The Importance of Mindset in Education
“The moment that we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.” - Josh Waitzkin
In the education field, students’ and educators’ mindsets while learning can have a lasting impact on not only their classroom experience, but their lasting self-image. A shift towards a growth mindset cultivated in school can have a positive long-term impact on students and educators alike.
As Tabitha Brower of Althos Academies described, a “growth” mindset is rooted in the belief that a student’s intelligence can be developed with consistent effort, time, and focus on learning. This mindset is posed as an alternative to a “fixed” mindset, where a student’s intelligence is based on a predetermined set of skills and talents.
While these opposing thought processes may seem a bit abstract, the ideologies can have concrete effects on students’ belief in their abilities. By sticking to a growth mindset, students put their maximum amount of effort into achieving their greatest potential, rather than becoming too focused on an end goal.
This shift in mindset can also prevent students from viewing roadblocks as endgames. With a fixed mindset, a mistake is the students’ shortcoming. If they cannot solve a math problem, they must just be bad at math. A growth mindset, on the other hand, leads students to see mistakes as an opportunity for improvement. They may not be a math whiz yet, but with a little more practice, they can improve.
What does cultivating a growth mindset in the classroom look like?
To nurture a growth mindset in students, educators must lead by example! By adopting growth mindset habits on their own, educators can provide a positive model in their classroom. According to Keith Heggart of Edutopia, a learning environment that actively leans towards a growth mindset can be equally fulfilling for students and teachers.
When schools provide performance reflection time, formative rather than summative feedback, and opportunities to try new methods for learning that are based in learning rather than meeting a benchmark, educators are given the space to create a more enriching learning environment.
A growth mindset shifts the focus of education from attaining benchmarks that can stunt students and educators to cultivating a comprehensive learning experience for all. It’s a daunting task to imagine, changing the way we think about learning, but the benefits for students can make a world of difference.