The conversation about growth mindset versus fixed mindset is an important one for anyone involved in homeschooling a child. These concepts have become more well-known thanks to the research of Dr. Carol Dweck and her colleagues. A world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Dr. Dweck set out to study the effect that failure has on students. Here are some of her most valuable findings:
If we believe our brain can grow, we behave differently.
Growth mindset is very simply knowing and believing that your brain can grow, which means your abilities and intelligence can develop.
When students have a fixed mindset, they believe they are stuck with whatever cards they were dealt. Phrases like “I’m not smart like her” or “I’m just not good at math” are evidence of a fixed mindset. When children have a fixed mindset, they are less likely to try because they do not believe they can change who they are.
However, when children are taught to have a growth mindset, they are more likely to try new things and rise to the occasion when they meet a challenge. If you know you can change, you are infinitely more likely to try.
Growth mindset can be learned.
If you read the phrases above like “I’m not smart” or “I’m not good at math” and panicked because you’ve heard them in your homeschool, there is good news. It is a scientific fact that brains can change and grow. Consequently, it is very possible to help your child move from a discouraging fixed mindset to an empowering growth mindset.
As part of Dr. Dweck’s studies, a group of 7th graders were taught that intelligence is not set in stone. They were shown how the brain’s neurological pathways can change and how the brain can get stronger with effort. This group of students showed a clear increase in their math grades.
If your child currently has a fixed mindset, it’s time for a science lesson about how the brain grows!
The type of feedback a student receives correlates with whether the child believes he or she can achieve.
Many of us have encouraged a child by saying, “You are so smart!” It seems so harmless, but researchers have found that this type of praise can actually lead to that negative fixed mindset: I am what I am. There’s no changing it. Thankfully, I’m smart. Sadly, this type of mindset can make a child give up or lose self-confidence when he or she encounters a problem that brings this identity into question: Maybe I’m not smart after all. I can’t do this, so I’m not smart!
An alternative to this type of praise is drawing attention to your child’s hard work and effort. Praising what a child did rather than who that child is can help cultivate a growth mindset that empowers the child when difficulties arise.
Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit Alpha Omega Publications online or call 800-622-3070 to learn more.
FREE Printable Mini-Book to Teach the Letter K
Are you teaching the alphabet this year in your young learning homeschool? This free printable mini-
Is Courting a Thing of the Past?
I can’t wait to share my husband’s culture with you. You will love it (I do.) Learn these 3 reas
FREE Printable Activity Pack for Earth Day
Check out this adorable FREE printable activity pack to share with your homeschool kids just in time
Why We Homeschool Four Days a Week Instead of Five
I knew, before I even started homeschooling, that I would NOT homeschool 5 days a week. It was
FREE Printable S.O.A.P for Kids Bible Study
Want a deeper way for your kids to read scripture? S.O.A.P notes are an awesome way for kids to real
The Easy Way To Raise A Money Genius
As parents, we all want the best for our kids. Whether it’s with their education, relationships, o