Set the conditions for social and emotional growth by helping students to cultivate a growth mindset. A growth mindset encourages students to think of learning as an ongoing process and fosters the belief that they can consistently develop their talents and proficiencies (Dweck, 2016). Developing a growth mindset requires that students understand how to put effort into their work, and it also requires that they try new strategies for learning and recognize when to seek help from others (Dweck, 2015).
Explore the following strategies to create a classroom environment that supports and encourages the development of a growth mindset:
- Appreciate effort and follow up with “What can you try next?” to ensure that students are focused on progress and learning (Dweck, 2015). Asking students what they can do next reminds them to keep their efforts action- and future-focused, and can keep them motivated to try again.
- Encourage students to focus on what they can control. This keeps students engaged and reminds them that, no matter how challenging a new skill may be, there are always aspects of the learning process that they can manage.
- Show students how to research and develop a plan to achieve their goals. Creating a classroom where students are told that they can do anything is not enough, students must be shown how to take clear action steps in pursuit of their goals (Dweck, 2016).
- Connect learning to a greater purpose, which helps students persist and find enjoyment in what they are doing (Hulleman & Happel, 2019).
As students learn to see themselves as capable of success—even as they work through setbacks and challenges—they will create the conditions within themselves for their social and emotional skills to grow.