Do you know how to teach a growth mindset?

For children with a fixed mindset, the classroom can be a scary place. They see school as the place where their abilities are evaluated, not as a place where their abilities are developed. Their goal in school tends to be to show that they are smart or at least to avoid looking dumb. For them, mistakes are a sign that they lack talent.

For children with a growth mindset, the classroom is a more exciting and less judgmental place. They believe they can develop their ability and tend to see challenges as opportunities to grow because they understand that they can improve their abilities persevering. If something is hard, they understand that by continuing to have a go combined with the power of Yet, they will get better.

How do we teach our children to go from fixed to growth?

There are ten ways to teach growth mindset. These are:

  • Show your child how they learn. Discuss with them how our brains actually work for learning.
  • Teach your child about fixed and growth mindsets and how our brain functions with these mindsets.
  • Model growth mindset thinking as much as you can.
  • Discuss negative and positive self-talk and how this impacts the two mindsets.
  • Recognise effort over success.
  • Teach them the power of Yet.
  • Help them set S.M.A.R.T goals.
  • Celebrate mistakes and struggles. Both are equally important.
  • Avoid labelling your child.
  • Model growth mindset behaviour.

Each of these will be discussed individually beginning next week with showing your child how they learn – the workings of the brain.

Have fun with your child. Teach them to have a go. Show them what this means. Chat to you next week.


Are mistakes needed for learning?

Making mistakes can lead to children experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment which, in turn, can create an underlying belief system of unworthiness – destroying self-esteem and self-confidence.

As educators, we have many opportunities to teach children how to manage mistakes so they can learn how to take responsibility for them, learn from them, and let them go, thus, turning those negative belief systems into empowering ones.

The following are some simple steps we can all use to support and teach our children how to have a positive mindset.

  1. Saying, “It was me. I did it.” And saying these words out makes the child accountable for their actions. Children need to learn to take responsibility for their own mistakes and not to blame others or make excuses.

2. Saying, “I’m sorry.” Children need to learn to apologise directly to the person the mistake they made has impacted. This helps both children with self-forgiveness.

3. “I can fix this.” We need to teach children how to fix their own mistakes. If they break something, they may be able to replace it, if they took something from someone, they need to give it back. We need to teach them that most of the time mistakes are fixable.

4. “I learnt from my mistake.” Children understand they can learn from their mistakes if we talk them through it. This experience becomes an opportunity for growth instead of a reason for self-sabotage.

5. “Letting it all go.” Children need to learn how to breathe and let it all go once they have acknowledged and (tried) to fix their mistakes. This is the most important step because it enables them to release the negative energy, focus on the positive (the lesson), and move forward empowered.

Mistakes are essential for learning. They are necessary. Teaching our children how to manage their mistakes and then how to let go of them, once dealt with, is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. They will learn responsibility, compassion, resilience. They will become self-confident instead of feeling internal self-doubt. The negatives become positives. This gives them a clear mind, stress factors are alleviated which leads to greater learning and a positive mindset.