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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Monday Move: Promoting a Growth Mindset

Welcome to ‘Monday Move’, a new feature on our site where you’ll be given a new tip, trick, or teaching move that you can quickly implement in your class.

A great way to help your students prepare for learning at the beginning of a course or program is to encourage them to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset means belief they can improve with effort and practice over time. Contrast this with a fixed mindset, where one believes that they cannot improve no matter how hard they try. This activity starts by giving them a piece of paper and the prompt:

“Draw a picture of something you are good at, something that you got better at over time by working hard.”

They will draw things like playing guitar or soccer, debating, parenting, writing, or sewing. Explain that this is an area where they’ve had a growth mindset. Connect it to the class by telling them that growth mindset is contextual, one can have it in a certain area (like soccer), but not another (like math). After they present their drawings, give them these three sentence starter frames:

  • When I make a mistake I...
  • When it gets challenging I...
  • In order to get better at it I...

Students write down their answers and discuss them. Finally, ask the class which of those strategies would work in your class to foster a growth mindset for everybody.

This Monday Move was inspired by “Teachin’ It!” by Felicia Darling. This fantastic book is full of practical advice based on sound theory on how to better teach community college students. We have two copies available in room 3110 for you to check out - come pick one up!

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