Math PK-2

Foster Growth Mindset

Overview

Teachers can help students understand that learning involves effort, mistakes, and reflection by teaching them about their malleable brain and modeling their own learning process. When students are taught about brain malleability and that intellectual ability can be developed over time with effort, they are more resilient when they struggle. Showing students that teachers, too, are learners who persist through challenging work also models the importance of continuous growth. Research has shown that a growth mindset is particularly supportive of students with math anxiety and at-risk students, especially for math achievement.

Use It in the Classroom

  • A critical way to embed growth mindset is to frame assessments as opportunities for students to show what they know and can do versus a test of their ability. Research has shown this strategy is particularly effective in reducing the impact of Stereotype Threat on student performance. A related strategy is to have students do an expressive writing task before an assessment to help them reappraise their negative emotions and learn to move past them.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Products that focus on the learning process and encourage mistakes convey the importance of a growth mindset. One way to do this is to provide open tasks that have more than one answer so students focus on process and strategies, helping foster a learning-focused Math Mindset. Letting learners set individual goals also encourages Motivation and Self-Regulation.