Home is at the heart of education
Following up on the initial growth mindset article, we now focus on fostering a growth mindset at home. We as guardians have the privilege to help form our children’s’ mindset towards learning. Www.mindset.org has a ten-step course to assist parents and other guardians in understanding what fixed and growth mindsets are. And it also teaches us how to develop a growth mindset in ourselves and our children.
Our own mindset, how do we approach challenges at home?
One of the easiest forms of learning is through imitation. With that in mind, we must consider what our own beliefs show our youth. What is our own mindset at home? When we are faced with a challenge, do we shy away from it or start planning appropriately? When we make mistakes, do we become irate and irritable, or do we express our frustration whilst still figuring out ways to avoid the mistake next time?
Most often we tend to have a blended view regarding mindset, thinking that one thing might be fixed, like athletic ability, while others are flexible such as learning a language. When the fact is that the brain is malleable and can change as it is used, so it is all growth! There really is very little fixed.
How do we encourage a growth mindset in our children?
The way we talk about ability and learning has the most powerful effect on our kids’ beliefs. Clearly then, it is of utmost importance for us to start with ourselves. Therefore we must monitor our own thoughts and reactions towards difficulties and mistakes. Another important factor to keep in mind is to praise the process, not necessarily the result. Babyboomers often tend to use the phrase “You’re so smart.” This leads a child to believe that innate ability led to the correct result, whilst also negating all the hard work and effort that went into the final result. This is something that needs to change. Praising, and focusing on, the effort put into something allows a child to appreciate the fact that hard work and effort is natural, and often even necessary.
“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”
Finally, we should make conscious efforts to talk positively about mistakes made, and what could be learned from these mistakes. Instead of saying “This is too hard” which is embedded in the fixed mindset, we should try for “This is going to take a lot of effort.” Remember also, these words should be said with enthusiasm because effort isn’t a bad thing! This is how we foster a growth mindset, by participating in our children’s lives and being excited about their efforts!
Let this be our mission
Get the mindset right and you have a lifelong learner. A learner interested in learning through self-discovery, rather than being spoonfed information. Children will no longer shy away from a challenge, knowing that effort will help them gain the upper hand over time. Instead of hiding mistakes or sweeping it under a rug, children will openly evaluate the error to gain insight.
Let’s make our language our focus, let us develop growth in our youth through encouraging effort and praising time spent thinking about mistakes.