“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” – Carol Dweck author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Growth mindset has taken the education world by storm. But teaching it is not just praising effort rather than outcome. Instead, fostering growth mindset (as opposed to fixed mindset) is about encouraging children to learn to embrace challenges, effort, and mistakes as opportunities—and, importantly, to help them understand that experimenting with new strategies will help them succeed.
Learning, improving, and succeeding are all processes, which is what the book Why Should I Walk? I Can Fly! exemplifies. A baby robin declares that she is ready to fly, but when it comes time to step out of the nest, she gets nervous.
She perches on the edge of the nest, unsure whether she is willing to take such a big risk. She watches her sister and brother successfully make their first flights. Finally, our baby robin (after a little encouragement from her mother) takes the plunge—and plummets!
It doesn’t get easier right away. It’s not until after several attempts (and a narrow miss with a threatening tabby cat) that she flaps, flutters, and beats her wing in just the right way so as to begin to fly…
At last, she flies! Be prepared to celebrate.
We can only hope this baby robin remembers the lessons she learned in figuring out how to fly. You can help your young reader/listener to take away growth mindset beliefs by engaging them in a discussion of times when they learned something new: Did you succeed or fail the first time you tried? What did you do? What might you do the next time?
For more information about how growth mindset works check out this great post from The Learning Child Blog, or find out how it helps kids with STEM in this U.S. News article. And if you’re looking for tips on how to bring growth mindset into the classroom, here are 9 ways from the Teachers Paying Teachers website.