Cultivating Growth Mindset

A few months back as I began graduate school I wrote for the first time about Growth Mindset and created a plan for what that would look like implemented with my students. As I’ve recently reread Dweck’s Mindset I’ve been able to really pull pieces and connect them to my innovation plan implementing ePortfolios in the classroom. In order for it to be a success I need to help move my kids from a mindset of cannots to just not yet.  

One of my primary goals is to instill a love of learning in my students. I want my students to become motivated, self-directed learners who will learn to use technology as a tool to reinforce their curiosity and continuously seek ways to expand their understanding. What does that mean for my classroom? Post pandemic our kids are reluctant to be excited about school and any motivation they bring with them on the daily quickly dissipates when the going gets tough. When the questions get too rigorous, the content is confusing or there is no schema to pull from, all too frequently our kids tell themselves they cannot do, it’s pointless to try, or they’ll never get it. They become fixated on what they cannot do and never think about changing that mindset.  

Asking our kids to have a growth mindset is like asking me to build a house. We would both be completely clueless and at a loss for the next step….unless someone is there to model that for me step by step. Mindset is something that is so abstract to kids, as they think it’s something that they have to earn and get to keep. A one job and done type scenario. What we have to instill in them is that it’s in fact actually something that you can’t see, can’t earn and definitely have to work to keep it. 

It is my plan that using ePortfolios daily in my classroom and on our campus that these thoughts begin to come less frequently. As an educator, I will continue to model what a growth mindset looks like, sounds like and feels like to all students using my own personal ePortfolio. This space will give them the ability to explore, collaborate and express themselves, all of which are necessary to foster a growth mindset.  They need to see that perfection isn’t realistic and mistakes are growth. While they may not get something right away it doesn’t mean this will never happen, it’s just not happening yet. This will be the most difficult part for my students I think. 

Society is built to praise ability and views of intelligence. This makes it extremely difficult to try and shift our students from those areas that aren’t helping them grow. Grades are what our students hold on to. How can I get them to associate a not so great grade, in their opinion, with the idea that they are making connections. Shifting to a growth mindset mentality comes with students hearing praise for effort and progress not always something that is so numerical. What they do following a less than favorable grade is where they can feel the growth. If they can see the progress they’ve made and focus on the importance of learning and not the grades then we’re moving in the right direction. It’s not going to be smooth and easy flowing but by the end of the year I’m hoping my students have a little bit more grit than what they started with.