Being head of a school, I have the privilege of walking into every class and the experience is like opening a treasure box. Let me explain. As I walk into a class I get to see the joy of a child as they become so involved in exploring and trying to find answers and ways to the task at hand. It is amazing to see a toddler clap their hands when they are able to close their lunch box on their own or a child who has just learnt to draw a butterfly independently without the teacher’s help or even yet a child who has made a unique model with the blocks given. That smile of success is worth a million and I get that every day.
The process of learning something new is exciting to children. By cultivating and nurturing this skill we can encourage a growth mindset in our children. As I observed the behaviour of children, I noticed that the outcome was not as important as the process itself. They were addicted to learning and enjoyed the journey that it led them to. This is something that we find missing today as the outcome is the final criteria for success which leads to children being cornered and they start to develop a fixed mindsetbeing afraid of failure. The fear of failure becomes stronger than the desire to learn something new.
Thus we see the importance of building a growth mindset in our children as it helps them to be confident in welcoming new challenges for the sheer hunger of knowledge and learning. It gives them the courage to rise up even when they have failed. We need to encourage our children to be curious, explore, question and find meaning in what they do, not because they are told but because they are self-motivated.
In order to develop a growth mindset in children, we could take into consideration a few points
Praise their efforts over the outcome. Instead of saying you’re intelligent which a fixed mindset is; you could rather say that was an excellent way of doing it.
Use the magic word “yet” when they find a task difficult. For eg: I can’t do this …..YET
Be a role model. Share your experience of making mistakes and how it becomes a learning opportunity.
Provide opportunities that encourage them to question, observe, get curious and become enwrapped in the world of learning.
Let me end with a famous quote by Winston Churchill, “ Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” May our children be filled with courage to continue the journey of learning with enthusiasm without fear of failure or a need for success.
A few affirmations that you can instill in your child :