Last year, my school invited Eduardo Briceño to talk to us about the importance of having a growth mindset, a concept from his book “The Power of Belief – Mindset and Success”. He basically asserts that there are two types of people: those who think intelligence and skills are fixed/unchanging and others who believe they are able to be developed/honed.
In his speech and his book, he discusses one thing that we all (likely) have done: tell a student how smart he/she is or tell a student how good he/she is at a specific skill. Now, I have heard that telling your kids they are “smart” is not the way to go, but I guess I had filed that info away in a section of my brain that doesn’t get much use. Well, according to Briceño, doing this puts kids into a fixed mindset where they think they are either good or bad at something and nothing can change that. He says that children who live in a fixed mindset are less likely to engage in challenging or difficult work because they think it’s just too hard and they can’t do it.
Since I am no longer in the classroom, I decided to use this concept on my 6-year-old to see what kind of affect it had on her. There are tons of examples that I could give that I have done on my own, but I’ll just mention one of them that happened recently with my daughter’s swim teacher.
My daughter takes swimming lessons all year long. She is the type of kid who could care less about sports and would rather just play at home. It bothers me because I grew up in sports (I played competitive and college soccer and high school tennis) and have a very competitive spirit. So, going to swimming is kind of a drag sometimes because she doesn’t always want to go.