Train your brain! Developing a growth mindset is one of the first steps in building resilient learners who see adversity as opportunities for learning in the classroom.
Developing a Growth Mindset in the Classroom
Such an essential part of the primary classroom is focusing on social and emotional learning. Developing a growth mindset is one of the first steps in building resilient learners who believe they can and see obstacles and adversity as opportunities for learning. Developing it may seem like a hard concept to tackle for primary students, but it directly relates to brain development.
Show your students how to train their brains by understanding what we know about the brain and how it relates to a growth mindset.
1. Understand what growth mindset is.
Growth mindset is the idea that failure and struggles are just steps on the path to successful learning. Much of growth mindset is changing the language and mentality from “I can’t do it” to “I will when” or looking for what one needs to reach learning goals. Teaching your students about growth v. fixed mindset language is the first step in understanding how productive struggle can help stretch and train the brain while developing a growth mindset!
2. The brain stretches to help you learn.
Even though the brain isn’t a muscle (it’s an organ), one of the purposes of the brain is to tell the parts of the body (like the muscles) what to do. Teach your students to stretch their elastic brain and learn even more! Brain science explains how our brains can stretch and are malleable. Explain to your students how our brains have billions of tiny neurons, and when we learn something new, the brain grows more connections among neurons. More connections mean the need for more room, so the brain stretches!
Teach your students about their amazing elastic brains and how to stretch their learning!
3. Each part of the brain has its own function.
Primary students can learn about the parts of the brain. There are major parts of the brain: the motor cortex, sensory cortex, frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe, cerebellum, and brain stem.
Each part of the brain has its own tasks and roles. The motor cortex is in charge of voluntary movement, while the sensory cortex controls all senses. The frontal lobe is in charge of decision making and cognitive skills. Language is the primary objective of the parietal lobe.
What you see (vision) is determined by the occipital lobe. The temporal lobe’s focus is primarily hearing. The cerebellum is the movement center of the brain, and the brain stem is the communicator between the brain and the rest of the body.
Encourage your students to make their own brain caps and learn about their brains! By understanding how each part of the brain functions, your students can start exploring different ways to grow and engage their minds.
Engaging multiple parts of the brain through multiple intelligences can help your students retain information and make connections to new ideas. For example, listening to an audiobook or a proficient reader while reading along with a visual text can help engage the occipital and temporal lobes.
4. The brain is trainable.
Let students understand that they can train their brains to do hard things. Just like playing a sport or doing physical training, practice makes permanent! Growth mindset tells students they are capable of learning anything.
Have students reflect on what they want to learn, whether it’s playing the piano, learning to knit, riding a bike, or learning multiplication tables. Share activities that explain the form and function of the trainable brain while allowing students to set their own growth mindset goals.
Growth mindset is not just a popular new educational phrase. For example, it’s a way of incorporating what we know about the brain. The brain works to help our students become better learners.
Resources for Teaching Growth Mindset
FREE Mantra Posters & Coloring Sheets
Here’s a freebie for you to use in your classroom. Give students a growth mindset mantra poster to color and decorate. Hang in the classroom or take home to teach families about growth mindset.
Click the image to download.
Growth Mindset Classroom Resources
Teaching a growth mindset is simplified with this unit for K-2 that includes five detailed, research-based lessons filled with hands-on and mindful activities. Teach children about their elastic brain. They’ll learn about a fixed and growth mindset, perseverance, learning from mistakes, failures, challenges, and the power of YET.
Watch the video to see the growth mindset unit for K-2 in action!
Watch the video to see the growth mindset unit for 3-5 in action!
More Ideas for Developing Growth Mindset
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