Weekly Message: November 4, 2017

Hello Marvista families!

Today I’d like to discuss a topic that affects all of us: mindsets. Different from what many of us have been taught, it’s not just our gifting’s and abilities that bring us success in life–but also whether we approach challenges with a fixed or growth mindset. I’d like to outline the difference between these two mindsets in this newsletter and then share a few tips for you as parents trying to teach your kids to have a growth mindset.

First of all, a fixed mindset says that we are all born with certain intelligence, talents and abilities that cannot be changed. Some thoughts with this mindset may include: “I am bad at math and will always be bad at math no matter how much I practice, so why bother.” “I cannot take criticism because it hurts too much hearing feedback about something I cannot change.” “If I put a lot of effort into something, I must not be very talented at it.”

A growth mindset on the other hand, believes that with work, practice, and perseverance, you can always improve. Some thoughts with this mindset may include: “I am not strong in math yet, but with lots of practice I will get better.” “I am unafraid of failure and criticism, because I can learn from it and grow.” “Effort and hard work will get me where I want to go.”

Parent tip #1: Verbally praise your child for skills that can be developed: hard work, persistence, rising to a challenge, learning from a mistake, etc., rather than being “smart”, “brilliant” or “gifted”.

Parent tip #2: Be a growth mindset role model. Consider this: how often do you say “I can’t (cook/sing/balance my bank account)” or “I’m terrible at (sports/spelling/public speaking)” as if there’s no hope for you? Make sure you’re sending the right message – maybe even try something new!

Parent tip #3: Encourage your child to not always take the easy route (where little learning is done) and instead embrace challenges. Encourage them to come up with creative solutions!

Parent tip #4: Discourage envy of peers, and talk to your child about what he or she can learn from others who appear more successful.

Talking like this with your child may feel unnatural, but I encourage you to stick with it! Research is showing that having a growth mindset can have an enormous impact not just on academics but all areas of life where learning and growing are required (virtually everything we do in life). For further reading on this topic, see book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck.

Warm Regards

-Andrew Ritsema
School Counselor