In the video below Carol Dweck talks about a school she visited which instead of using a failing grade used the words “not yet”. As Carol discusses this simple wording sends a whole different message to students. Carol also talks about getting students to view “difficulty” and “effort” as the way to learn and improve and not as things that should make them feel like giving up or an indication they are dumb.
Are our classrooms places that encourage and teach a growth mindset, to view difficulty and effort as important keys to learning? NO I mean really, do we teach it!
Do we enter our classrooms expecting very little from some and a lot from others? We have all heard teachers make comments like, “I could write their reports now, their results won’t change much, I could have predicted it from the start of the year!” As easy as this and similar comments are to make they all contribute to the perception that some students in our classes will never amount to anything more than they already are. We don’t want to encourage a fixed mindset in our ourselves or our students.
Students soon pick up on our perceptions of them. If we have an attitude that they will never improve or don’t have the ability to do so then they will soon take on this attitude as well. As hard as it may be at times we need to teach students the value of effort and persistence with learning they find difficult.