We are so thankful for our sponsors at IXL for providing this great information so that we are able to help our children grow and succeed in school!
What matters more when it comes to achieving success? Being naturally good at something, or believing that you can succeed? It may just be the latter.
“Growth mindset” is the belief that with effort and by embracing challenges we can improve our abilities. Kids with a growth mindset know that encountering obstacles and failures doesn’t mean you’re not smart—they’re opportunities to grow. They’re less likely to give up because they know that hard work and practice make you smarter. They are motivated to put in effort, and have confidence in themselves and their ability to succeed, whether academically, socially, physically, or otherwise.
Here are a few ways to help your children develop a growth mindset.
Use praise wisely
Praise is an important part of building a growth mindset—but use it carefully. Commending your kids’ abilities (“Great job on the math test! You’re so smart!”) seems like a good idea, but it could lead them to believe that if they make a mistake, it means they’re not smart. Instead, focus on applauding the processes they used to achieve success (“I’m proud of the way you never gave up, even when it was hard” or “You struggled at first, but you’ve really improved on___”).
Take the fear out of failure
If you notice your children getting frustrated with their schoolwork, or saying things like, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard!” talk to them about the challenges they’re facing, and encourage them to think about them differently. For example, instead of giving up on a homework problem, teach them to think, “What other strategy can I try?” Instead of saying, “I’m just not good at writing,” they could say, “I’m not good at this yet. It may take some time but I can learn to be a good writer.” You can model this behavior by sharing with your children some of your own failures and how you overcame them.
Use the power of technology
Educational technology can also help your kids develop a growth mindset when it comes to learning. How? First, let’s take a look at a typical paper worksheet. When a student hands in an assignment with 20 questions and receives it back with 10 wrong, that student may feel that their grade labels them—they have failed and they are a failure. If this continues, the student creates in their mind an expectation of failure, and therefore, won’t try hard enough the next time.
However, with a personalized, adaptive learning program like IXL, students are able to keep striving until they master concepts. IXL is designed so that it’s not about just getting a percentage of questions right; it’s about providing content at the right level of difficulty for each individual student, and making it possible for every child to reach a score of 100 at their own pace, even if they miss 10, 20, or even 40 questions before getting there.
IXL is a popular website and mobile app aligned to the Colorado education standards, and can be used at home to supplement what your child is learning in school. Find out more about how a program like IXL can help your kids excel and develop a growth mindset at www.ixl.com/colorado!