If I don’t practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it.
As a teacher what interests me mostly is not having flawless students but students who can easily overcome failure and be persistent. As individuals, children are much more sensitive than adults, a rule that applies to most of us. However, we can make children more resistant to failure. We can make children embrace failure and see it as a way of learning.
An interesting subject that the teacher can teach in life education course is the right mindset. A very good book on this subject and relatively easy to read is the «Mindsets in the Classroom» by the educational psychologist Mary Cay Ricci.
A teacher with a growth mindset believes that with effort and hard work, all pupils can be improved greatly and that is why all students need opportunities to be challenged.
The theory sounds very nice, but what we do in practice? The book contains some fine examples but a basic premise is that the teacher and parents have developed the Growth Mindset, the opposite of «fixed mindset» (fixed mindset).
Fixed mindset is when someone believes a child has a fixed intelligence and whatever he does he will not be able to improve significantly. When a child has a predetermined mindset, she believes that it is weak e.g. in mathematics and will never be able to evolve.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change to «wired» and remodeled throughout the course of our lives. Through this capacity new connections are created while those that remain inactive eliminate.
Our neurons create new connections when we learn something new. These links are stronger with effort and practice. Interestingly, as many connections / synapses we have, the greater the density of our brain. The creation of new connections between neurons are initially difficult, it’s like creating a new path in the woods. Every time we cross the path, it becomes easier. The same happens with synapses. Initially something seems difficult because the brain has not many synapses formed. As we try and practice the more powerful these connections become and this is why the process becomes easier.
Some initial things we can take from the mindset development
We praise the children for what they do.
When we give praise for their work and for their trouble, children understand that their success came from their effort.
Do not praise children for their intelligence. It is like praising them for being tall. But this does nothing to understand that what matters most are the perseverance and the will.
We differentiate our teaching according to the students we have. Each student is indeed different but let’s avoid discussing this in depth since differentiation is a huge issue for discussion.
The students have higher results in lessons when they face a difficult task as a challenge and an opportunity for advancement. This is achieved through a growth mindset.
We see failure as a lesson and not as punishment
to be continued …