Tips to Support a Growth Mindset in the Classroom

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably seen a few pictures of my Growth Mindset display (it’s one of my absolute favorite resources to see in your classrooms!)

A growth mindset is so much more than just a display on your classroom wall, friend. It is actually a bit of a game-changer when it comes to empowering your students, and it leaves them with tools that will last far beyond the classroom. And really, that’s what teaching’s all about, right?

I wanted to introduce you to the concept of a growth mindset and give you some practical ways that you can introduce your little learners to it, too.

What is a growth mindset anyway?

If the name Carol Dweck rings a bell, then you might have already heard a bit about the growth mindset! Carol Dweck is a psychologist who became really interested in how students approach challenges in their learning, and through her work identified two main states of mind: a growth mindset, and a fixed mindset.

Students with a fixed mindset tend to believe that the things they aren’t good at now are things they’ll always struggle with, and might avoid attempting them altogether. A fixed mindset tends to believe that intelligence is something you’re born with, and students who fall into this category might feel threatened by other students and think trying or effort will get them nowhere.

Imagine being a little learner, so early in your journey, and thinking these things about yourself!

a pink graphic outlining the characteristics of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset
Some of these characteristics are easier to spot than others, and your students might show evidence of both mindsets – that’s totally normal!

Now imagine being supported to explore another mindset – a growth mindset. Rather than viewing failure as a reason to stop trying, a growth mindset sees these challenges as opportunities to… well, grow! Students with a growth mindset are more likely to see the connection between effort and success, and consider feedback as a really valuable tool in their learning.

A classroom full of students who love a challenge, learn from feedback and try their very best – now that’s a learning environment I think we’d all want to help create!

How can I encourage a growth mindset in my students?

Friend, I’m *so* glad you asked! A 2016 study revealed that while 98% of teachers want to introduce a growth mindset in their classrooms, sadly only 20% felt they had the tools to do so.

I know it can also be challenging to try and find room for something else in what’s already a pretty jam-packed curriculum.

That’s why I want to give you these small tips to give you the confidence you need to make a real change in your classroom!

1. Start using the growth mindset language

Depending on how old your kids are, it might take a little time to get used to the idea of a growth mindset.

Before making it into its own lesson, begin by challenging any instances of a fixed mindset you see from your students and let them know why you’re reframing their comment.

2. Introduce activities that let your little learners try it out for themselves

Once your kiddos are starting to catch on to the way you’re speaking with them, it’s time to bust out my Growth Mindset Display and let your students take more ownership of the idea.

A photo from my lovely MJLL BFF @lololoveslearning of my Growth Mindset Display in her classroom
My Boho Rainbow Growth Mindset Display is the perfect way to gradually introduce your students to this concept! 📸 via @lololoveslearning

I recommend introducing one poster at a time, and letting the students brainstorm some growth mindset options to replace the fixed mindset statement.

This work needs to be meaningful to the kids for them to really take it on board, so build your display over time and only hang up the posters that you’ve worked on together.

This makes it a little more manageable on your end, too, rather than trying to carve out a whole lesson to go through all the different posters.

You’ll find that your students will start to look forward to the sessions as well, and having them on board will just make it so much easier on you!

I’ve also got some freebies that you can use as little positive reminders around the classroom. If you haven’t already, sign up as a BFF to download my Growth Mindset Bookmarks and Motivational Posters.

 

Free Growth Mindset Bookmarks downloadable resource
Growth Mindset Bookmarks are just one of a tonne of free resources you can access as a MJLL BFF!

3. Flip your praise into reflection

Now that you’re all on the same page, it’s time to start giving your students more and more opportunities to practise their growth mindset!

As their teacher, your little learners will place so much value on the praise and feedback you give them.

Before giving students that feedback, try leading with a question that instead asks them to reflect on their process. For example, ‘What made you approach it that way?’ or ‘What would you do differently next time?’

A graphic with growth mindset options to rephrase the common praise of “you’re so smart” Description: I recently shared this on my Instagram, and so many of you loved these simple but effective ways to use a growth mindset in your own communication.

This helps us to challenge our own mindset, too!

Studies show that encouraging a growth mindset in little learners leads to increases in motivation levels, productivity, and (what I think is most important of all) self-esteem.

In what can be as short as 12 months with your students, the time you spend instilling a growth mindset in them is equipping them with a skill that will follow them for life!

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Growth Mindset Displays for the Classroom

To help you introduce the concept of growth mindsets to your little learners, I’ve created this display in a couple of different styles to suit all kinds of classroom themes!

Each pack comes with header lettering, fixed and growth mindset statement posters, and arrows to create an easy-to-implement display. Just print, laminate, stick and go grow!

Modern Boho Rainbow Theme

Growth Mindset Display Modern Rainbow Cover

Growth Mindset Display Modern Rainbow Cover 2

Modern Rainbow Growth Mindset Display

Botanical / Farmhouse Theme

botanical-growth-mindset-display

growth-mindset-botanical-1 

Boho Rainbow Theme

growth-mindset-display-boho-rainbow

Boho Rainbow Growth Mindset Display

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