5 Keys to a Growth Mindset


A growth mindset is a powerful tool in a math classroom.  Students need to learn that they are capable people who have control over their own learning.  I created a mindset questionnaire to give to my students at the beginning to of the year to understand their mindset.  You can download a FREE copy of the questionnaire HERE.  Here are 5 keys to a growth mindset that are very effective, especially in a math classroom.

1. When I Struggle my Brain Grows

Growth comes through challenges.  Often time students think that if a concept it not "easy" for them then they have a problem. Struggle should be important, encouraged, promoted and celebrated in your math classroom.  Teach your students that when they are struggling that their brain is growing. This will help them view struggle as a positive rather than a negative. 

2. I CAN learn Math

A common misconception in society is that there are two types of people "Math People" and "Not Math People." If a student has labeled them self as as "Not a Math Person" or even worse, if a parent has labeled their child (which I have seen way too many times) as "Not a Math Person" then this student believes that they are not able to learn math.  Teach your students that ALL people can learn math.  Believe in them as a teacher, remind them often that they can learn math, and they will believe this too. 

3. I don't Understand YET!

Many students get down on themselves because they don't understand concepts quickly.  This is especially a problem if their is that one student that constantly yells out that everything is "EASY!" In fact, the word "EASY" was banned in my classroom for the problems that it caused.  Teach your students that it is OK if they don't understanding everything right now, but that they will eventually understand if they keep working on the concept.  YET is a powerful word.  Use it constantly in your classroom!

4. Mistakes allow me to Learn

Mistakes are often viewed as negative.  Who wants to make mistakes?  This needs to change, mistakes need to be viewed as something positive, especially in a math classroom. Just think about your own life, how many times have we made a mistake, and learned to never do that again.  Encourage students, especially on assessments, to analyze their mistakes.  Rather than just having them do test corrections, consider having them analyze their errors and specifically writing about what mistake they made.  Spend time talking about mistakes, don't ignore them and just talk about the right answer.  Constantly talk about the power of learning from your mistakes.   

5. My Effort and Attitude determine my Success

This one goes along with #2.  Many students believe that they cannot be successful in mathematics because they simply do not have the ability.  They think of it as something you either have or do not have.  Students need to be taught that they can control their success!  They can control their effort and their attitude and this directly affects their level of success.  Some students will need a constant reminder of this fact throughout the year.  

To help my students remember these 5 keys, I made posters for my classroom.  I also made coloring pages with these 5 keys on them so they can put them in their binders or lockers as a constant reminder.  If you are interested in also using these in your classroom you can get your copy HERE

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