A student’s growth mindset is an unplanned territory in many educational settings. But understanding it and effectively building it in students is gaining popularity among schools. Most students believe that they have a fixed mindset, the kind which they do not wish to change or improve. They believe that their skills and intelligence are fixed traits, hence resist the urge to learn. But on the contrary, students know that they are capable to develop skills through effort and persistence. Fortunately, teachers are the crucial mediators who can shift students to the latter.
In general, teachers are thoughtful, knowledgeable, and skilful individuals who can mould a child’s mindset. Academic learning is not the sole purpose of education, rather it is, and should be, an amalgamation of behavioural, social, cognitive, and physical learning goals. These goals are negotiated by teachers with students and their parents, peer teachers, and support staff in order to set it right.
The emotional support and classroom organisation put forth by a teacher, can influence a student’s attitude/behaviour. However, teachers who are efficient with textbook lessons and improving test scores may not be equally effective at improving a student’s attitude. The lack of motivation among teachers may be one of the few vital obstacles to student learning. As a matter of fact, there is solid importance of motivation for learning, and practicing several strategies that teachers can use for supporting students.
How can teachers mould young mindsets and how does it benefit students?
Explain why abstract skills and concepts are important.
Teaching subjects with abstract skills and concepts may be a challenge to some students. This is because many of them would not be too keen on determining a concept’s real-world application. In such a scenario, explain why the concept is significant, talk about its application and how it can help them in the future. This will instil a growth mindset in students. Active learning and experiential learning activities can foster this habit of wanting to absorb information.
Educate students about the hurdles they could face in the future, be it with education or simple life skills. Talking to students about the inherent benefits of overcoming obstacles can help children to develop a growth mindset. The effort and difficulty put into doing a task is a path to success and smartness, not a roadblock.
Explore various teaching strategies
Drop the traditional chalk-and-talk method, and start focussing on expanding teaching styles! This will help students to overcome challenges in learning and help them to see another phase of the same classroom. Teachers can use differentiated instructions and principles to vary the content. Give a chance for students to work in pairs or groups, sharpen their cooperative skills and approach different learning objectives.
Compliment achievements, but in moderation.
An effort is aligned with the growth mindset, and constantly asking students to ‘keep trying’ or ‘work harder’ can impact their thinking negatively. Whereas, explicitly complementing smart students on a regular basis can make it a fixed trait, which discourages growth instead of acknowledging the importance of planning and trying new approaches. Praise and feedback can change the way students look at their learning process, and a teacher’s approach can push them toward or away from housing a growth mindset.
Allow students to speak their thoughts.
Motivate students to expand their thinking process and ask doubts or voice opinions in conversations. This truly reflects on a core aspect of a growth mindset. By asking students to engage in problem-based learning activities and question-answer sessions, it improves their understanding of subject relevance and can appreciate the clarity of critical thinking.
These simple tactics can foster a growth mindset in students, and ultimately satisfy the efforts of teachers too. Gradually, teachers will be able to appreciate a positive shift in the attitude of students as they build new skills, learn about unfamiliar topics, and take on various challenges.
Our takeaway evidence would be that teaching students the concrete skills to develop a growth mindset can influence teachers constructively and perhaps, successfully. Besides, having a classroom full of dedicated students and a happy teacher is a brownie point, isn’t it?