What is a Growth Mindset?
At Westende we promote a growth mindset approach to teaching and learning because we want our children to be learners who are resilient, curious and who embrace challenge and failure. A growth mindset is the conviction that we can improve our intelligence, ability and performance if we work hard, learn from our mistakes and willingly accept feedback. The opposite, a fixed mindset, is the belief that a person’s intelligence, ability and performance are set in stone and cannot be altered.
“Promoting a Growth Mindset with children gives them the confidence to believe that no matter where they are on the educational achievement ladder, with hard work, perseverance and effort they can improve their intelligence.” Carol Dweck
Children with a growth mindset view tasks that challenge them as enjoyable and fun. This positive view of challenge helps to fuel a spirit of curiosity, giving children the confidence to engage fully with the learning process and develop their problem solving skills.
Children with a fixed mindset give up easily, view feedback as criticism and will avoid challenges because they are afraid of failure and how they might be judged by their peers and teachers.
Growth Mindset in the classroom
In the classroom, our children are introduced to growth mindset by helping them to think about the brain as a muscle and like other muscles in our body, the more we use it, the more it develops and grows. Staff model and explain the benefits of practicing a new skill and that success is a product of hard work and effort.
We recognise and reward effort and resilience – not outcome – and children are encouraged to challenge themselves. We are not afraid of failure and children are taught that failure is a natural step to learning a new skill or solving a problem.
This approach helps the children to:
- develop high expectations
- build confidence and self esteem
- Embrace challenge
- See effort as a good thing and a path to mastery
- be less fearful of mistakes and failure, accepting these as a natural part of learning
- learn to use feedback in a positive way