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  • Sam B.

The Importance of a Growth Mindset


We are often asked about how to motivate students. The truth is that there is no single answer or magical cure for motivation in children or adults. Experts suggest that giving people autonomy is worth more than salary in term of motivation. And, while this might be true for adults, it is a little less applicable for students -- especially young ones. When we work with our clients, we try to foster a Growth Mindset. Today, I'd like to explore what this means and share some examples of things you can do at home!

The Importance of a Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck at Harvard studies how humans learn, and she discovered an important division in how people see learning. She suggests that there are two patterns of thought students might practice: a “fixed” mindset and a “growth” mindset. To briefly summarize: a growth mindset values development through consistent effort rather than inherent talent in something. A fixed mindset is the idea that success comes from innate gifts that cannot change. Thus, a student with a fixed mindset is prone to labelling herself based on her immediate success or failure rather than accepting failure as a means to improve. The mindset that contributes more towards long-term success and happiness is the one that prizes growth through difficulty, because it helps us to overcome despair. We have experienced both a fixed and growth mindsets at different times in our lives. A fixed mindset is easy to fall into during times of success, because it feels good to label oneself as a “good student” or “naturally clever;" however, that mindset renders the accidental D grade on a math test as devastating. Luckily, this mindset can be turned around! We can foster an environment of growth mindset by praising effort rather than success and quality of work over quality of product. If your child presents a report card to you, one thing you can say is, “I see that B in Language Arts! Wow, you must have worked really hard to improve that grade! I’m proud of you.” This empowers the student because she can recognize her own agency in improvement. It was not just her natural “cleverness” or “laziness” that earned her grade, but her dedication to the task. Similarly, you can coach your child through a bad grade by suggesting that her teacher is pointing out what she can do better next time. For more on this, check out Carol Dweck’s research.

Star Tutoring: Online | In Center | In Home

Are you struggling with an unmotivated learner? We may be able to help! We position our tutors as coaches and mentors. We help with academic content, but we also help our clients become successful independent learners. Contact us today for a free consultation! Sam Barnes Owner and Center Director

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