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Growth and Learning: Changing Mindsets

Growth and Learning: Changing MindsetsIt has long been supposed that intelligence and aptitude are characteristic traits possessed by gifted individuals and that every person has a limited intelligence using which he performs. But this theory has been challenged by new research that says that intelligence and personality are nothing but a state of mind. People who believe that they can do things are the ones that can. This mindset, called the growth mindset, proves that intelligence and skills are not a given, but cultivated through hard work and perseverance.

What is growth mindset?

A growth mindset is nothing but the belief that intelligence and personality can be cultivated by the individual at any stage in her life. Studies have shown that people with a growth mindset strive for success throughout life and , hence, are more successful.. A growth mindset changes the way an individual perceives success and failure.For such people, failure acts as nothing more than a springboard for further attempts at success and success is a mere motivation for further achievement.

The importance of growth mindset in the learning process

Growth mindset is a very significant aspect of learning. We talked to long time educator Mr. (Please add name of any RPS teacher)who teaches at Rishi PublicSchool near sector 31, Gurgaon and he concurs that it is vital that a teacher should strive to promote the growth mindset in her studentsin this modern age. A growth mindset increases the self esteem of a child. Children having a growth mindset believe in their own potential. Self belief is a very important part of a child’s development.

Opposed to a growth mindset, people with a fixed mindset constantly feel the need to prove themselves at all times. This can lead to low self-esteem, a feeling of being deficient and dishonesty. A fixed mindset can negatively impact the choices a person makes in life.

It is human nature to seek praise, this tendency  plays on the psychology of people with a fixed mindset. Such people will not take risks if it could potentially make them look less intelligent. In contrast, people with a growth mindset will embrace challenges to learn something new.  They are only interested in learning and are not seduced by illusions of success or fear of failure.This is because their definition of success is the pursuit of further success.These people do not believe that intelligence is inherent, they think that growth can be achieved at any stage through experience and experimentation. The essential difference between people with growth mindset and fixed mindset is that people with growth mindset have a hunger for knowledge, but people with a fixed mindset have a hunger for approval. In short, their priorities are unconsciously  decided by their respective mindsets.

How to cultivate a growth mindset in a classroom

The teacher should aim to inculcate a positive attitude and growth mindset among her students. Studies have shown that students with a fixed mindset tend to reject learning for fear of failure.

The teacher should try to drive away the fear of failure in her students by helping them embrace their imperfections and shortcomings. The students need to be taught to challenge themselves. They should take their failures as learning opportunities and put in harder work in the task they have failed instead of being disillusioned. The teacher can do so by encouraging children to try different ways of learning. The learning strategy that works for one student may not be as successful on another, hence, it is important to innovate and recognise one’s own abilities.

The students should be taught to believe in their own talents and not seek approval from others. They should enjoy the journey of learning instead of worrying about the end result. Children and teachers both need to set realistic goals for growth and be flexible in their approach. The children do not need to keep pace with the rest of the class but decide the pace at which they can comfortably learn. They should overcome their fear of failure by letting themselves make mistakes in front of their peers. This will make them more confident and enable them to take risks in the future. They should not shy away from sharing their growth with other students as it promotes a healthy learning environment.

The teacher is instrumental in enabling such an attitude among students. This can be achieved by changing the way the teacher perceives feedback. The teacher should never resort to negative feedback. The teacher should provide positive and encouraging  feedback to failure. The teacher should motivate her students by highlighting the symbiotic relation between learning and brain training. She should reward students for their attempts not results. If a student fails,

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