Developing a Growth Mindset

When a baby is learning to walk, nobody gets mad at them when they fall down, right? Just the opposite, in fact. We all shout for joy and get our cameras out! After attempting his first step and falling, that child is swept up and hugged and kissed and applauded for his efforts. What is the result of this reaction? The baby will try again (and again, and again, and again) until he is able to walk.

Our reactions to the failures and successes of our children shape their self perception,  our relationships with them, and how they feel about the learning process in general. When a child struggles to learn something new and meets with adult frustration instead of praise, they may become resistant to the idea of attempting that task again. This attitude can lead to slow and labored progress through their education instead of excitement and rapid growth.

What if you could build character, strengthen relationships, and cultivate a love of learning in your children simply by changing the way you talk to them? Good news! As it turns out, YOU CAN! A simple shift in the words we use to praise our children can actually help create something called a “growth mindset” in their brains. The idea of having a growth mindset comes from research done by Carol Dweck. You can read her book HERE.

So, you want to know how to do it, right? Great! Watch this video…

Teaching students explicitly about the neuro-plasticity of the brain (i.e. the ability of the brain to change) has been shown to enable students to choose to take a different mindset and change their beliefs about themselves as learners. There is a lot more to developing a growth mindset than just changing how you praise a child…but this is a start!

5 thoughts on “Developing a Growth Mindset

  1. I love this so much!! I needed to read this tonight. I am a mother of 5 kids, and I am constantly searching for ways to help my children. In a world of disconnection and low self esteems, our children need this more than anything. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. This post was a huge eye opener to me. I am a mother of four very different children and have unfortunately been guilty of labeling them as certain “types” of learners. After utilizing some of the techniques in this post I have already seen some positive changes. It’s also helped me to apply more of a growth mindset to myself in my life! Thanks for the insight!!

  3. So so good! I have heard about this research before but this is such a better and more detailed explanation tban I have heard in the past! Gosh I needed this reminder tonight. Especially that we need to praise for specific things during their failure to help encourage the growth mindset. I thought of so many examples of how I did not do this well, especially with my 6 year old who tends to give up easily, I get so frustrated with him but I need to help him change his perspective and praise him during his failure too! Thank you for these great reminders!

  4. Such a vital principle! Thank you, Kaity, for sharing these truths! As my children grow and develop I am continually humbled by how their potential is so much more than even I could understand. 😀

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