We homeschool teachers are reading a wonderful book this year called The Growth Mindset Coach by Annie Brock & Heather Hundley. I am so impressed with the concepts and ideas presented in this book that we hope to share with all of you what we are learning month by month as we discuss it in our staff meetings. So many of the ideas are applicable to home as well as the larger classroom. The book is only about $9 on Amazon if you would like your own copy. I highly recommend it.
The growth mindset concept was published in a book by Carol Dweck in 2006. Carol is a professor of psychology at Stanford. Her publication is based on over thirty years of research into how people succeed. She discovered that there appeared to be two different mindsets in her research subjects, a fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
Fixed Mindset: the belief that we are given a fixed amount of intelligence and ability at birth. These people often avoid challenges and fear failure.
Growth Mindset: the belief that, with effort and practice, we have potential to learn and grow. These people tend to tackle challenges, unconcerned about making mistakes along the way.
Both mindsets exist in all of us. Carol believes that we are all born with a growth mindset. Think about how babies learn to walk & talk with no care as to their errors in the process. A fixed mindset emerges as children begin to evaluate themselves.
The fixed mindset says, “I can’t,” while the growth mindset says, “I can, with practice and determination.”
Begin each month with a new growth mindset mantra. What would your kids think if you began each day by saying, “Everyone can learn!” and making them repeat it too. It will begin to sink in and they may find more courage to tackle those challenges they tried to avoid in the past.
Or try, “My brain is a muscle that grows with exercise!”
What is your mindset about yourself and your children? How do you pass this on intentionally or unintentionally? Have you ever said, “I’m just not a math person,” or “My child is just not a math person?” That is a fixed mindset that sets you/your child up for minimal success in that area.
The growth mindset says, “I can change, I can grow, and I can learn.”
The fixed mindset says, “I can’t change, I can’t learn, I can’t grow.”
In the growth mindset, failure and errors are taken as an opportunity to grow and learn. They are not the end of the road. I’m sure you have all heard the quote by Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I have discovered 10,000 ways that do not work.” Now that is a growth mindset!
A person’s true potential is unknown. What might each of us accomplish by years of passion, toil, and training? It all depends on the amount of work and effort you are willing to devote to the process.
Do you as a parent-teacher communicate your belief in your child’s ability to learn? Or do you have more of an attitude of, “Never mind. This just isn’t for you?” These beliefs get passed on to our children. How do they talk to themselves when faced with a challenge? I find that younger children have a greater willingness to try something new than older children. Is it because they haven’t been told yet that they can’t achieve in certain areas?
The brain is capable of growth. It must be exercised and challenged. There are some great mindset lessons on www.mindsetkit.org. They are free and fun to work through with your kids. Try some. See what it does for your mindset and your child’s.
Now I know some of you are thinking that this just sounds like the power of positive thinking. There is a need to think positively, but it is based in truth. That truth is that our brains are capable of growth. We are capable beyond the limits we put on ourselves and on our children.