As educators our jobs is to inspire and create learning opportunities for our students. But sometimes it is difficult because either the students feel like they can’t learn or they just don’t understand so they give up. They exhibit what Carol Dweck would say is a “fixed mindset” about learning. These students feel like “what you see is what you get,” many believing that they have little (or no) control over their level of intelligence. What we have to do is create that environment to where the students feel that it’s OK not to know the answer.
As educators, our words matter. The way we talk to our students, the type of feedback we give, and the little things we do to encourage students are essential to helping them acquire a “growth mindset” — the belief that their intelligence can be developed through hard work, practice, and persistence. As teachers, it is critical that we work with our students in ways that foster the belief that intelligence is a product of effort, and that we establish classrooms where grit and tenacity are encouraged.
This is something that we have to model. By doing this ourselves — showing grit and determination in our own learning — we are leading by example. When our students see us working hard to learn, then they will see the we are “practicing what we preach”. To me this is the best teaching tool there is.
In the following video, Angela Lee Duckworth explains here theory of “grit” as the greatest predictor of success.
How do you foster a growth mindset with your students? Do you lead by example? Do you show “grit” in your personal learning?