In the last installment of the WCCS Newsletter, Mr Hudson wrote about fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. He explained how there are different ways of praising children and that these can make quite a difference to their progress at school. For example, research suggests that parents should think twice about praising their kids for being “smart” or “talented” because this can inadvertently foster a fixed mindset. Instead, if we encourage our kids’ efforts by praising persistence and hard work, then we will support their development of a growth mindset.
Children with a growth mindset believe that with effort and persistence they can learn and achieve in school. A growth mindset will better equip them to persevere and pick themselves up when things don’t go their way. It will allow them to focus on their own progress rather than how well they compare with others.
Parents and carers should also examine their own belief systems. Do you have a growth mindset about your own ability to learn new things? Do you believe that with effort, persistence and motivation your children will make good progress at school?
Dr. Carol Dweck, a highly respected educational researcher says,
Parents should not shield their children from challenges, mistakes and struggles. Instead, parents should teach their children to love challenges. They can say things like “This is hard – what fun!” or “This is too easy – it’s no fun.” They should teach their children to embrace mistakes, “Ooh, here’s an interesting mistake. What should we do next?” And they should teach them to love effort, “That was a fantastic struggle. You really stuck to it and made great progress” or “This will take a lot of effort – boy it will be fun.”
Some parents need to work just as hard as their children, or even harder, to develop a strong growth mindset. It takes time and practice, but it is well worth it when you see the difference it makes to your children!
Director of Teaching and Learning
On behalf of the High School Deputies
*Acknowledgement: Ricci, M. C. (2017) Mindsets in the Classroom, Prufrock Press, Waco Texas.