41 Forest Road, Bradford Woods, PA 15015
The staff of Bradford Woods is in the process of learning the important research on Growth Mindset, done by Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck. Dweck’s research defines two mindsets- the Growth Mindset and the Fixed Mindset. The Fixed Mindset believes that abilities and talents are a fixed trait; you either have it or you don’t. For example, your intelligence is something that is inherently given to you and cannot be changed. Conversely, the Growth Mindset believes that talents and abilities are able to be enhanced through effort, exercise, and practice. Furthermore, Dweck’s research shows that the mindset of a person has tremendous impacts on their success and achievement throughout the course of their life.
We believe, as a staff, that the implications of this research are of utmost importance to us as educators. We know that cultivating a growth mindset in ourselves means that we as a staff will look at the challenges and changes we face as ways to not only enhance ourselves, but also our students. We know that through perseverance and determination we will secure our desired results as a team. Likewise, we realize that cultivating a growth mindset in our students will empower our students to face difficulties with a positive attitude, knowing that through struggle one grows.
Here are a couple of the key points we are focusing on while working to instill a growth mindset in our students:
· ‘Easy’ does not help you grow; through challenge and struggle the mind grows.
o Use exercise as an example here; if you were continuously to lift a weight that was too easy for you, you will never build that muscle. When you challenge your muscles by lifting a heavier weight…that is when we see the growth of the muscle.
o It is important to understand the concept of “productive struggle.” We want kids to grapple, work, and persevere through tasks, yet we do not want to cause students to bypass their frustrational level.
· We will work to praise the process, not the product.
o We will be cognizant to praise students on their effort, determination, focus, study skills, and persistence….NOT on a grade, perfect paper, or end product.
o When we praise a student on their product, they define their intelligence and success based on that praise and product. Rather, we want students to define their intelligence and success on their effort so that they are not afraid to fail and try new, challenging things that will ultimately help them grow.
o For example, it is very common to see a child praised for their intelligence based on their grades or test scores; yet when that student doesn’t perform as well on a test they then feel like a failure and that they are no longer intelligent. Eventually, they will avoid all challenges for fear that they will not be able to able to perform because they want to maintain their status of intelligence.
Below, you will find the link to a 10 minute video that I would hope you take the time to review. We would love your assistance in cultivating a growth mindset in your child. We know that to be successful in our ever-changing world, the success of a person will be highly dependent on their ability to be a critical thinker, problem solver, and persistent in finding solutions. We believe that a Growth Mindset, productive struggle, and looking at challenges as an opportunity to grow are the building blocks to success in a 21st Century world.