Dear McKinley Families,
This school year the staff and I are learning more about growth mindset and instilling a growth mindset in our students. What is growth mindset you ask? A growth mindset is the beliefs we have about our intelligence and the intelligence of others. This belief has an impact about the choices we make regarding student learning and our own learning. There tend to be two different beliefs (or mindsets) about intelligence: 1. People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed over time. If students believe this, they see school as a place to develop their abilities and think of challenges as opportunities to grow. They think of mistakes as part of the learning process. 2. People with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is fixed at birth and doesn’t change or changes very little with practice. If students believe this they see school as a place where their abilities are evaluated, they focus on looking smart over learning, and they interpret mistakes are a sign that they lack talent or ability. Mistakes are something to be ashamed of.
There is a group of staff members working on changing the way we look at students’ abilities and helping students change the way they look at their own abilities. We are focusing on adding the word "YET" to our vocabulary with students. If students are struggling or they say they can’t do something, we remind them that they just can’t do it YET. It helps them look at learning as a process something that take practice and time. We are also trying to change the way that we talk with students in the classroom and the way we praise students. Instead of focusing on how intelligent or smart the student is, we are focusing on the effort the student put into the task. Instead of saying "Wow, you’re so smart!" we are beginning to say "Wow, you really worked hard at that!" Instead of saying "Good Job!" we are saying "Wow, I am so glad you stuck with it, even when it was hard!"
The way parents talk about ability and learning can have powerful effects on their kids’ beliefs as well. Below are three ways parents can instill a growth mindset in their child. And remember, developing a growth mindset in yourself and in your kids is a process that takes time.
1. Recognize your own mindset: Be mindful of your own thinking and of the messages you send with your words and actions.
2. Praise the process: Praising kids for being smart suggests that innate talent is the reason for success, while focusing on the process helps them see how their effort leads to success.
3. Model learning from failure: When parents talk positively about making mistakes, kids start to think of mistakes as a natural part of the learning process.
If you are interested in learning more about growth mindset you can watch some videos for parents at: http://www.mindsetworks.com/webnav/parenttips.aspx
McKinley Elementary Principal
McKinley Elementary, where every minute and Maverick matter!