by Jonathon Denholm May 06, 2022 4 min read
As the saying goes, everyone makes mistakes. Adults, children, students, and teachers all inevitably make mistakes, and we make them often. Making mistakes is a constant part of life for most of us. Luckily, there is a way that we can teach our students to embrace their mistakes as a productive part of the learning process. This involves utilising the growth mindset, which essentially means that success can beachieved through hard work, dedication to the development of one’s skills, and ultimately, a love for learning and growth that propels the student forward.
While it is a fact that some people are inherently more intelligent than others, that does not determineoutcomes whatsoever. We have all met very intelligent people who are lazy. Oftentimes, these people do not end up accomplishing much at all in life simply because they become complacent. True success comes from people taking the gifts they’re born with and nurturing them into something exceptional. Anyone has the ability to do this. Having a growth mindset involves truly believing that your talents can be developed. All-in-all, the growth mindset stems from the belief that you canwork toward success, that nothing is set in stone, and that lack of growth is the only thing standing between you and the results you want. This concept is heavily rooted in neuroscience. The implications of having a growth mindset operate on a neurological level. Brainplasticity has proven that we are able to literally grow pathways in our brains through inquiry, practicing skills, and participating in physical and mental wellness activities.
When we utilise a growth mindset within our classrooms, we must strive to teach our students to use them to guide their thoughts and actions. This becomes so much more productive than a fixed mindset. For instance, if one experience does not go as well as we planned, we are able to take what we learn from that frustration and apply it to the next situation. This can hopefully help us to avoid experiencing that same frustration in the future.
We must teach our students to see their mistakes as opportunities for growth, progress, and reflection. If we view mistakes as opportunities for growth, we can transform our fixed mindsets into mindsets that are so much more conducive to success. When we model to students how to take our mistakes and apply them to a growth mindset, it becomes so much easier for us to transform errors into learning opportunities. Teaching students to harness their mistakes like this ultimately encourages them to take bigger risks and think outside the box in terms of their learning. When someone takes a fixed mindset and transforms it into something flexible, the results can be astonishing.
Our students are so much more than their mistakes, and we must make sure that they understand this. When students understand their worth, they become able to move forward with confidence and purpose. Students who possess a growth mindset truly believe that their mistakes exist to help them grow. This, in turn, means that they are able to learn from their mistakes so that they can more easily implement what they are learning in real-life situations.
We have to work with our students to help them to develop growth mindsets. It’s not a process that happens overnight. We must work tirelessly to help our students come to the conclusion that they canimprove their strengths and abilities, and that they can work to overcome their weaknesses. It’s all about the process of growth, and the steps the students take to make that growth.
Growth mindset activities that can foster positivity and progress are vital. We must teach students that it is necessary to ask questions. We must remind them to use theresources that they have at their disposal when it is appropriate to do so.
There are certain alterations that we can make to our instruction that can help to adjust the way students view their learning experience. We must remind our students that it is okay to make mistakes and fail. While doing that, we can remind them that they have strengths in other areas, and that they are developing all of their skills by pushing through the difficulties they are facing.
A simple but effective growth mindset mistakes activity you can try in your classroom involves just a piece of notebook paper or a journal and a writing utensil. You can have your students reflect on their most recent mistake (or the one that sticks out to them most) and write about what they learned from that mistake. That will demonstrate to them how easy it is to frame your thoughts and experiences for a growth mindset.