Teaching isn’t simply about getting students ready for tests. As educators, we know our work goes way beyond that to prepare them for a successful life. In every classroom, teachers have the power and platform to become positive influences, even role models and mentors – especially for students who lack these examples elsewhere.
Fostering a growth mindset is key to creating a healthy learning environment where students flourish academically, behaviorally and socially. It also helps them develop an understanding of how to think about and evaluate success.
Here are three tips on how to promote this type of thinking in your classroom:
Like muscles in the body, the brain can be strengthened with exercise.
It’s a fun fact and one that typically resonates with students. Our brains are not static, nor is our level of intelligence permanently fixed and unchangeable. Teachers can remind students that they have the ability to strengthen their minds. Suggest to your faculty members that they use relatable analogies – such as gym class or sports. How do we get better at crossing the monkey bars or improving our soccer game? Through practice and repeatedly using the right physical muscles so that they become stronger. Similarly, practicing spelling, math and other subject areas can lead to improvement.
A teacher’s mindset sets the stage for success in the classroom.
It’s beneficial for faculty members to use positive language when working with students, but that isn’t enough. Educators must practice what they preach – and that means maintaining a truly positive mindset themselves. There’s no denying teaching can be an extremely demanding job. Classroom management, behavioral issues, and varying levels of student performance are just some of the challenges educators can face. It’s critical teachers find ways to not let these issues negatively affect them and truly maintain a positive outlook. Children are like sponges and absorb everything around them – including attitudes. A teacher’s negative mindset can easily transcend into that of their students’, so ensure that your staff find a balance and stay focused on their goals.
Consider coupling the values of performance and progress.
Report cards, standardized testing, and observations can cause teachers to place an overwhelming emphasis on student performance – as it can often be seen as a reflection of their own success. It’s imperative that faculty members find a healthy balance between pushing for positive performance and valuing individual progress. Encourage your teachers to recognize progress and commend students for their improvement – even if still performing below grade level. This can evoke positive change and stimulate an accepting learning environment, setting the tone for students going forward in their academic careers.
In the school environment, having a positive attitude, even in the face of challenges, is beneficial. It lays the foundation for success in and out of the classroom. Teachers can be shining examples for students to follow. Together, they can create a setting that truly fosters learning.