Have you ever heard any of the following from your child?
- “I’m just bad at maths”
- “I’m not smart”
- “The way the school teaches things doesn’t work for me”
- “My brain doesn’t work that way”
- “I can’t write essays”
If you’re nodding, then your child is falling victim to one of the most common roadblocks to success – a fixed mindset. This mindset promotes the common misconception that ability and intelligence are fixed and unflinching. If you get bad results at school, you’re not smart, and you’re going to continue to get bad marks.
This is a dangerous trap to fall into, as it pushes the brain into what neuroscientists call an away state. When a student is in an away state, the part of their brain that is responsible for learning, thinking, and problem solving shuts off!
At HSC CoWorks, we work with students to support them adopt a growth mindset. This allows students to stay in a toward state, by focusing on solutions. People are constantly learning new things, forming new habits, and making new connections in the brain. As long as we can adopt the belief that practice, failure, and more practice is what leads to success, we are receptive to success in our learning, thinking, and problem solving.
Focusing on solutions allows our brain to be engaged and open to the possibilities of forming new neural pathways. New neural pathways foster new synaptic connections, which trigger a release of dopamine, and motivates the thinker to make more connections! It’s more than just positive thinking.
So, how exactly do we foster this in others? It’s all in the way we communicate.
By being the positive voice in a sea of negative voices, we show our students that we believe in their ability to improve, engage, and think critically. We do this by reminding and rewarding their accomplishments so far – because any achievement has come about through a growth mindset. We add “yet” to any fixed mindset sentences, and we praise the process over the result.
The more exposure your child can get to this type of environment (both at home and at CoWorks), the more likely they are to adopt a growth mindset, and grow to be successful people – not only in the HSC, but in facing whatever challenge comes their way.