Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Mindset- ensuring growth or failure for our children?

There is an old saying that you will be the same person in five years time except for two things- the people you meet and the books you read. As you know, at Bradbury and in fact right through educational circles around the world, there is an increasing emphasis on teaching and looking after the 'whole child'. As a part of my own research into this area, I recently read a book called "Mindset The New Psychology of Success" by Carol Dweck. I found this book absolutely life changing in terms of how I personally view the world and my experiences in it, as well as the type of feedback we give our children. Dweck talks about the fact that it is not just our talents and abilities that ensure our success, it is also whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.

A fixed mindset is a belief that our abilities are carved in stone, creating the need to prove ourselves over and over again. Failure is not an option! A growth mindset is one where you believe that your basic qualities are things that you cultivate through your efforts- which includes learning from failure. Everything can change and grow through application and experience. A mistake or failure is valuable, as this is where the learning takes place and gives us feedback on what needs to improve or be worked on in order to gain success next time we attempt it:

How do we as educators and parents reinforce either a fixed or growth mindset? It is often manifest in the way in which we talk to our  our children. The chart below gives some examples of  growth v fixed mindset responses that we can encourage our children to use as self talk:

Growth mindset is one that I am really enjoying learning about. As an educator, I see a real opportunity to inspire learners. As a parent and now a grandparent, I see the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my own family as well. It is a huge area but I hope that maybe I have inspired you to think further. Here is a link to a YouTube talk given by Dweck  on the topic of happiness- how do we make sure that kids and adults are eager to learn? She talks about growth mindset in detail: