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“We all have beliefs about our own abilities and potential. These beliefs are part of our mindset which is so powerful it can fuel our behavior and predict our success. Mindset shapes our everyday lives, helping us interpret our experiences and future possibilities. In her research at Stanford University, Dr. Carol Dweck identified two different types of mindsets. Growth mindset occurs when we believe our intelligence and abilities can be improved upon with effort and the right strategies. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence and abilities cannot be altered in a meaningful way.” 
“You see, many students enter our classrooms believing they’re either smart or not smart, good at reading or math, or not good in those areas. This belief that our basic qualities like intelligence and talents can’t be changed is called a fixed mindset. Often our students figure: Why bother trying at something that’s hard for me? I’m not naturally good at it and I can’t really do anything about that.
Our students may not realize that their brains have the ability to change and grow through their experiences (neuroplasticity). Students need us to teach them that the human brain is like a muscle that can be trained through repetition and practice. When students realize this, they develop a growth mindset: the belief that abilities can be developed through commitment and hard work. And once they have a growth mindset, they can learn anything.”

“For at least the last decade, educators have understood the powerful connection between mindset and achievement — that when students believe they can learn a given subject, even a hard one, they stick with it longer, and do better, than if they believe they can’t learn or are “just bad at it.”
Simple ways to infuse growth mindset on a daily basis. These are regular practices that help you ensure students will:
  • Be willing to try new things
  • Stick with hard tasks and not give up
  • Push themselves to do their best work, not just what’s “good enough”
  • Believe in themselves and their own ability to learn

Strategies for helping students develop a growth mindset

Introduce learning activities that are designed to benefit children’s brains.


  1. When kids make mistakes, respond in casual ways that help them rebound.
  2. Get student input on creating helpful classroom displays that reinforce learning.
  3. Use specific feedback and helpful vocabulary that guides students to identify how they achieved success.
  4. Model growth mindset so kids can see it in action on a daily basis.
  5. Start formally teaching kids about growth mindset / neuroplasticity through books, apps, and other resources.
  6. Provide attainable challenges and set achievable mini-goals to encourage students’ consistent, incremental progress.
  7. Give opportunities to face obstacles and solve problems.
  8. Teach and model good attitudes.
  9. Teach how to accept constructive criticism.
  10. VIew failure as learning.
  11. Design classroom activities that involve cooperative, group learning –rather than competitive or individualistic.
  12. Celebrate successes and minimize failures.
  13. Provide opportunities to celebrate the success of others.
  14. Teach perseverance and the power of “YET”. Encourage students to not give up when things get hard and tell them that if they can’t do something now, it doesn’t mean they never will. Say “You can’t do this YET, but keep going!”When students succeed, praise their efforts and strategies as opposed to their intelligence. Help students focus on, prioritize, and value the process of learning.
  15. Model resilience and problem solving strategies.
  16. Give children opportunities to solve problems on their own when appropriate.
  17. Encourage children to ask a friend to help before seeking an adult’s assistance.
  18. Do not always try to fix things for your students. Give them the time to try – and fail – to fix their own challenges.
  19. Give children the time and space to use materials in their own way. This helps build confidence, independence and creative problem solving, which are all big parts of fostering that growth mindset.
  20. Make space for frustration. Talk about that emotion and how to deal with it. Help your students be motivated by frustration, not shut down by it.
  21. Praise effort authentically and specifically.
  22. Use diverse teaching strategies.
  23. Encourage active observation and interaction with the environment (wonder).
  24. Encourage question asking.
  25. Utilize Investigation and experimentation.
  26. Encourage student development of conclusions

Some Resources to Get You Started!

Whooo’s Reading: (K -8) This web app allows you to help students improve their writing based on personalized feedback. After answering a standards-aligned, open-ended question, the response is sent to you for grading. You can then score the answer and give the student feedback on how he/she can improve to get a higher score—score is tied to Wisdom Coins, giving students even more motivation to take a second swing at it.
Daily Goals: This app is perfect for setting and tracking student goals. Though it wasn’t created for use in the school setting, it has all the features of a motivating student goal tracker. Once signed up, students simply create their goal(s)—read something new every day, write one blog post a week—and then keep track of it with the app. With built-in analytics, students are able to determine what might be holding them back, assessing the process rather than just the outcome.
Growth Mindset Videos by Class Dojo Awesome video library for mindsets, social, and emotional growth.
Typorama.Is an app that you can use to add words to a picture, which is perfect for creating encouragement posters to foster mind growth for your classroom.
Two of the best children’s books on growth mindsetare Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Dr. JoAnn Deak and Making a Splash: A Growth Mindset Children’s Book by Carol E. Reiley.
Check out the free online brain songs provided by the University of Washington.
Growth mindset videos for teachers and students on YouTube:
Bluebee Pals: Using Bluebee Pals during audible book and video learning activities helps to motivate and engage little learners!


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