As the “newness” of the new year wears off, it’s common for the focus to drift away from growth mindset. There are so many things demanding our attention in the curriculum, so it’s easy for growth mindset instruction and practice to be put on the back burner. If you want to keep growth mindset as a focus, this post is for you! I’m going to share tips that you can use to encourage a growth mindset all year long.
The Importance of Growth Mindset in the Classroom
It’s essential for students to know that they are in control of how much they learn and grow. We help students understand this truth when we focus on growth mindset in the classroom. We can help students develop the belief that their intelligence can be grown and developed. Their ability is not fixed or pre-determined.
With a growth mindset, students understand that their brain grows from being challenged. They feel comfortable taking academic risks and they are less likely to become frustrated when they are met with a challenging task. Students are faced with academic risks and challenges in the classroom every day, so it’s very important for them to have a growth mindset.
5 Ways to Encourage Growth Mindset All Year Long
Instead of giving students a growth mindset lesson at the beginning of the year and a refresher on goal setting in January, make it a year-long effort to create a growth mindset community! Here are some suggestions that will help you keep growth mindset a focus of your classroom for the whole school year.
1. Revisit Goals
Did you have your students set challenging goals for themselves either at the beginning of the school year or after winter break? Don’t just set and forget! Be sure to give students opportunities to revisit and reflect on their goal-setting.
Sometimes students discover that their goals weren’t challenging enough and achieve them almost immediately. This is a great time to discuss the importance of taking on challenges! Other students might find that their goals might have been a bit lofty and they’re feeling frustrated with their progress. You can remind these students to use positive self-talk and accept feedback as they identify challenging yet appropriate goals for themselves.
2. Celebrate Effort and Approximations
When reflecting on goals and learning new concepts, be sure to continue to celebrate effort and approximations. This is one slight adjustment that you can make to your daily praise and feedback that will help to create a growth mindset community. Instead of praising students for only completed work and outcomes, praise them for the effort they put into the process. Celebrate as students make small improvements and take small steps toward their learning goals.
3. Involve Families
Don’t keep your celebrations confined to the classroom! You can keep your students excited about developing a growth mindset by including their families. Send home a celebratory note to show parents that you notice and recognize their child's effort. This will encourage families to do the same. Not only will this foster growth mindset throughout the year, but it will also help to strengthen the school-home connection.
4. Make It Routine
One of the best ways to make sure that you don't put growth mindset on the back burner is to make it routine. Even if it’s just a small part of your daily or weekly schedule! For example, if you have a morning meeting, you could share fun facts about the brain on your morning slide. You could invite students to share a challenge they faced with a growth mindset while you wait for the bell to ring. If you would like to make it a habit to send home celebratory notes, add that task to your lesson plans, or even set a reminder on your phone.
5. Incorporate Growth Mindset into Content Area Practice
As I mentioned above, we have a lot of ground to cover in the curriculum each day. It can feel daunting to add growth mindset activities and discussions to your already-packed lesson plans. One way that I’ve been able to add more classroom discussion about growth mindset is by incorporating it into content area practice! For example, if you have daily journal writing, you can set aside one day for students to write about a goal they’re working on or celebrate a challenge that they faced with a growth mindset. This is a great journal writing prompt for a Friday!
Another way to add some engaging growth mindset discussion to content area practice is with reading passages! Students are able to practice important decoding, fluency, and comprehension skills while focusing on different growth mindset concepts. If you use growth mindset reading passages, I highly suggest reading them as a whole class so you can have discussion around the topics. If you use them during centers, morning work, or for homework, you can still spend a couple of minutes discussing them as a class after everyone has had a chance to read them.
Printable Growth Mindset Reading Passages
I have created a set of reading passages that focus on growth mindset. These short, no-prep reading passages include 10 fiction and 10 nonfiction passages that students can use to practice close reading skills. The passages are engaging and motivating for students to read, plus they encourage growth mindset discussion in the classroom.
Save These Ideas to Encourage Growth Mindset
I hope that this post has served as some inspiration to keep growth mindset a focus in your classroom after the newness of the new year has worn off. Be sure to save this post as a reminder to encourage growth mindset all year long! Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching or growth mindset board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly find this post the next time you’re looking for growth mindset printables and ideas for your classroom.