原创Play and a Growth Mindset｜玩耍和成长型思维模式
In Chapter 6 of Purposeful Play, the Early Years team explored how to cultivate a growth mindset in students. Having a growth mindset means believing that skills and knowledge can be developed through effort. It is essential to encourage a growth mindset in children by praising their effort and process as opposed to intelligence and talent.
Play is one of the best ways to develop a growth mindset as during play children are not focused on the product. The goal is not to seek approval from adults, and if mistakes are made, they can simply try again or come up with solutions.
Our Early Years educators intentionally design learning environments to foster a growth mindset in students. They observe play and interact with students to determine needs and differentiate instruction based on those needs. Developing a growth mindset is an ongoing process that should be nurtured at home, school, and throughout students' lives, but also within teachers and parents as well.
How are growth mindsets cultivated in our Early Years classrooms?
Growth Mindset in
K3 students have been inquiring into forces using marble runs. Marble runs seem simple to make but to a 3-year-old it can be a source of frustration. You can see it in their eyes: "Why isn't it working?"
It's easy for us to notice one side has an opening for the marble and one side is closed. We immediately realize one side is higher than the other and that makes the marbles roll in one direction. But children don't always get that. They just think, "I can't do it. It's never going to work."
In K3, students are set up for success by teaching them basic concepts for marble runs. We don't start with the coolest marble runs that have twists and turns that go upside-down. We start with simple marble runs that teach the basic concepts: gravity pulls marbles down toward the ground. Marbles follow paths that go from the top to the bottom.
As students master these basic concepts, they are introduced to more challenging elements: smaller marbles, curved pieces, looping pieces, and more. Students develop a growth mindset without realizing it. They don't think about what they can't do. They focus on what they can do.
Growth Mindset in
Reflection is happening in K4. We reflect on our play, conflicts, field trips, and our day. We pause for problems, have time to think about it, and are able to solve our own problems.
We celebrate the good moments and rethink ourmoments.
Reflection is also the foundational step to move to the next step and makes the steps sturdy for others to follow too. Not just the little humans, we all grow as we reflect on ourselves and our choices. Reflection is the key to our growth mindset.
Growth Mindset in
In this photo, students are using a chain as a visual to help them make a "connection" between their two lives. This also served as a clear visual for others!
Throughout our four units of inquiry in K5, teachers have been challenging their students to make meaningful connections between their lives, the content taught during lessons, and the key concepts of each unit.
As English language learners, it is not always easy for students to discuss higher-level concepts and understand how to make thoughtful connections to what they are learning. Instead of becoming discouraged when students could not make connections at first, teachers challenged students to "keep trying," while teachers also kept trying in new ways to creatively present opportunities for students to visualize what it means to "make a connection" between both abstract and tangible ideas.
With the use of visuals, repetition and translanguaging, students became, and are still becoming, more confident in sharing creative and meaningful connections they observe, not only in UOI, but in their daily lives!
Growth Mindset in
In Creative Arts, we cultivate a growth mindset by teaching students how to reflect on their work, using the following achievement levels: BEGINNING, ON MY WAY, ALMOST THERE, SUCCESSFUL.
Students learn that they may have not achieved a goal YET, but that with guidance, practice, and persistence they can meet their goals.
We encourage students to avoid comparisons and value judgments, thus supporting their sense of self-esteem and ability to persevere through challenges.
Growth Mindset in
Our brains can grow and change just like our bodies. In EY PE students are developing fundamental movement and manipulative skills through playing different games. We discuss how even though learning a new skill may be challenging or difficult at the start, through practice and not giving up, we can improve.
Students in the photo chose a manipulative skill they would like to improve in (one or two hand rolling, kicking, or overhand throw). They set a goal for how many times they could hit a target in 3 minutes. They were taught how to keep track of their progress, and strategies like self-talk (saying "I can do it!") when things got difficult.
Growth Mindset in
In this photo, K3 students are using scissors to inquire into forces.
In the first semester, it was not easy for K3 students to hold a pair of scissors. Helping them cut presented challenges. At that time, students would say “I don’t know how to use scissors”, or “The paper is broken.” It was common to see students holding scissors in wrong and uncomfortable ways.
During Mandarin class, we encouraged them to hold scissors in a proper way. Teachers reminded them “It’s ok that you don't know yet, can you try and show me how you hold a pair of scissors? Can you be a risk-taker?” After trying to cut paper many times, students now know how to use force to hold scissors nicely and cut along the shapes. They feel more comfortable than ever cutting paper (even though they still can’t cut paper in a perfect shape yet).
The seeds of growth mindsets are planted in their mind: "It is ok if you don't know how to do it yet, you can keep trying and growing.” K3 students now say: "Look at the horse I cut.", "I am going to cut this cow out and give it to my mama."
