Promoting the Growth Mindset

We have been focused on the growth mindset for a couple of years at Yuma

Elementary School District ONE. Our district Monday professional development so far this year have been focused on going deeper with personalized learning and our collective goals related to personalized learning. Teachers continue to grow and learn along with our students.

In the book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, author Malcolm Gladwell states “In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” People need around 10,000 hours practicing something to become an expert! 10,000 hours = ~417 24-hour days. If you are working more like 10 hours a day, then it is 1,000 days. Teachers and students are in school for about 180 days...at 10 hours a day, that is only 1800 hours a year - that is 10 years for us to become experts! Obviously this math is over-simplified - even if you work 10 hours a day, you definitely are not focused on just ONE thing every day. We are all learning together - we learn more each year...IF we are lifelong learners and have a growth mindset.

“A growth mindset isn’t just about effort. Perhaps the most common misconception is simply equating the growth mindset with effort. Certainly, effort is key for students’ achievement, but it’s not the only thing. Students need to try new strategies and seek input from others when they’re stuck. They need this repertoire of approaches—not just sheer effort—to learn and improve.”

If you have a growth mindset you believe you can learn and you persevere when you struggle. Parents and teachers can help promote the growth mindset with our students in many ways. One way we can promote the growth mindset, is to help our students with the vocabulary they use with their “internal” voice. When they are struggling to learn something, what do they say to themselves? Do they ask themselves if they can learn something from this? Do they search for additional resources to help them learn? Do they think they could do better, or do they think that “good enough” is who they are? Do they come up with constructive action they could take, or do they just give up and walk away? Have students track what they are saying to

themselves, and help them revise any ‘fixed mindset’ statements into a ‘growth mindset’ statement. What is the easiest way to do this? Add the word “YET” at the end of statements like “I am no good at Math”!

It is important for all of us to be lifelong learners who possess a growth mindset. We continue to learn more every day. We must model this for our students, and promote the idea as well. How will you model and promote the idea of being a lifelong learner with a growth mindset?


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