By Blanca Tacer
|The Nature of Brains and Intelligence|
Introducing students how our brain works, how we learn, fixed and growth mindset.
Teaching students about brain plasticity
Mindset interventions may be more influential if they integrate the evolving nature of science and information about brain plasticity in adulthood.
Gathering students’ experience about how mindset in being developed
How their own experiences and observations affected their mindset beliefs (e.g., their own academic experiences, observing peers’ experiences). How authority figures (e.g., parents and teachers) talk about intelligence is influential.
|Growth Mindset Language|
Demonstrating the connection between learning and result
Emphasizing effort, mistakes, brain growth, reflection about learning, high expectations, growth-oriented feedbacks.
You can encourage students to think deeply and communicate to them that they can achieve at a high level, but it takes persistence and character. It requires an understanding that even if success does not come immediately, they must keep trying (Duckworth 2016; Tough 2012).
Keep the conversation about the growth mindset alive
Provide examples of growth mindset
Praise effort not talent
It is necessary to change these messages from ones that praise intelligence to ones that praise effort and tell students they can achieve; it may just take more time and practice, and it won’t happen overnight (Boaler 2016; Dweck 2006; Kohn 2015; Pink 2009). This means that instead of saying “you are so smart,” you can say, “I loved how you solved that problem. You really thought outside the box.”
Promoting positive self-talk
Explicitly teaching students how to use positive self-talk helps them develop essential skills and the confidence necessary to be successful in learning.
High expectations for all students
Wagner (2012) emphasizes that the message we send to our students by having high expectations is that they are capable. When trying to reach high expectations, students see failures as a result of those high expectations versus lack of potential, and by contrast, low expectations will cause students to question their intellectual ability.
|Growth Mindset Tasks|
Deliberate practice, mistakes and challenges
Very often, students do not need to complete 100 problems in order to demonstrate understanding; sometimes they only need to complete one very challenging problem that extends on the concepts taught in class. Repetitive exercises that require a lot of time to complete can be counterproductive (Rosario et al. 2019). After finishing the one problem, they feel a much greater sense of accomplishment. There are fields of study, however, where exposure to multiple tasks is essential (e.g. English tenses). When this is the case, it is essential for the students to see purpose and meaning in the tasks. Integration of the tasks with real life problems is thus essential. It is also beneficial if the students can develop real life skills in problems they are faced with.
This mastery of a challenging skill also boosts their self-efficacy (Bandura and Schunk 1981). When they go over that problem as a class, have students lead the discussion (Abdulrahim and Orosco 2020). Encourage deliberate and reflective practice. Deliberate practice is the act of isolating what is not working and mastering the challenging area before moving on, allowing the new information to become encoded in memory (Mulligan, 1998).
Create opportunities for desirable difficulty. Working through problems is how we learn: It is better to let students spend some time trying to fix their problems than it is to just give them the answer and go on.
Providing opportunities for mistakes without punishment. Normalize mistakes and failures.
Recognizing mistakes not as an enemy to be vanquished but as a friend with much to teach us.
Multiple exposures provide students with multiple opportunities to encounter, engage with, and elaborate on new knowledge and skills.
Adherence to learning goals rather than performance goals
Tendency in students to pursue goals aiming at increasing their ability, according importance to learning (academic importance belief), rather than proving their ability to others.
Scaffold learning via specific steps/activities, scaffold a final goal into the smaller goals showing a connection between effort and result.
Give students choice on assignments. Motivation increases when students are given more control, and this increased motivation can, in turn, promote a growth mindset (Howard and Whitaker 2011). Students vary in the way they communicate what they learn. On big projects, give them the opportunity to present their work in different ways; for example, a blog, a video presentation, or a booklet.
|Growth Mindset Assessment|
Give the students opportunities to test themselves, rather than just study or practice the new material. Students sometimes possess intrinsic motivation in which they receive pleasure from the learning process itself without the need for a reward (Gottfried 1985). They possess pride in their accomplishment of a difficult task. You can also create tasks that stimulate their thinking. Students enjoy the challenge of creating their own tests.
Work with students to eliminate the fear of guessing and help them become comfortable starting again if their process is not progressing (Duckworth 2016). You need to determine when to use extrinsic rewards, such as giving a prize or extra points on a test. Rewards and punishments can induce negative thinking or give rise to cheating.
|Growth Mindset Reflection|
Discussion about students’ past experience with overcoming a struggle:
Growth Mindset questions
Questioning, by using questions to engage students, to monitor their progress and stimulate their thinking, and also by valuing questions from students as a form of feedback and an opportunity for clarification/extension of learning.