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At St George's Technical High School in Middletown, Delaware, you will notice an intriguing awards wall in the main hallway leading to the cafeteria. At first glance, it might look like any typical awards wall, but this one is unique. Honored here are students who exhibit habits that show they have a growth mindset!
In a growth mindset, a learner believes that he or she can grow abilities and intelligence when exhibiting effort. Often those who exhibit a growth mindset take on challenges, learn from feedback and their mistakes, and use a lot of effective strategies to improve and learn. At St. Georges, Principal Shanta Reynolds said, "We wanted to celebrate kids for having a growth mindset - not just for academics."
As a high school math teacher, I hear over and over from families that their struggling student has "always" struggled in math and isn't doing well because they themselves didn't do well in math. This information that families share has shown me just how deeply rooted fixed mindsets can be and how people who exhibit a more growth mindset in some areas can hold very fixed mindsets about math. Many families are unknowingly telling teachers that math ability is based purely on genetics and not on the effort and experiences of their students. When working with students with a fixed mindset in math, in particular, I have found some strategies to be helpful in gaining some ground towards a growth mindset.