As therapists and educators, we’ve learned the importance of helping kids embrace new challenges and believe that, with hard work, they can learn new skills. But how do we make sure our own fixed mindset isn’t getting in the way? In our own lives, are we truly committed to trying hard, taking risks, and sometimes failing as opposed to always choosing a safe route that guarantees success?
Carol Dweck, the Stanford psychology professor who came up with the idea of growth and fixed mindsets, offers this advice for professionals and parents when considering our own fixed mindset triggers:
- Watch for a fixed-mindset reaction when you face challenges. Do you feel overly anxious, or does a voice in your head warn you away?
- Watch for it when you face a setback in your teaching or parenting, or when children aren’t listening or learning. Do you feel incompetent or defeated? Do you look for an excuse?
- Watch to see whether criticism or complaints brings out your fixed mindset. Do you become defensive, angry, or crushed instead of interested in learning from the feedback?
- Watch what happens when you see another therapist or parent who’s better than you at something you value. Do you feel envious and threatened, or do you feel eager to learn?
- Accept those thoughts and feelings and work with and through them. And keep working with and through them.
- Remember, you’re on a growth-mindset journey, too.
Check out this article, 8 Ways to Encourage Growth Mindset in Kids, for more on identifying your own mindset and helping kids learn by developing their own growth mindset.
Article by Elizabeth Sautter, M.A., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Executive Director of Communication Works