn if you work hard and practice can motivate students to work hard to achieve.
  2. The idea of a growth mindset emphasizes the role educators play in motivating and encouraging students to learn.  It is not only about student growth mindset, but a teacher's mindset and disposition is equally important to their students' success.  Educators must have the mindset and disposition that they can help their students learn. In Week 6 of DLMOOC, growth and academic mindsets were discussed.  The panelist agree, the culture of the classroom/school has a  effect on student motivation to succeed.    Educators must have a mindset that reinforces and supports learning through work, practice, and perseverance.  This practice will inspire a growth and academic mindsets in our students.


  3. How can teachers foster a growth mindset in their classrooms? Praising effort and valuing persistence will encourage students to keep working on challenging materials. Believing students can accomplish great things and setting high expectations will set the stage for success.  Educators must provide students with encouraging feedback and assessments that highlights growth. Through appropriate feedback and instruction, teachers can guide and motivate students to work and persevere through challenging assignments. 
  4. Even the Common Core's Standards for Mathematical Practice supports a growth mindset. It calls for student perseverance and learning from mistakes in problem solving.
  5. Students that posses a growth mindset learn from their mistakes.  Teachers need to give students time to reflect and process their mistakes. Deeper learning occurs when students can reflect and process their mistakes in order to correct and learn from them.  In the video below, Diana Laufenberg, speaks of her teaching experiences and advocates allowing students to fail as part of the learning process. She presents 3 key qualities to learning in today's information surplus environment, 1)experiential learning, 2) student voice, and 3) embracing failure.
  6. Diana Laufenberg: How to learn? From mistakes
  7. Creativity is stifled when students fear making mistakes.   In order to foster creativity and discovery, teachers must nurture an environment in their classroom where mistakes are and opportunity for learning.   Encouraging students to step outside their comfort zones in pursuit of challenges will lead to discovery and creativity. 
  8. In life we all make mistakes. It is important that time is taken to reflect and learn from mistakes. As a teacher and a parent of an adolescent, I found the following article to be good advice. 
  9. I feel one of the most difficult tasks is grading student work.  Supporting a growth mindset can be tricky for teachers when grading. The video below identifies 7 tips for grading for a growth mindset.  One way to support a growth mindset is to use comment only grading.   Research shows that students will often not read comments if a letter grade is provided. The letter  grade signals a finality in learning.  On the other hand, comments without a grade suggest continuous learning and an opportunity for improvement.  Comment only grading leads to greater achievement.  Comments should provide feedback to students on how well learning objectives have been met.  They should be specific  and help students improve and support continued success.
  10. 7 tips for grading for a growth mindset
  11. I also believe another powerful way to support a growth mindset when grading is to encourage and guide students to reflect in self assessment.   Students who reflect on assessments will able to identify how they can correct and improve upon their learning.  They can learn from their shortfalls and identify what they're doing well in order to replicate the skills and practice for continued success.    Students are looking inward and really thinking about what they've done and how they can improve.
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