Mindsets ~ Growth Mindset at School

This morning we are continuing our  Mindsets in the Classroom book study!

I am excited to be sharing with you about chapter 2, because this chapter really spoke to me!

Chapter 2 outlined the seven steps that you need to be able to establish a growth mindset on your campus, or at your school.  I loved these steps, because they broke it down into parts that are easy to understand.  Plus, then you can make sure you go step by step to help build the mindset in your area.  The best part is, if you aren't able to do this school wide, you can start small in your own classroom!

I think this step is one of the most important steps!  We need to take time to think about how we view intelligence.  Is it something that we think can be changed, or do we believe it is something that we have and we can't gain more.

One way to do this is to really take time and think about things we do, or are good at.  It also gives us time to think about what we portray to our students.

I found it interesting that Mary found no pattern amongst certain grade levels, but rather amongst the age of the teachers.  On page 15 she explains "Slightly more of the less-experienced teachers tended to have a growth mindset, while the more experienced teachers held a fixed mindset."  She did attribute that to when they might have graduated and the beliefs during that time.  

I find this very interesting though, as I fully agree in a growth mindset.  I agree that all students can achieve anything they want to, and it doesn't matter what they have been told they are good at before. If they want to be good at something, with hard work they can be!

I loved the idea from this section about creating a school motto.  It is not only important that as educators we believe that our students are going to be able to grow and develop, but it's important that we explain that to EVERYONE!!  We want to explain to our staff that all students have the ability to grow and change, just like educators do too!

I really liked this quote, "Being an optimistic learner is beneficial for students, as it helps them become ready to master new learning and be optimistic about their ability to do so."  We need to help students know that we believe in them, and that we believe they can do anything that they work hard to achieve!    

Who here loves receiving praise!?  If you are anything like me I am sure you are saying that you do.  We all like being acknowledged for doing a good job, for going the extra mile, or even for that lesson that we spent extra time creating.  If you're anything like me, then you also know that as educators we don't often receive that praise, and we are doing it because we have a passion for it, and not because we are hoping someone says thank you.

How often do you praise your students?  Do you praise them every day?  When you do, are you telling them good job on their test?  Great job on that A?  Or are you praising them for the effort that they put in?  Mary shared on page 20, "when adults praise actions or tasks that children 'do', the children attribute accomplishment to their own effort."

I also LOVED that she shared that it doesn't matter what we say, but how we say it as well.  If we are not showing that we really care when we tell them we are, then why would they believe us!?

There is a lot we can learn about the brain, and I'm glad Mary broke it down to simple terms for people like me.  If she would have used too many big words then I know I would have had my dictionary out trying to figure out what she was explaining to us.

Lucky for me, she explained it in a way that I found easy to understand.  Every time we do something new a neuron is making a new connection.  The more that we do that thing, the connection because better established.  For example, when I started blogging I had no idea what I was doing.  With practice, patience, and continued effort it has become easier for me.  How amazing would that be if we explained it that way to our students.  Instead of just telling them practice makes perfect, what if we explained that our neurons need to help build that pathway to our brain!

Not only do we need to educate ourselves, and our staff members, but we also need to educate our students.  It is very important that they know that they can do anything that they put their mind to.  Even if in the past they have been told that they aren't good at math, or aren't good at a certain thing, that doesn't mean that with practice, perseverance and continued effort that they can't be good at it.

Parents are just as important to educate because our students go home and spend time with their parents.  We don't want parents telling their kids that they will get it because they aren't good at something.  Just because my parents weren't good at art, doesn't mean that I can't be good at art.  Or just because my parents weren't avid readers doesn't mean that I can't be one.

Another way to encourage them is to think about the way they talk to their children.  Now I know this might be hard, and imagine a parent doesn't want you telling them how to talk to their children.  At the same time, remind them about how much they enjoy praise.  We all like to hear that we are doing a good job, rather than we aren't doing well enough.  If parents can change the way they talk to their child, then hopefully when we are doing it in the classroom the child will grow and their self esteem will continue to explode!

I know that we can't change everything, and we may not be in the position to change policies, but we can voice our opinions.  We shouldn't stunt a child's growth just because they don't fit in the mold that so many of us have for our classrooms or schools.  One child might really excel in a certain area in science, so instead of telling them they can't do something, why not see how we can use that to help us or our other students.

Finally, what are we doing in our classrooms to help push our students?  What are we doing to show them that it is more than just achieving the A in the end.  We want to know that they have earned that A, and that it wasn't too easy for them.  I know this is going to be more work on our part, but why are we in these positions!?  Is it to make our teaching the same for every student, or is it to push and challenge every student?  I can't wait to begin thinking about how I am going to do this next year so I can push my students and help them to grow!

Thank you for reading along, and I hope that you found some great ideas!  You can check out Hello Sunshine Teachers for more insight from chapter 2!


  1. Wow Cassandra you were so thorough with your thoughts here! I felt the same way about the "how we say it". Keeping that positive body language going is so important! Great post!

  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Chapter 2. The school motto from Step 2 stood out for me as well. Thanks for sharing!
    I Heart My Kinder Kids


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