Having a growth mindset classroom is a surefire way to have success this year in your classroom. When our minds are set correctly and open to learning, then the rest will follow. A growth mindset classroom tone is positive, eager to learn, and not afraid of failure!
What is a growth mindset?
A growth mindset is the quality of a mind that believes it can learn and grow instead of a fixed mind that believes that it can not learn new things or expand. This applies to any subject, but we can look at art as an example. One student may think, “I can’t draw. I’m no good at art.” While a growth mindset would think, “I’m not that great at drawing, but I can learn, and I can get better.”
Sure we may all have talents and interests that make us more likely to excel at some things, but just because I personally have no interest in, say, tennis, that doesn’t mean I can’t learn it if I really wanted to.
“Growth mindset” became a popular term when Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, wrote her best-selling book, Mindset (you’ll find a link to her book later in this post).
What growth mindset isn’t…
A growth mindset is not about false praise. It’s not about being better than everyone else. Rather it’s about being better than yourself – it’s about growing.
Why is Growth Mindset in the classroom important?
A growth mindset is important because it is the true foundation to instill a love of learning and create lifelong learners. Students must fall in love with the process of learning and being curious, as well as not being afraid to fail. Then it won’t matter what problems life (school) gives them – they will be ready to tackle them with the right mindset.
Growth Mindset in the Classroom Video
You’ll find everything I talk about in this blog post in my popular 15-minute video available from my Teachers Pay Teachers store (it’s free). Click on the image below or HERE to watch this video.
9 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset Classroom
1. Set YOUR mind. You must believe that all students can learn and grow. Read Carol’s book, so you are familiar with all the research that has gone into her work.
2. Change the WAY you say things. For example, when someone gets frustrated and says they “can’t do something,” say – You can’t do it “YET,” but if you keep trying and working at it, you will be able to do it. This doesn’t mean that every kid in your class will win the spelling bee. This isn’t a guarantee that anyone will be the next president – this is simply a way to positively influence the way your students think about problems and help them be the best version of themselves that they can be and reach their full potential.
3. Have students change the way they say things to one another. When you hear them speaking negatively – have them reframe it as a POSITIVE and motivational statement to encourage growth and learning. Remind your students that failure is learning.
“Success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared.” ~Sonya Sotomayor
4. Change the décor in the classroom – make it CHILD-CENTERED. Have your children make artwork and projects that are motivational and inspiring and that they themselves are directly connected to. These messages and connections will help encourage them when the year gets hard. I’ve created many Growth Mindset collaboration posters to help with this!
5. INVOLVE your students in procedures and practices – show them that you trust them. When there is a problem, ask THEM what they think, what should we do when…? Let them be in charge of the class and solve the problems.
6. READ books to your students (and for yourself) that reinforce the message of having a growth mindset. The following books are all books I have personally used and find helpful in the classroom. Please note that the following images (and links attached to them) are affiliate links to Amazon (see disclosure HERE).
Also, make sure you read professional learning books to fully understand how you can best help your students develop their growth mindset. Here are some of my favorites…
7. Do ACTIVITIES with your students that intentionally have them think about their mindset.
- Have them write a story about a time they almost gave up on something. How did it feel to accomplish what you were trying to do? What would have happened if you had given up?
- Have them work on motivational and inspiring coloring pages.
- Use this FREEBIE from Brain Waves Instruction during an open house.
8. When something is hard, REINFORCE your classroom tone by saying, “Remember, let’s have a growth mindset and work through this.”
9. Have students encourage each other when things are hard and start using the word “YET.”
I sincerely hope that these tips will help you promote a growth mindset in your classroom and experience all the good things that will follow from it!
I would love to see your students’ work if you decide to create any of my projects with them. Feel free to tag me (@artwithjennyk or #artwithjennyk) on social media so I can see what they make! You’ll find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!