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Change your words, change your mindset

I remember being about 15 and listening to a conversation my mother and father were having. My mother told my father, “don’t say stupid, children believe what you tell them, if you tell them they are stupid that’s what they will become.” My father promptly looked at my two younger brothers and said, “Rich, rich you are both rich!”

Having worked at a remedial school for most of my career and now in private practise I have noticed that this idea rings true in classrooms. Many determined children who believe they can ….do. Learners who have an entrenched idea that they cannot achieve …often don’t. A kind of self- fulfilling prophesy.

Psychologist Carol Dweck has developed the concept of a growth mindset. Her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success has become a very popular in the fields of business and education.

According to Dweck, a mindset is a self-perception what you believe about yourself. Remember, when you are young, you are shaping that self -perception and your educators and parents help to build that.  Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is a simple example of a mindset. According to Dweck, what you believe about yourself can have a profound effect on learning achievement and skill acquisition.

It seems rather obvious and we have grown up hearing sayings like, “If you think you’re beaten, you are”. Dweck’s research now shows that the way students think about themselves and their own abilities can have a significant effect on learning progress and academic improvement.

Adelle Schwark
Speech and Language Therapist

1. Hidden curriculum (2014, August 26). In S. Abbott (Ed.), The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum, 19 September 2017
2. The Growth Mindset, http://thesupergeneration.com/the-growth-mindset/, 19 September 2017