When introducing Growth Mindset, children learn that their minds can be fixed, or alternately, geared for growth. They will also learn how their brains can grow and strengthen with new knowledge in response to challenges.
As you introduce these new ideas, keep it fun and playful so the kids stay engaged.
It’s important not to rush it. Whilst some kids can grasp the concept straight away, others may take a little while. Use your imagination for those who are a little insecure – playdough the brain and its halves, paint it, have a competition to see who can guess what colour it is, how heavy it ways. Along the way you can explain that each of these fun activities are helping them have a growth mindset. Plan lessons for once or twice a week. Lessons can range from 10 minutes to half an hour depending on age group and how much the children get into it.
Have a family or classroom discussion about the following questions:
1. What does it mean to GROW? What kinds of things grow? Answers will vary. Growth means to develop, change, mature, evolve. Living things grow – plants, animals, and people. Even our brains can grow!
2. When you think of your brain, what do you think MINDSET means?
Mindset is the way our brain thinks about things we do. Our mindset helps us look at problems, as well as mistakes, in a positive way!
3. Let’s put those words together: growth and mindset. When we combine them, it
means something really important. What could growth mindset mean? A growth mindset is believing in the power of yourself and your brain! We know our abilities develop when we try hard things, use the right strategies, and don’t give up. So a growth mindset is when we know, with practice, we will get better at something.
4. If fixed is the opposite of growth, what does it mean to have a FIXED mindset? A
fixed mindset means you think you can’t get better at things, even if you practice. Wanting to quit, give up, or deciding you’re just not good at something are all clues to having a fixed mindset.
Step 1: Building The Foundation
Use the suggested script below to discuss mindset.
“Everyone in the world has a way of seeing things. We call this a mindset. You have a mindset, your friends have a mindset and your teacher has a mindset. Let’s start talking about the way we see things using our mindset.
We can choose to look at the world in a way that makes us feel strong and happy, or in a way that makes us feel frustrated and we can’t improve.
People with a growth mindset know they can get better by working hard. They keep trying even when things are tough and they say things such as, ‘I can’t do this…yet’ or ‘Mistakes help me learn.’
People with a fixed mindset feel differently, as if they are stuck with the way things are. A fixed mindset can happen to anyone at some time or another but it’s important we choose to have a growth mindset, keep trying and stick with challenges.”
Step 2: Reflection
Share a personal story about when you were stuck and used hard work or help from others to overcome a challenge.
Ask your child or class to share similar examples from their lives. In the classroom, this could be done with everyone together or in smaller groups as a fun activity for kids to practice their knowledge about the mindsets. Create a class poster or individual posters. Build a growth tree for steps 2 and 3.
Step 3: Growth Mindset and The Brain
Discuss the brain and its remarkable ability to change and grow. Use our suggested script below.
Now that we know what growth mindset is, let’s talk a little more about our brain and the amazing things it can do! Did you know you can grow your brain when you try new things and don’t give up when something is tough?
Learning something new is hardest the first time, but your brain behaves like a muscle and gets stronger every time things are repeated. Let’s watch a video to help us understand this even better.”
Use a video from classdojo. They have some fantastic clips that kids can relate to. It’s a great way for your kids or
students to learn more about how their brain works and have fun along the way. Here is one below that I have constantly used in the classroom.
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