Math Intervention
Habits for a Growth Mindset
  • October 07, 2019

Early in my teaching career I discovered that student mindset matters; likewise, teacher mindset matters. Long before I ever heard the term "Growth Mindset," I thought of the whole concept as an attitude, and I suppose the terms positive attitude and growth mindset are somewhat synonymous. By nature, I am a positive, optimistic person who possesses a growth mindset about and toward most things...except running, competitive swimming, and extreme sports! I love that growth mindset is such an ingrained and integral part of MATH 180. The growth mindset materials help me to lay a strong foundation for fostering a shift of mindset for students who enter MATH 180 with a fixed, mixed, or mostly fixed mindset.

In my classroom I work very hard to model a growth mindset and constantly strive to instill the same in my students. Students who have a fixed mindset have a huge hurdle to overcome, and their progress is hindered greatly by their negative attitudes about themselves and toward learning. I use the tools available during the first two weeks' and have found them to be very beneficial. My students have historically responded well to the "day one" video which features Michael Jordan,  J. K. Rowling, and Sonia Sotomayor. My most favorite parts of that videos are the dude flipping the bicycle over and over and over and the quote made by J. K. Rowling in the last few seconds of the video:

I refer to these two things throughout the school year and constantly remind students that persistence pays off and risks are worth it. I have posters around my classroom which support the growth mindset. They display the statements that I most often make when a student needs encouragement Some examples are

  • "If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you."

  • "Don't give up until you're proud."
  • "Mistakes are proof you're trying."

Another poster that I have on my wall was something that I found on a social media site. It is the Iceberg Illusion by @SylviaDuckwork.

This poster is displayed in the front of my classroom, so the students can see it clearly. It is a constant reminder to all of us that success comes at a great cost, but that it's worth it! 

Many of my students fall in the "mixed mindset" category when they complete the mindset activities. I am always thrilled when I see the shift during the school year. The lessons in MATH 180 provide strategies and opportunities for practice in such a way that my students' levels of confidence increase.  With this increase in confidence, I also witness a change of mindset.  It's a beautiful thing, really! It's one of the reasons that I am so fond of teaching MATH 180 to middle school students. 

Don't shortchange your students' chances at success! Make sure that you complete the activities for fostering growth mindset during the first two weeks of school as well as those opportunities throughout the year. It's easy to find quotes and posters that will help you display positive sayings that point students in the direction of growth mindset. Buy some...make some...hang them up on your walls and use them!