As one of the main educational buzzwords of the last few years, those working in schools and colleges have heard and used the term “Growth Mindset” a fair amount. But what does this actually mean and how can it be applied both in and outside the classroom to enhance learning?
Psychologist Carol Dweck coined the phrase over 30 years ago to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. The contrasting “Fixed Mindset” assumes that intelligence and creative ability are natural givens that people are either born with or without. Research has found that students with this thought process see new events as a test and equate making mistakes with having low levels of ability, which can in turn lead to them deliberately choosing easier tasks for fear of looking bad.
HOW CAN THIS CHANGE?
Recently, there has been a positive move towards correcting these misconceptions after extensive studies proved that learners tend to achieve more when they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning. Key to cultivating this attitude is the idea that intelligence can develop, and that effort leads to success. When encountering something they are not able to do yet, students with a growth mindset learn more. This is because they see the struggle as a natural part of getting better at something. They are also able to recognise when they need help and are not afraid to ask for it from their teachers.
IS THERE ANY HARD EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS?
Backing up the psychological research is fascinating scientific evidence that people are actually able to increase growth of their brain neurons by the actions they take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practising, and following good nutrition and sleep habits. Brain plasticity studies have revealed if students believe their brains can grow, they behave differently, leading to increased academic achievement which in turn can help narrow achievement gaps.
HOW CAN WISEUP TEAM BUILDING HELP SCHOOLS ENCOURAGE GROWTH MINDSET?
Outdoor education is a fantastic way of fostering a healthy growth mindset in students by providing a variety of challenges that are specifically designed to encourage appropriate risk taking. Young people are able to gain important and useful lessons even if a task does not meet it’s original goals as the learning outcomes are much more flexible. WiseUp Team Building strongly supports this ethos with a range of activities which inspire learners to capitalise on their setbacks in order to move forward effectively.
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If you would like to hear how our team can provide team building days to boost student’s growth mindset at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.