Growth Mindset

by THE K-12 COUNSELING TEAM | Tuesday, Mar 01, 2022

“Growth mindset,” first coined by Carol Dweck, has become a buzzword in education and workplaces, and that is because it has been shown to influence future success. Having a fixed versus growth mindset affects the way individuals respond to challenges and failure. Individuals with a growth mindset believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others. The reality is that struggling and challenges are key components to success. It’s okay to struggle, and all about it’s how you respond to this struggle.


9 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in the Classroom

(adapted from How to Foster a Growth Mindset , American University)

  1. Normalize struggle. Struggle is part of the learning process. Encourage reacting positively when children feel challenged.
  2. Encourage embracing challenges . Portray challenges as fun and exciting, and easy tasks as boring.
  3. Embrace the word “yet.” If your child makes the statement “I’m not a math person,” adding a simple qualifier will signal that growth is possible. “You’re not a math person yet .”
  4. Hype the value of hard tasks for the brain. Promote the idea that brains are flexible “muscles” that grow through challenge. Research backs this up!
  5. Demonstrate mistakes and celebrate corrections . Mistakes are learning opportunities. Model this in reactions to your own mistakes and steps you take to correct them.
  6. Set goals. Help your child set a SMART goal to demonstrate the attainability of growth and progress.
  7. Develop cooperative exercises. Working together to solve problems emphasizes process and reinforces the importance of getting help from others and finding solutions.
  8. Provide challenges. A particularly hard math problem or complex writing assignment that stretches their abilities can provide opportunities for growth and problem-solving.
  9. Avoid praising intelligence. This may seem counterintuitive, but praise for “being smart” reinforces the idea that intelligence is a, innate, fixed trait.
  10. Don’t oversimplify . “You can do anything!” may feel like harmless encouragement, but if students aren’t put in a position to overcome challenges, they’ll conclude that such statements are empty.

Challenge yourself to reframe your thinking and develop your own growth mindset through small changes to your language! 

Growth Mindset Resources

If you suspect your child is experiencing any difficulties whether academically, socially, or emotionally, please encourage them to seek the support of their school counselor or other trusted adults.