Everyone (at any age!) can learn something new. It might take some time and effort but that’s okay. The brain is like a muscle and by challenging our brain we make it bigger and stronger. New brain science confirms that when we do challenging things—from sports to math—our brains grow!
5 WAYS TO FOSTER A GROWTH MINDSET:
- Exercise your brain. Encourage your child to exercise their brain by trying challenging activities, such as puzzles and math games, and encourage them even if they make a mistake.
- Have daily learning discussions. Bedtime might be a natural time to have this talk. Throughout the week, try to notice what your child is working hard on and what new skills they are attempting to learn. This could be anything from zipping up a coat to building a tower with blocks. Reflecting back to your child examples of what they are working hard on helps to emphasize the value you place on effort in learning.
- Talk about a new skill you are learning. Notice your own opportunity areas and point them out your child. Use an example from your life—this could be about your own process of learning to cook, or drive, or learn a new language. Your child might be surprised that learning something new requires hard work and effort, even for you!
- Ask questions. Ask your child questions that emphasize the value of working hard: “What did you do today that was difficult or challenging for you?”, “What did you try doing today that was hard?”
- Link effort to accomplishment. Connect your child’s effort and hard work to how he or she feels when they finally accomplish their goal.
TEACHER REFLECTIONDo you believe that intelligence is a fixed trait that you are born with a certain amount of and it cannot be changed (fixed mindset)? Or, do you believe that intelligence is a quality that can be developed through effort and education (growth mindset)?
|“I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—…” says the little engine as she chugs up the hill to deliver toys to the children on the other side of the mountain. This classic children’s book is a great jumping-off point for a discussion about the role of effort and persistence in accomplishing things that are hard for us. Read The Little Engine That Could to your class and have discussions about the role of effort. Spoiler alert: The little engine makes it!|