Fixed VS Growth Mindset

Has the phrase, “My students are so bad and won’t pay attention…” ever crossed your lips? If so, you might be viewing your students through the lens of a fixed mindset.

If you have been in the field of education for very long you have probably heard of “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. Often these concepts are introduced so teachers can reflect on their own personal mindset and adjust accordingly. As you probably know, an individual who holds a fixed mindset views intelligence, talent, and abilities as set and unchangeable. Someone with a fixed mindset might be heard saying, “Well, that’s just who I am” or “I’ve always done it that way.” On the other hand, an individual who holds a growth mindset views their intelligence, talent, and abilities as ever-changing and growing. An individual with a growth mindset is always looking at how they can improve and mature into better versions of themselves.

As an educator, you probably have gone through some sort of professional development where exercises were conducted to help you determine what personal mindset you were in. You might have even left that professional development feeling a bit convicted or enlightened. So, buckle up because we’re going to do a bit of a different exercise. Instead of analyzing what type of mindset we see ourselves functioning under, I want to stretch your thinking a little bit by challenging you to really reflect on what type of mindset we see our students through. Have you ever said, “I teach the lower kids so…”? Has the phrase, “My students are so bad and won’t pay attention…” ever crossed your lips? Have you uttered the words “These kids can barely read, how are they expected to learn?” If so, you might be viewing your students through the lens of a fixed mindset.

Think about it for a second, if a teacher, the one whose profession is to educate and help students grow in every aspect of their life, views that student in a concrete, unchangeable way – what hope does that student have in your class? If you have already shut the door on their potential success, where in the world are they going to get the motivation to open it?

How we view our students from day 1 is pivotal to their success. Yes, you teach the lower-level kids – so what! View this as an opportunity and challenge to see those students grow exponentially because of the passion and work ethic you will help instill into them. “You just don’t understand; these students do not know how to behave.” Great! TEACH them how to behave. Model to them the appropriate way to respond to adverse times in their lives. “I’m not a self-help expert or their parent. I was hired to teach math.” Silly Rabbit! Being an educator is so much more than imparting knowledge of facts and figures into student’s minds. Every day you have the potential and responsibility to help mold and shape our future leaders. “I’ve been a Negative Nancy for so long, how do I change?” It’s quite simple. If you find yourself viewing your students with a fixed mindset, recognize it and simply make an adjustment. View every student as your own personal child. My guess is you would want the best for your child and would do whatever you could to see them succeed; your students should receive that same level of passion from you. Developing the mantra “every child can learn” is a good start. Strive every day to turn that mantra into reality.

To learn more about a Growth Mindset, you can visit the link:

Rebecca Harris

2019 Teacher of the Year!

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