Monday, July 11, 2016

GROWTH MINDSET: What's all the hype?

This is part one of a two part series. In part one I will share the impact Growth Mindset had in my classroom this past year.

In part two I will give you an in depth look at the lessons that made it all happen!

Growth Mindset is all the rage and for good reason.
The theory of Growth Mindset was introduced to me a little over a year ago. I was intrigued by what it had to offer kids so I started digging deeper. Immediately realizing its power, I knew that not only was it essential for me to instill a Growth Mindset within my students, but also for me to shift my mindset as an adult learner.

I spent the summer researching and creating lessons that would stick with my kids all year. It's important to remember that fostering a classroom that uses a Growth Mindset is a commitment. It is a commitment for both students and teacher. Teachers as facilitators of learning, provide opportunities for students to demonstrate a Growth vs. Fixed Mindset. Students need to be willing to take on challenge, to persevere, make mistakes, and approach these challenges with fresh perspective. Growth Mindset takes continuous, life-long practice. You don't wake up one morning after a series of lessons or a seminar and walk through life with a Growth Mindset. It is a conscious choice we make for ourselves in opportunities each day. The power of mindset holds what all teachers dream of; the ability for every student to see themselves as learners who can change the world!

I started the year teaching my students about Growth Mindset. It fit perfectly with back to school lessons and routines and  I wanted to ensure that students had the tools  they would need to begin practicing this essential skill right off the bat. It was one of the best classroom decisions I've ever made. It set the tone for our community all year long. These are just a few reasons that I will never start my year off without Growth Mindset!

1. Students encourage and support one another. By understanding how a shift in thinking could hold success students were more likely to encourage one another. They were well practiced in Growth talk and knew how to use it authentically. When they saw their peers in moments of frustration or on the verge of giving up I was no longer their first support. They had the tools they needed to help one another through these moments. 

2. Students played to their strengths and the strengths of their peers. As a community we all had a sense of one another's strengths. During group work they felt confident in their roles and knew how to support one another. They were also more likely to try something that was a challenge knowing who to go to for support or a fresh look at something. They started to see feedback as a positive and were open to receiving it from both teacher and peers. 

3. Students were not afraid to fail. This one actually took a little more time, but after a while students actually got excited when they didn't come the right answer immediately.  FAIL was no longer avoided like a 4 letter word. They saw it as opportunity. While struggling through some work on fractions one of my students called out with enthusiasm "Mrs. Newport, Mrs. Newport I can't do this yet, but my brain is about to grow!"

4. Students advocated for their own learning. This was my favorite part! My students became comfortable with the fact that if they didn't understand something they might need to learn it in a different way. It was totally normal for a student to raise their hand in the middle of a lesson and ask me to explain something one more time, or even say "Mrs. Newport can you show me that in a different way". They were committed to their own learning and felt supported by those around them. Even if I wasn't always able to take the time in that moment to show them a new strategy or approach, or better yet have another learner demonstrate one I knew that they needed me to check in with them at some point.  

5. It naturally fosters a sense of community. See above :)

6. And last, but most certainly not least; these skills will last a life time. Practicing Growth Mindset makes a positive impact on all areas of life and learning, not just academically. Teaching students about the brain allows them to see the world differently and encourages them to discover their own path to learning.

If you have been trying to decide whether t's worth it to learn more about Growth Mindset I'm telling you that you won't have any regrets. If you're ready to begin planning and need some inspiration you can start by grabbing this freebie. Just click the picture below.

And be sure to check back later this week for an inside look at how I implement these lessons in my classroom.


  1. Such an important topic. I love your points, especially the student asking for another way of approaching a problem. Growth Mindset is a skill for life.

    1. Marcy, thanks so much for stopping by. It really made such a difference in the way they approached challenge. It changes our mindsets as educators, as well. :)