Are you and your pupils working towards a growth mindset in the classroom? More than just a passing buzz, a growth mindset is the concept that intelligence can be developed, not simply set in stone. It’s a useful tool for motivation by raising pupils’ expectations and encouraging them at the same time.
As a tech-focused teacher, no doubt you’re an advocate for using the edtech in your classroom to improve overall learning outcomes. But have you considered how the same tech can be used to develop a growth mindset too?
“Beyond improved attainment, research suggests having a growth mindset has other advantages, including coping better with transition, higher self-regulation, grit and pro-social behaviours.” The Guardian
While a growth mindset is a relatively new focus in education, as a concept it’s far from new. The term was first coined by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford, who made a breakthrough discovery in the course of researching children’s performance in the 1970s.
In the study, children who were praised for their intelligence said they enjoyed tasks less than the children who had been praised for their effort. Children who had been praised for their effort, meanwhile, tended to choose further tasks that would help them learn new things.
Ultimately, when students understand that abilities are developed rather than innate, they are more likely to adopt behaviours that help them to achieve their goals.
So, how can you use tech in your classroom to develop a growth mindset?
1. Encourage pupils to challenge themselves
Your pupils will only understand how to adopt a growth mindset by working outside of their comfort zones.
By encouraging your pupils to use digital platforms they are less familiar with, or using online apps to work with traditionally paper-based subjects, they are developing their knowledge on the subject as well as their use of digital tools. The Promethean ActivPanel, through the ActivConnect-G, provides teachers with full access to the Google Play store and can also be connected to students’ iPads, smartphones, laptops and other devices.
Anatomy 4D, for example, is a great app for studying and analyzing the human body in 3D. Encourage your class to present their findings to other classmates in a digital format, even if it’s out of their comfort zones to do so.
2. Get your class to take risks
Many edtech platforms and online applications can empower your pupils to set their tasks at their own pace, monitor their own progress, and choose their own activities anonymously from a list of options at lower and more challenging difficulty levels.
This level of self-management and sense of privacy may result in students taking greater risks in their learning and trying out more on challenging activities as they progress.
“Meaningful learning tasks need to challenge every student in some way. It is crucial that no student be able to coast to success time after time; this experience can create the fixed-mindset belief that you are smart only if you can succeed without effort.” Carol Dweck, 2010
3. Work around setbacks
Tasks requiring more effort encourage pupils to grow, and effort is a function of a growth mindset. With this, of course, will come a degree of failure the first time around. Encourage your pupils to research and find a ‘plan b’ when they experience a setback.
The perspective of a fixed mindset is that failure is evidence of lack of intelligence, while the growth mindset embraces the challenges and setbacks along the way and continues to find a solution.
Tasks like starting a class blog, for example, take time and patience to see reward. If your pupils want to grow an audience they will need to continue to learn ways to drive engagement. The more your students get excited by and creative with their blogging, their skills will continue to advance.
4. Encourage collaborative working
Outside the classroom, children use technology to collaborate and to socialise. Thanks to the power of the internet, pupils can now work together with classes from different schools, or even across the other side of the world. Increasingly, we’re seeing the use of similar tech in the classroom, enabling children to learn from one another whilst engaging in learning.
The trend towards digital flipped learning — encouraging pupils to engage with digital content outside the classroom then providing a more interactive classroom as a result — promotes a growth mindset and a sense of responsibility for learning.
5. Welcome constructive criticism
Collaborative edtech platforms, like those on ClassFlow, can help you provide ongoing feedback in private to your pupils through progress monitoring tools.
These also include screens at the completion of a task acknowledging the student’s effort, or a ticker that shows how many activities are completed and remaining to motivate them.
6. Promote others’ successes
By using digital rewards and badges in the software on your ActivPanel, students can celebrate each other’s successes. Push your pupils to offer help when there is a challenging task, or be peer mentors for one another.
“Teachers and students need to work together to grow everyone’s knowledge and not compete over who is smarter.” Dweck, 2010
Part of the beauty of the growth mindset is its pure simplicity — we should all consider our own abilities like a muscle that can change and grow. A growth mindset empowers pupils to prepare for the future, learn new skills, and overcome challenges.
With more edtech like a Promethean ActivPanel at your fingertips, you can easily encourage self-management in your pupils and provide constructive feedback that develops their own growth mindsets. Find out more about encouraging a growth mindset in your school by watching our webinar on demand: sourcing technology with little or no investment.