Hannam Vale Public School

By Learning We Conquer

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Growth Mindset Culture at Home

Building a Growth Mindset Culture at Home

Our school is committed to developing a growth mindset school environment-a place where all students believe that with effort and perseverance, they can succeed. Dr. Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University, has identified two belief systems about intelligence.

Fixed and Growth Mindset

A fixed mindset is one where we believe that our children's innate abilities, talents, and intelligence are fixed. They are either "good" or talented at something, or they are not. They can certainly learn new things, but this particular skill or subject is not really their "thing."

How many of you have ever thought to yourself (or said out loud), "my daughter probably isn't very good in math because I was not very good in math." Or, "I was not good in high school English, so I guess my son takes after me." These are examples of fixed mindset thinking. Even a perceived positive statement like, "He has a God-given talent in _______" or "He is a born leader" demonstrates fixed mindset thinking.

As a parent, you may have fixed mindset thinking about your own abilities; you may think, "I can't cook", "I can't dance; I have two left feet," "leave that to my wife/husband, I can't figure it out."

A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence, skills, and talents are malleable, and they can change with effort, perseverance, and practice. Neuroscience explains this as neuroplasticity. We can all get "smarter."

This 4-minute video, Fostering Growth Mindsets is part of a discussion series created by the Greater Good Science centre, between Christine Carter (sociologist, mum, and "happiness expert") and Kelly Corrigan (author and mum). It is about how moving toward a growth-oriented mindset can give your children the drive to succeed.

Growth Mindset Praise

So, we never want to say things like this to our children:

  • Some people are just not science (or fill in the subject of choice) people.
  • Writing (or art, math, etc.) comes naturally for you.
  • Look at that, you did that without even trying.
  • You have a natural talent.

These are all fixed mindset statements. We need to focus feedback on what a child does, not who he or she is. We never, ever want to say things like, "You are so smart!"' Click on the links below to find out why:

The Importance of "Yet"

One of the most frequently used words in your vocabulary should be the word yet, such as "You are not quite getting it yet, but with practice, you will." A couple of links to help you use this word more often are:

Learning From Failure

From the moment our children are born, we want to protect them. Our instincts are to catch them before they fall. It is not easy seeing our children not have success in whatever goal they are working toward - from learning to walk, to getting into their first choice of high-school or university. In order to raise resilient, confident, optimistic children, we must learn to be comfortable when they make mistakes and/or fail. When children are given opportunities to struggle, it builds resilience. Without struggle, it is difficult to develop coping skills, grit, and resilience. As parents, we must model this as well; let your children see you being persistent and overcoming challenges - not quitting because something is "too hard."

Further reading;