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10 ways to help children develop a growth mindset

Professor Dweck is clearly very busy at the moment, she has recently given a TED talk in scandanavia which you can see below. This has prompted me to develop 10 practical ways to help developing a 'Growth Mindset' which should help when working with children and young people.

My 7 year old son came up to me recently and asked me how he could improve the drawing he had done...maybe the work I have been doing is paying off!!

  • Avoid labels - "you are smart", "you are clever". Focus instead on how they do what they do.

  • Get them to explain their process "tell me more about how you did that, what was the strategy you used?"

  • Explain to the child that the brain is like a muscle which benefits from training. The brain can be trained through trial and error. The secret is to persevere and to fall in love with the struggle.

  • If they do something that is easy for them and they are expecting praise, offer them an 'opportunity' to stretch themselves by saying, "I want to give you the opportunity to show me how well you can learn".

  • Apologise for creating a game or practice that isn't challenging enough for them. You will know it is working when they say to you..."we don't do easy".

  • Ask them if they want the easy task or the harder one. Use this as a test to see if they are on track.

  • Use the 'horizon strategy' to keep the achievement of the task just out of reach but still visible. Give them checkpoints so that they can still see their improvement.

  • Explain that you are less interested in them getting the answer right as much as you are interested in how they got to the solution.

  • Create an award for the 'top struggler'. Reward the person who has tried the hardest and had the most fails.

  • Always explain that you can't make things easy because easy isn't fun. You want them to have fun and the fun comes from working hard at something.

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