Teaching & Encouraging Growth Mindset
Growth mindset, from Dr. Carol Dweck, is a revolutionarily simple yet often misunderstood concept. Teaching and encouraging a growth mindset in students is school counselor territory. In our school, it is essential that we understand the foundational concepts so we can support implementation and work effectively with our students. Confident Counselors are ready with some pointers and words of wisdom from their own practice.
Always show excitement when a problem presents itself. Model for students how to approach a problem with determination and desire to grow from the challenge! – Counselor Keri
Teaching growth mindset is not a one day occurrence. We must strive to both teach and model it daily. When noticing a student is stuck in a fixed mindset moment, we must ask them, “What’s another lens we can look at this with? – Carol Miller, The Middle School Counselor
(Check out Carol’s Getting Gritty with 8th Grade Lesson)
Teach these concepts over and over. It is tough to change someone’s mindset when they are use to thinking a certain way. Repetitively teaching these concepts are the best way to make the ideas stick and create a growth mindset in students. – Mrs. Bell, The Crafty Counselor
I support a growth mindset by changing the way I talk to my students when they are feeling challenged and when they overcome an obstacle. Focus on their effort rather than the outcome. Instead of saying, ‘You are so smart’, I say ‘Wow! You really worked hard.’ or ‘You didn’t give up even when things were difficult.’.
Teach students about their brain and its ability to stretch and grow. I start off my lessons with brain builders and encourage participation during my lessons. Students feel more confident in making a ‘guess’ rather than the need to be correct because they know that their brain is getting stronger.
Spend a lot of time teaching students to use the word Yet. When I catch a student saying, “I can’t do it.” I will say…”Not Yet!” Sesame Street Video: Power of Yet
Lastly, I have trained teachers on ways to incorporate growth mindset into their curriculum. Getting teachers on board is critical. This year, teachers started off the year showing Class Dojo videos and participating in Mindset Monday discussions. – School Counseling is Magical
Add the word “yet” when you hear yourself or others say they can’t do something, don’t know something, or aren’t good at something. – Counselor Up
My biggest tip is to understand growth mindset better. It is on the verge of being another passionately and incorrectly implemented initiative. Growth mindset isn’t what paves the path, it is realizing a path exists at all. There are limits students impose on themselves and there are limits that are imposed on them that take a lot of support to move beyond. Our job is to help remove that fixed thinking, and work towards concrete goals, create plans to counter limits in their environment, celebrate small successes, and teach them how to pave the path forward once they can see it. – Laura from Social Emotional Workshop
I use a combination of video clips, hands-on challenges, and picture books to teach the concept of growth mindset. The video clips set the stage for the lesson and are great for grabbing students’ attention. I love using hands-on challenges because they help to give students first-hand experience with overcoming a problem. I also enjoy using picture books to illustrate growth mindset because students can easily relate to the characters in the stories. To check out my favorite (free!) growth mindset resources, visit my blog post – Kate from EduKate & Inspire
What are you doing to promote a growth mindset?
Growth Mindset Resource Recommendations
- Mindset Kit
- Video: Encouraging Students to Persist through Challenges
- Edutopia: Growth Mindset Resources
- Book: The Salt in His Shoes
We are a group of school counselors collaborating to provide a space filled with resources made for you.