”Do you have a growth mindset, or a fix mindset?” This is a question your child might come home and ask you someday soon.
So, what does it mean to have a growth/fixed mindset? Mindsets are beliefs we hold about intellect, effort, and struggle. We tend to hold one of two beliefs about intelligence, effort, and struggle.
People, of all ages, who tend to have a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed. They tend to engage and persist when faced with challenges. Growth minded individuals see work as a path to success. They feel inspired by the success of others. They understand that through effort and hard work, they can succeed too.
People, of all ages, who tend to have a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is pretty much fixed at birth and it doesn’t change or changes very little with practice. This mindset avoids challenges for fear of failure. They often give up in the face of difficulties. They treat criticism as a personal attack. They feel the need to prove their intelligence or
talent. When success comes they are often stuck for fear that they won’t be able to keep it going.
Today, more educators are becoming aware of the importance of instilling a growth mindset in their students by modeling this attitude and directly teaching their students about these important concepts. The best place for teachers and parents who are new to growth mindsets, and want to start empowering their kids, is to first become educated about it.
Recognize your own mindset: Be mindful of your own thinking and the messages you send with your words and actions.
Praise the process: Praising kids for being smart suggests innate talent is the reason for success, while focusing on the process helps them see how their effort leads to success.
Model learning from failure: When parents and teachers talk positively about making a mistake, kids start to think of mistakes as a natural part of the learning process.
Most importantly, no one is always in a growth mindset or a fixed mindset all the time. Watch for patterns; and remember, developing a growth mindset in yourself and in your child is a process that takes time. Have a growth mindset about developing growth mindset!
(Special thanks to Susan Pomeroy for this intro)