Sunday, February 15, 2015

Overcoming the Failure Mindset

When you hear the word, failure, what thoughts come to mind?  Is it the end of the world, or the beginning of learning? Do you see doom and gloom or an opportunity for improvement?  Failure is a fact of life, but how we view failure and more importantly how we react to it has huge implications on a student's potential for learning. 

No matter your response to my first question, you haven't always viewed a child's failures as crippling limitations. If you think about it, children fail more in the first 3 years of life than at any point thereafter, and at no point did any of us think our children were failures. In fact, our parental statements communicated hope, encouragement and an eternal belief in our children's ability to grow and mature. 

To prove this point, we've all heard statements such as:  "He isn't walking yet", "She isn't out of diapers yet", or "We haven't broken him of the pacifier yet". No matter how concerned we became, we never uttered statements like, "He'll never walk", She'll always be in diapers!", or "I guess he'll suck on that pacifier forever!!!"  No matter the deficit or delay, we believed that our infant children would grow out of their infantile ways because we believed in the "Power of Yet"

Watch this short video by Carol Dweck and read this infographic from @wayfaringpath and ask yourself this question.   

Do you believe in your students and your own abilities enough 
that you know you can help your students 
grow from their failures and reach their potential?  

As educators, it is critical to remember that all students can learn and grow, and they do it at their own pace and in their own unique way.  We must also remind ourselves not to allow a student's failures of the day to drive our beliefs about his potential.  If we can't convince ourselves that students can overcome their failures, there's no way that we'll be able to help them believe they're anything other than a failure.  After all, someone saw more potential in you, and despite your flaws, that person gave you the support and encouragement to turn your setbacks into strengths.

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Source:  @wayfaringpath: Growth vs Fixed Mindset Graphic for Elementary 

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