The Power To Change Mindsets
Imagine you’re sitting in your staff room. What are you and your colleagues more likely to discuss: your “high-achieving students” or your “students who are achieving highly”?
From a Mindset perspective, the difference is subtle but important.
The first phrase, “high-achieving students”, suggests that “high achieving” is a type or category of student. It is a group a student belongs to, or not. Categorising students as “being” high achieving is an example of a Fixed Mindset Mover.
The second phrase, “students who are achieving highly”, focuses on what students are doing. They are “achieving highly”. The amount a learner achieves depends on what they do, and other students are capable of achieving highly by changing their actions. This is an example of a Growth Mindset Mover.
"When achievement becomes about what you do, not who you are, the underlying message is an example of a Growth Mindset Mover.
We create similar Mindset Movers based on categories or actions when we talk about our “music students” (category) instead of our “students who are learning music” (action). Of course, we could describe almost any student either way – but one leads to a Fixed Mindset Mover and the other to a Growth Mindset Mover.
What are Mindset Movers? Mindset Movers are messages that communicate assumptions about the nature of a student’s abilities. They are powerful tools in a teacher’s Growth Mindset toolkit.
Growth Mindset Movers communicate that a person’s abilities are malleable. They tend to move students towards the growth end of the Mindset Continuum. Fixed Mindset Movers suggest that a person’s abilities are fixed, a part of who they are, and tend to push students towards the fixed end of the Mindset Continuum.
Throughout a school day, teachers create a myriad of Growth Mindset Movers and Fixed Mindset Movers. No single Mindset Mover is likely to have a great impact on a student, but over time, their influence adds up.
"It is the sum of all the Fixed and Growth Mindset Movers a student experiences that influences where they find themselves on the Mindset Continuum.
As educators committed to helping develop a Growth Mindset in students, it’s important we fill our school environments with as many Growth Mindset Movers as possible. And that’s where your Growth Mindset Style Guide comes in.
The Growth Mindset Style Guide – Creating Growth Mindset Movers
Teachers want to create Growth Mindset Movers. Unfortunately, even well-intentioned teachers can’t think about every single thing they say and do in the classroom. As I’ve explained previously, we just don’t have the cognitive space (see unconscious bias and The Mindset Continuum e-book). What we need is a little “nudge” to help us create Growth Mindset Movers when, like in the examples above, there’s a chance we might create Fixed Mindset Movers.
My Growth Mindset Style Guide contains more than 30 “nudges”. These nudges (with accompanying examples) remind teachers about the subtle Mindset Movers they create in their classrooms every day. More importantly, they help teachers shift their actions to create Growth Mindset Movers.
For example, the nudge “group by verbs, not adjectives” reminds teachers to focus on what students are doing rather than who they are. So, instead of discussing “high-achieving” students or “music” students, we’re more inclined to talk about students who are “achieving highly” or “studying music”.
"The beauty of having a Growth Mindset Style Guide is that it doesn’t tell you what to say or what to do. It just “nudges” you a little so that what you say and do creates a Growth Mindset Mover.
The Growth Mindset Style Guide doesn’t create work for the teacher. It’s not an extra or an add-on. It simply helps shape what teachers are already doing, so they are more likely to create Growth Mindset Movers.
The nudges in the Growth Mindset Style Guide apply equally to the language we use in the classroom, the pedagogy we engage in, and the structures we create in a school. They can be applied in the classroom, staff room and broader community. By using these simple nudges, we fill our school environment with more Growth Mindset Movers and help our students develop a Growth Mindset.
The Growth Mindset Style Guide is exclusively available as part of the Growth Mindset Masterclass. This Master Class is accessible online and in live workshops throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates about mindset, Habits of Mind, Learning Agility and more.