Getting creative with Growth Mindset with kids

Getting creative with Growth Mindset with kids

Getting creative with Growth Mindset with kids

As a primary school teacher and a passionate advocate for driving a Mindset culture in the classroom every single day, one of my biggest loves is observing how children pick up and run with the creative opportunities offered by exploring the principles once understood. This is where children can not only delve in and get their creative juices flowing (another skill that can go severely neglected in the pursuit of academic rigour) but it can get to the heart of children's understanding of Mindset principles.

Once you are at the stage represented by the recipe in the image, you have much scope to manoeuvre with the Mindset ideas in your teaching in the classroom. That is when you can truly set the climate and weave it into the everyday happenings in the classroom - and that is a must. The trouble Mindset has had is that schools that have taken it on have often treated it as a bolt-on that can be taught, checked off the list of things to do and we move onto the next thing in a very busy demanding curriculum. This does not work because developing a Growth Mindset in learning is an on-going process, for us all. 

At it's core, Mindset is about metacognition (being able to think about thinking and notice when our thoughts are detrimental to our learning). Allowing kids the opportunity to explore the ideas in creative ways helps them to remember what the different features of the Mindsets are and it is then that you have everybody at a point where, when you refer back to the ideas at opportune moments, everyone knows what you are talking about. Children will be more able to link specific situations to either growth mindset or fixed mindset thinking when adults point it out. The eventual aim is for them to spot it themselves and then they are more likely to be able to train new habits that will aid learning rather than get in its way.

I am always looking for opportunities to get children flexing their creative skills. I often regard creativity as being about being able to link together to ideas that are, at first look, not connected at all. The creativity comes from establishing some kind of helpful meaning from the connection. In the Mindset recipes, children can be guided to bring together two known concepts (Mindset and recipes) and marry them together to create meaning. This act of creating will aid the memorisation of what constitutes the different Mindsets. Then you can start deepening understanding of the various elements, for example the giving and accepting of feedback or the making of mistakes.

Before ending this blog post, I should also mention that some children, as a challenge, considered recipes for making a Fixed Mindset. we must legitimise the Fixed Mindset by referring to it as much as the Growth Mindset. Afterall, we are human - we all fall into the Fixed Mindset but recognising when we do is key to turning things around and getting ourselves out of it (see next post for a Fixed Mindset recipe example).


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