Wednesday, December 22, 2021 by Kara Cook | Advice
How to Help Your Child's Learning:
The Importance of a Growth Mindset
Has this ever happened to you?
Your child runs past you when you go to pick them up from school. You ask them what's wrong but you just get a shrug.
Classic. School bag gets flung to the floor and they run to straight to their room and slam the door.
Right away, you know something is not right.
So you investigate...only to find a copy of your child's report crumbled up instead of in the neat envelope it came in. When you read the comments from your child's teacher, you are shocked. Your son or daughter is performing below year group level.
At the bottom is an urgent message from the teacher 'I need to speak with you.'
Maybe your situation is not nearly as dramatic as this one.
But YOU get the point.
You think to yourself...BUT my kid has always been the clever one. Problem is that he or she thought that too! But school gets harder and harder each year and as the pressures increase some kids just begin to lose momentum and eventually give up.
We all want to believe our kids are clever and to tell them this when they perform well on tests etc. But kids that think they are smart can get a complex and find it difficult to bounce back when they struggle with new learning.
They EXPECT to do well.
AND when they fail? It can have disastrous results and may even cause a kid to want to give up.
I am not saying, don’t ever praise your kid.
Just also praise effort and their ability to persevere, especially when they find something to be a challenge. We need to help our children to recognise that knowledge and talents are not gifts they are born with.
A child with a fixed mindset is holding themselves back from what they can accomplish. They might say things like, “I can’t do it. It’s too hard.” They believe that they will fail or make a mistake.
Children should be taught that making mistakes and failure is how we learn!
It takes hard work, practise, and perseverance to be a success.
What can be done to help your child deal with frustration?
Encourage your child to try again and help them to change their mindset. A growth mindset is when students understand and believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work, good strategies and input from others. It is important that we teach children from an early age how to be resilient and determined when it comes to learning.
Why is having a Growth Mindset Important?
Having a growth mindset is important because it will help an individual child to be successful in their personal life, education and later on in their career. Here are five reasons why having a growth mindset will be beneficial to your child.
Benefits of Having a Growth Mindset
1. When a child develops a growth mindset, they have a passion for learning. They want to become an expert and improve their knowledge as much as possible. This will enrich their experiences and their desire to be life-long learners.
2. Another benefit is self-belief. Having a growth mindset helps a child to believe in themselves. Whenever they encounter challenges, they have the belief that they will overcome them. Once their target has been met, they can see that this helps them improve their learning. Ready for the next challenge!
3. Having a growth mindset, also helps a child to become self-disciplined. When it comes to being successful and getting what they want, they are aware that they have to work hard to achieve their goals.
4. A child with a growth mindset, knows the importance of helping others and asking for help when needed. They understand that when they help someone, it consolidates their own knowledge. They are also not afraid to ask questions and to ask for help. They are mindful that this helps them to get unstuck so they can move on with their learning.
5. Last but not least, developing a growth mindset builds a child’s resilience. They know that success doesn’t come easy as it takes effort and persistence. As a child develops a higher resilience, they will be determined to take risks and challenges. They will begin to see that failures and mistakes are part of learning. If they don’t know something, they will persevere and keep going until they have.
What does having a growth mindset look like in practice?
I am so glad you asked! I have a success story to share about one of my students that did just that, built her growth mindset. Amelia started online tutoring with me when she was a student in Year 4. She needed support because the pandemic knocked her confidence in maths. She would get discouraged and sometimes even cry as she felt she just couldn’t do maths.
Her mum told me Amelia didn’t want to go back to school in September 2020 because she had such a bad year in Year 3. She missed loads of learning and to her it seemed impossible to ‘catch up’. I assured her that private one-to-one tutoring would help Amelia to overcome her struggles.
I started maths tutoring for Amelia in January 2021 when we had yet another lockdown. As Amelia's private tutor, I wanted to do my best to build her confidence and close her learning gaps. I made a personalised learning plan to accelerate her progress and get her back on track.
We not only worked on the Year 3 curriculum that she missed out on, but also spent time building her growth mindset. Amelia had the tell tale signs of a fixed mindset. She gave up easily and would try everything to get out of learning something that she thought was too difficult. She often said to me, “I don’t get it, I don’t think I can do it.” On her worst days, she would say “This is why I hate maths!”
But I didn’t want her to give up. I explained to her that it was okay not to understand something, it means we haven’t learned it yet. Amelia struggled with multiplication, she didn’t know her times tables and number bonds were too tricky for her to remember.
So, we practised during our sessions. We started off with small bite size problems that she could work out herself. When she made a mistake, I allowed her to work out the correct answer by self-correcting. It was amazing to see her begin to understand that making mistakes is part of learning. I also taught her tricks that helped to build her confidence even more.
Sometimes when a child is learning it seems like a miracle happens when things just click. I cherish those ‘I got it!’ moments that kids have.
This ‘little miracle’ didn’t happen overnight though! For several months, Amelia worked hard with me during her tutoring sessions.
By the time school returned in March, Amelia was ready to return. She changed her mindset, believed that she could learn anything if she practised and worked hard. She was able to tackle difficult problems in maths and was willing to take on any challenge.
In fact, learning became much easier for her after that. She developed a newself-belief and resilience that stayed with her into Year 5!
If you would like to find out more about how your child can develop their growth mindset, why not sign up for my free growth mindset quiz and email list for weekly tips on helping your child develop their mindset?
Do you have a child that needs support in maths or literacy?
I can help! Get in touch if you would like to find out more about my online tutoring services.
Contact Kara at email@example.com for more information.