There is no secret that students who live in low-income areas don’t perform as well as their peers who live in more affluent areas. However, students in low-income areas, who have a growth mindset, can perform the same and/or even better than students in higher income areas who have a fixed mindset.
Let’s distinguish growth and fixed mindsets. A growth mindset is one where students understand that with hard work, practice, and dedication, they can and will achieve. On the contrary, in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They don’t take the time to develop their skills since they believe it cannot change. Unfortunately, students who live in poverty areas are more than likely to have a fixed mindset. So are we blaming low-income students for their academic achievement or lack thereof? The goal should not be on what students understand right now but the focus should be on their progress of learning. When students state they don’t understand a skill or concept, encourage them to include the word yet at the end of their sentence. This will build their confidence.
In the article, “Impact of Poverty on Student Achievement: All in their Minds”, the author noted, “The problem, some advocates say, is not that the more than half of all American children who live in poverty have the wrong mindset. The problem is that more than half of all American children live in poverty.”
Educators will agree that when students are motivated, learning is improved. This causes a boomerang effect in the quality of instruction. Therefore, how do we encourage the growth mindset in our students? How do we identify and address the need a shift in their thinking? What are the challenges in encouraging student achievement?
First, educators have to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to make this mind shift occur in students. According to the Education Week (EW) article, “Mindset in the Classroom: A National Study of K-12 Teachers,” mentions, “only 20 percent of teachers strongly believe they are good at fostering a growth mindset in their own students. They have even less confidence in their fellow teachers and school administrators. And just one in five says they have deeply integrated growth mindset into their teaching practice.”
This can be improved through ongoing professional learning communities. EW also stated, “Eight-five percent of teachers want more professional development related to the growth mindset, despite the fact that almost half of those educators report having prior training on the topic.”
A systematic change needs to occur so that we can begin meditating the thinking of our low-income students so that they know that with practice and hard work, they can achieve! Watch how Carol Dweck, author and professor, explains the growth mindset.
Therefore, how can educators promote growth mindset environments? Review the 10 ways listed below. To read in detail, visit the link here.
Avoid Praising Intelligence and Sheer Effort
Use Diverse Teaching Strategies
Introduce Simple Gamification Elements
Teach the Values of Challenges
Encourage Students to Expand their Answers
Explain the Purposes of Abstract Skills and Concepts
Allow Time for Goal-Based Journaling
Say “Yet” More Often
Help Students Change their Language
Use Success Folders
Instill the Growth mindset in YOU by printing and completing the Growth Mindset Discussion Question and Practices handout found here. Incorporate it into your professional learning communities. Leave a comment.
I hope these few words find you well!