Traditionally, classroom teachers have been entrusted to facilitate student learning that fosters the acquisition of knowledge and skills that ideally empower students to be academically successful.
Traditionally, there was the belief — the mindset — that intelligence was fixed, that one was either smart or they weren’t. However, research has proven again and again that mindset simply is not true.
In fact, studies have shown that the human brain acts like a muscle, and the more it is used, the stronger and smarter it will become.
This topic of discussion was recently explored during the Clinton-Massie Elementary School “Growth Mindset Night” when Southern Ohio Educational Service Center and Clinton-Massie Intervention Specialist, Jen Molitor, shared with colleagues and parents the importance of developing a growth mindset among all students.
According to Molitor, an individual with a fixed mindset commonly avoids challenges, gives up easily, ignores feedback, is threatened by other people’s successes, and tries hard to appear as smart or capable as possible.
But when individuals develop a growth mindset, they find themselves embracing challenges and giving their best effort. They learn from feedback and become inspired by the success of others, and they believe their intelligence can change if they put forth a renewed effort and work hard.
Growth Mindset is the new mind set at Clinton-Massie Elementary School where teachers empower students to change their way of thinking—to embrace a growth mindset that thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching existing abilities.
It is a practice that goes beyond the classroom and can easily find its way to the family room as teachers and parents alike work to foster a growth mindset. It’s as easy as taking a negative and self-defeating experience or thought and turning it into a positive one. For example, instead of saying, “I give up,” develop the growth mindset and say, “I’ll use a different strategy.” Instead of thinking, “This is too hard,” think instead that “This may take some time.” Instead of settling for “It’s good enough,” ask the question “Is this really my best work?”
“When we learn the concept of changing our mindset to embrace mistakes and learning, amazing things can happen!” said Molitor, “and when we truly understand the power of our beliefs, as well as our own learning potential, we can begin to change our own mindset. Making mistakes, changing how we view failure and being persistent with our goals can improve the likelihood of successful outcomes. There’s no limit to the possibilities for our accomplishments.”
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.