Growth Mindsets

Developing intrinsic motivation in our students


Developing a growth mindset and intrinsic motivation:

9AM: What mindsets are and how it affects our students

· Growth Mindset v. Fixed Mindset

· Intrinsic Motivation

9:15 How do we instill growth mindsets on our kids?

· Framing challenges

· Reducing classroom anxiety

· Praise v. constructive criticism

· Self-worth and comparing students

· Putting in the effort

9:45: Questions & comments

What is a mindset?

A mindset is basically how you view yourself and the world, especially when it comes to the classroom. Students can have two different mindsets when it comes to learning. The first is a fixed mindset. This means the student believes that their intelligence is static. They are as smart as they will ever be which can lead them to try to seem smarter to others. It can “create an urgency to prove yourself over and over” (Dweck 6). It can also lead to a lack of motivation and frustration at failure. However, a growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed and grown. It often keeps students motivated and makes them feel that challenges are beatable and they have room to learn. Students with a growth mindset have a greater sense of free will.

Students who have a fixed mindset are plagued by their lack of intrinsic motivation. Many students do the bare minimum due to extrinsic motivation, something from the outside that forces them to do work, such as the fear of failing or punishment for not doing schoolwork. Intrinsic motivation comes from the inside. It is usually from interest in the topic or a want to learn and succeed.

What can we do?

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If we have students who lack the motivation to do well in school, it is very likely they have a fixed mindset. There are many things we can do to instill and foster growth mindsets on our children.

  • Framing Challenges

Challenges can be seen by students as daunting obstacles that hinder their progress. It is important to shape these challenges as goals. Setting achievable goals has the ability to increase intrinsic motivation. Setting goals that focus on both mastery and performance is imperative to instilling “active learning strategies and high self-efficacy” (Woolfolk 454).

  • Reducing anxiety

In the classroom, anxiety can hinder student’s ability to pay attention, as well as keep them from achieving goals that they set out to accomplish. As teachers, you have to be prepared to be aware of students dealing with stress and anxiety and be prepared to help them. You need to be able to help the student cope with the anxiety and use learning methods tailored to that student.

  • Praise v. constructive criticism

Students with little or no intrinsic motivation do not respond well to undeserved praise. Especially in scenarios where the student feels they did poorly on an assignment, praise for it can affect the work effort of that student negatively. Studies have shown that a student’s motivation to do well can be negatively affected with the wrong kind of praise. In the same way, be careful with criticism in relation to the work of a student. Always focus on what the student can improve, and never frame it in a way that implies they did poorly.

  • Self-worth and comparing students

Make sure to keep grades between students as private as possible. Students with fixed mindsets often find themselves comparing themselves to other students and that can take a very negative affect on their motivation to work. A growth mindset requires that a student challenges themselves rather than their peers.

  • Putting in the effort

One of the most important things we can do to instill a growth mindset on our students is to show them that their efforts are worth it. When a student truly puts in work and doesn’t see any change or success, it is very easy for that student to learn to think that their efforts are useless or worthless. By leading by example and reminding them of this, we can hope that they will come to realize their intrinsic motivation.