This is the second blog post in a series of posts about creating and establish a growth mindset in the classroom. Read the first post about creating a growth mindset here.
I’ll admit it. I’ve made mistakes as an educator. Some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made include being too stubborn and too strict. Neither of these helped me practice a growth mindset in my classroom.
As a new teacher, I was pretty stubborn. I did not accept late work. I did not allow test retakes. I did not provide students a needed opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Instead, I forced their mistake to be their end result. I wasn’t helping anyone.
Luckily, this did not last long. As I gained more experience as an educator, I naturally adopted more of a growth mindset before I even knew it was a “thing” in education. The end result was magical. Student tried harder, learned more, and strived to make me see their own successes.
Here are some simple things I do in the classroom to practice a growth mindset.
1. Allow students to retake tests. Sometimes it takes receiving a bad grade on a test ignite a fire in a student. As educators, we shouldn’t stifle that passion to learn and grow. Instead, we should provide an opportunity for it to burn brightly. This means allowing students the opportunity to retake a test and learn from their previous failures and mistakes.
2. Accept late work, but find out why it is late. Fear of failure is a great deterrent. When fear of failure is combined with an already shaky teenage confidence, it can result in a student completing his or her work. Sometimes a student might need a little more re-teaching so that they have the confidence and knowledge needed to complete and turn in an assignment. Accept student late work, but figure out why it is late.
3. Conduct regular self-assessments and reflections. Periodically, go back and have students reflect on their learning, assignments, or tests. Reflecting on their effort, struggles, and achievement will really help students focus on maintaining a growth mindset.
I included two different reflection assignments in my Growth Mindset Activities and Resources for the Secondary Classroom packet. You can check out this packet here.