“Every mistake you make is progress.”
Dr. Carol Dweck devised the terms ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindset to describe the attitudes people have about their learning and intelligence. People who adopt a fixed mindset believe intelligence and abilities are decided at birth and cannot be changed. People who adopt a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that intelligence can be learned and developed, they value feedback and believe in working hard and trying out new learning methods.
People with a growth mindset are more likely to value learning, embrace challenges, show persistence and use mistakes as opportunities for growth.
Having a growth mindset encourages children to dream big and understand that learning anything new takes time and patience, and therefore that whatever they want to achieve as adults can be reached – even if it seems impossible now.
Telling children they are not ready yet, instead of saying they failed is a much better way to encourage them that even if they have difficulties now, when they keep trying they will succeed eventually. The use of ‘yet’ shows that the learning is ongoing, and that it is the process of learning where the success happens, not the outcome.
Dr Carol Dweck says, “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.”
Avoid phrases such as, “you’re so clever” or “you’re so smart”, as these do not encourage learning and growth. Instead, praise the process, “you have worked so hard” or “you kept trying even when the task was difficult”.
Help your child understand that the brain can stretch and grow through their actions. Teach them that finding a task difficult to complete in fact makes their brain grow stronger.
Letting your child struggle and make their own discoveries in learning, rather than jumping in and helping, really helps them to become resilient and capable of solving problems.
Encourage your child to say, “I can’t do it yet.”
Ms. Alison, Year 1 Class Teacher
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