Question: As a class teacher in a secondary school, what kinds of activities can I plan into my lessons to encourage a growth mindset? Is there a way I can use rewards in a better way to encourage this too?
Growth mindset interventions have been trialled in primary and secondary schools. Some ways in which they can be promoted in secondary schools are:
Discussing brain plasticity. There is a lot of research which shows that our brain grows and changes through learning. By discussing this with the students and showing them this evidence you can help them to see that their efforts can change their brain.
Discussing people who have been successful. Instead of focusing on the outcome, we can focus on the number of times in which they failed. Even in scientific discoveries when we discuss ‘Eureka’ moments, a lot of effort has gone into the build up and even mentioning this in passing can encourage growth mindsets.
Using feedback which focuses on efforts and techniques not abilities. It is better to give feedback which focuses on what someone has done rather than their skills. It is also important to recognise that growth mindsets aren’t all about effort. Sometimes, if a child has not grasped a threshold construct they will not be able to perform a task yet even if they work hard. Then it is important to talk about techniques and create a supportive environment.