The Seven Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students – Gift #2
Another essential gift we must give to our students is the power to believe in themselves. We need students to believe that with hard work and effort, they can achieve anything they set their minds too. Too many people go through life doubting themselves and being afraid to follow their dreams. We must give students the gift of knowing that if they change their mindset, they can change their life!
Luckily, Dr. Carol Dweck has brought the idea of developing students mindsets to the forefront of education and I am very grateful for her work. In her amazing book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck defines two contrasting mindsets that people generally fall into; a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities, character, and attributes, can be developed through sustained effort and practice. They believe the key to success is working hard to achieve a goal. People with a growth mindset view failure as part of the learning process and an opportunity to learn from mistakes.
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits and can’t be changed, developed, or improved. These people tend to believe they are either a “math person” or not a math person and no amount of effort will help them. People with a fixed mindset view failure as a final outcome and they quit.
One Word to Change Your Mindset: The Power of Yet!
One Word. Three Letters. “Y-E-T”… Did you know that this word is one of of the most powerful words in the English language? Students always look at me really funny when I say this the first week of school but no worries… I have proof! Here are two hypothetical students and their attitudes toward learning multiplication.
Student #1: “I’m not good at multiplication”
Student #2: “I’m not good at multiplication.. yet!”
Now do you see how powerful those three letters are?? The first time I heard this, my mind was blown! The word “yet” may be only a little word but it has the power to shift someone’s entire outlook on life! The word “yet” brings inspiration, hope, and belief into a person’s mind and with those three forces working together, anything is possible.
How to Get Started in Your Classroom:
- Start the conversation – Every year I start the conversation of the “Power of Yet” during the first week of school with the multiplication example above. This example, is a definite light bulb moment for kids. This conversation about growth and fixed mindset continues over the entire year using all of the resources below as reminders.
- Start having students just simply recognize the voice in their head. Have them observe their thoughts for a day and realize how many times they say things like “I’m so bad at math” or “this is so hard, I’ll never get it.” Most students (or any person) don’t even recognize how hard they are on themselves!
- Next, teach kids to talk back to their fixed mindset voice. They have a choice whether they believe the voice or not. Simply, adding the word “yet” to the end of the sentence can change their entire mindset.
- Reiterate that we can learn from our mistakes and failure is NOT a final outcome.
- Continue the conversation throughout the entire school year. I promise it will stick with them!
Last year, a student gave me my all time favorite end of the year present. She handed me a broken board. But when I turned it over, the message on the board made me realize why we do what we do. They really do listen to what we say!
There are so many resources available for teaching students about the growth mindset… Here are some of my favorites!
10 Quotes to use with your students
- “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work” – Thomas Edison
- No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you’re still ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”
- “Don’t be afraid to fail. The letters FAIL Stand for ‘First Attempt In Learning’”
- “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”
- “You have to work hard to get good then work hard to get better.”
- “The expert at anything was once a beginner.”
- “In practice there is no losing. There is only winning and learning.”
- “A professional is just a beginner who never quit.”
- “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
- “Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance, and facing your fears.”
1. The Tortoise & The Hare
2. Olympics Commercial
3. Power of Yet
This Sesame Street song will be stuck in your head all day…You’re welcome!
4. Class Dojo has an AMAZING 5-part series of short videos to explain the growth mindset. The first episode is on Youtube, the rest you have to create an account and watch on their website (https://www.classdojo.com/BigIdeas/)
5. Class Dojo has a second amazing three part series on the power of perseverance. Episode 1 is below.
Growth Mindset Graphics:
Growth Mindset Read Alouds:
We hope this will help you give your students another great gift. The knowledge that they are the captain of their ship and their mindset will determine where it sails!
Written by: Zach Rondot (@MrRondot)