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How to support a growth mindset, as an educational professional?

Supporting a growth mindset is important as an educational professional. By providing support, the educational professional directly impacts the motivation, learner agency and thus their self-confidence, which over time, will help increase student well-being and self-confidence. There are many ways to support a growth mindset in students, below are a few examples with brief explanations on how to support this.

Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning.”

Similar to reduce the negativity and upping the positivity when it comes to interacting with your students. They are not failing, they are learning (new soft- or core skills, new knowledge, themselves etc.) So replace the word ‘failing’ with learning and see the students behavior towards studying change.

Replace approval with encouragement

Students might come to you asking for approval (is this okay? Is this what you want to see?) but approval teaches them to work for you and to do what you want and thus reduces critical thinking and self-confidence. Instead encourage your students to answer their own questions. If they ask for your approval, counter their question by asking how they feel about what they’ve made and use open-ended (non judgemental) questions to help them see what they’ve done well.

Value the process, not the end result

Help students reflect during their learning journey about what they’ve learned along the way and how these learnings will help them in the future. The end-result or passing the assignment is not the goal, its about learning (see point 1).

Replace grade-thinking with goal thinking

Ask students what they want to achieve within their assignment and focus on their personal goals. This assignment say do A, but what is it that they personally can use the assignment for? Or is there a specific way the student can approach the assignment that will help them achieve their goals? Focus on learning goals, not on grades.

Celebrate the wins

As small as some wins may be to you, they may be massive to your student. Celebrate them, bake a cake, high five, play a game and celebrate those wins. A shy student stepped up to be a part of a presentation, celebrate it! Show them that the step they took in their learning is a big step forward and worth the celebration.

As said before, there are many things you can do as an educational professional to support the growth mindset of your students. Try these tips in the classroom (yes, this also works online!) and see how your students will change.

Odette Jansen

Odette Jansen

Autism Coach | Teacher | Dungeon Delver