A growth mindset is a belief that a person can get smarter or better, that effort makes someone stronger. Therefore, even when experiencing failure, with extra time and effort, someone can be successful. Our intelligence or skill level isn’t fixed – it can grow or change.
Research in the area has demonstrated that people with a growth mindset are better learners, are more persistent, and more intelligent and resilient overall. So how do Carers build a growth mindset and how can they assist our children and young people to develop a growth mindset?
At a Foster and Kinship Care conference in 2018, Annaley Clark and Natasha Urbano both from Infinity Community Solutions presented on this topic. They highlighted four key areas of Growth Mindset for Foster and Kinship Carers and ways they can play in shaping the lives of children and young people in their care.
The difference between a fixed and a growth mindset
- Power of our beliefs conscious and unconscious affects all aspects of our lives
- Fixed mindset refers to a static intelligence, character – it cannot be changed in meaningful ways
- Growth Mindset – sees challenges and failures as an opportunity for growth and is not a reflection on level of intelligence
- Qualities of self are cultivated through effort
What the research tells us about having a ‘growth mindset’ and how this benefits us?
- Effort strengthens intelligence
- Extra time and effort leads to higher achievement
- Neural Plasticity – practice grows new neural pathways and leads to stronger connections in the brain
- Growth mindset leads to ability to take on more challenges and learn – therefore leading to increases in intelligence and ability
- Growth Mindset transcends socioeconomic factors – suggesting that growth mindset can support a child to overcome such related barriers to learning
Strategies to assist adults in developing a growth mindset
- Recognise difference between a fixed mindset and growth mindset
- Fixed mindset suggests that intelligence and ability is innate and cannot be changed
- Growth mindset suggests that intelligence and ability can be developed with effort, strategies and support
- Develop a “beginners mind” and get curious
- Be willing to ask questions to understand
- Be willing to put the effort in to practice something you might not understand or know
- Never give up on someone or yourself
- Learn to appreciate that everything changes and nothing ever stays the same
- Learning to let go of perfection
Strategies to assist children and young people in developing a growth mindset
- Role Model Growth Mindset
- Facilitate being comfortable to work with each other’s mistakes
- Explaining different learning styles
- Teach children the love of learning rather and not just academic knowledge
- Find a variety of ways children can safely express how they are feeling
- Journaling – words or pictures
- Craft or Arts
- Sports or activities like mindful movement (i.e. Yoga)
- Use resources that might help children build growth mindset
- Other activities
- Big Life Journal
Developing a ‘growth mindset’ will not only add an essential component to the parenting toolbox of Kinship and Foster Carers to aid in the development of strong and resilient children and young people; it will also enhance the wellbeing of Foster and Kinship Carers.
Mindset Works – Dr Dweck’s Research into Growth Mindset
Science of Success – How your thoughts affect your life
Infinity Community Solutions specialises in delivering high-quality solutions which are leading edge, uncomplicated, personalised, and entirely focused on the client. Our staff are committed to supporting individuals to make their own choice with self-determination.