Growth Mindset in
In ICT, young learners from K4 learned to be caring digital-citizens by commenting on others with a positive attitude.
We reflected together on the Kahoot! playing experience. Some players got upset while they couldn't manage to choose the correct answers. So, we brainstormed what words or actions we can have to show our caring attitude toward others. Students were able to discuss and demonstrate positive attitudes and manners.
One student said, "You can say 'Try harder' to them", the other said "You can do it next time.", and some said "we all make mistakes." Yes, we all make mistakes and learn from it, and this is how we develop the growth mindset that eventually will benefit our entire life.
What do our teams want you to know from this chapter?
More Than a Score in K3
“In New York City, as in many school districts across the country, students are generally evaluated within a fixed framework as level 1, 2, 3, and 4. A child who hasn't met the grade-level benchmark in reading, for example, would be a level 1 or 2. The issue with such a system is that a level 1 or 2 can be seen as a failure, discreet and different from levels 3 or 4, as opposed to just a point on a learning progression. A child on the receiving end of a level 1 may see herself as "not smart" or a failure.
Now let's think about this same child through the lens of a growth mindset. While she may not have met the grade-level benchmark in reading, if she is assessed on a continuum that includes "not yet" instead of a grade or numerical rating that indicates failure, there is a sense of hope. A child can move along the continuum, and we as teachers can help her get there with helpful strategies and support. It's a whole different way of seeing the child, and it suggests that, even if she's not there yet, she most certainly will be in the future.” (Purposeful Play. 101-102)
Our goal in K3 is for students to see themselves as more than a number. They are unique individuals with wonderful personalities and unlimited potential. They can be anything. We never want students to think their sense of self-worth is tied to how they perform. We want them to focus on what they can do: be anything they want to be because they are more than a score.
Possibilities of Not Yet in K4
A growth mindset means optimism, flexibility, resilience and persistence. It can change the world into a positive perspective. By allowing children to explore, experiment, and take risks in their play, they can develop problem-solving skills, resilience, and self-efficacy. We should normalize the word “failure”. Failure can be a positive experience and is part of children's learning. As we reflect on our play, we see new perspectives, and it becomes a moment in which we can grow with new perspectives and encouragement. A growth mindset is a belief that we can learn from ourselves and others. It is the engine that gets you going, trying, and growing.
How can we help children to build growth mindsets? Are compliments always positive? When we praise children, we should be specific and always focus on their effort and process. We can also invite them to reflect on their work.
Before we request our children to have a growth mindset, let’s ask ourselves if we have it. If you say I don’t have it. No, you are not there yet.
Dear Parents, please do not be discouraged when you see your child struggling to grasp a concept or skill that perhaps his or her peers have already mastered! Everyone is different, and growth does not happen at the same time in every child.
This is one example of how we are all unique individuals! When teachers see a child struggling in K5, we view this as perfectly normal! This child has not acquired this skill,...yet! If we scold our children for not learning at the rate we feel they should, then our children will become discouraged, and perhaps even want to give up. But if we encourage our children and remind them that they are on a journey of learning to read, write, calculate, inquire, speak English, or even develop their social skills, then we will build confidence and motivation in our children.
When we praise and encourage effort or process, rather than talent or "smarts", we support students' development of a growth mindset. They are more likely to become optimistic, flexible, and persevering.
Failures and frustrations happen during learning, and that is okay. Fostering and encouraging abilities to adapt and improvise will help students develop resilience, persistence, and a positive outlook when faced with challenges.
In EY PE play is a great way for students to practice and develop fundamental movement and manipulative skills in a setting that is fun and challenging. Without the challenging aspect, students won’t be as willing to approach new challenging skills or activities as they develop.
It is important we allow students to make mistakes and test out strategies through play as much as possible (with positive support and encouragement) to prepare them for being more resilient and adaptable as they grow.
The brain is flexible and can change: The first step in thinking differently about mindset is understanding that the brain is not fixed--it's flexible and can change. Building a growth mindset also means fostering characteristics like optimism, flexibility, resilience, and persistence, which allow a person to develop a positive and growth-minded perspective. To help some children, this may mean capturing a moment of resilience and naming for the child what she did that was so powerful.
For example: During the guided reading session in the library, a student once could not sound a few words out at first, but after reminding the student of a few reading strategies, the student did not give up and finished reading the book by practicing again. It was so nice to see the student was willing to try again instead of saying 'I cannot do it'. It was so fulfilling to see the students smile!
Encouragement over praise and rewards: Too many times, when chaos or failures arise, we tend to feel frustrated. What if we adopt a growing mindset and view it as an opportunity to develop better habits of mind. Refusal, fear, or reluctance can all signal that a child needs support in understanding that failure and frustration are part of their learning, not part of who they are as a person. Therefore, we the adults, can be leaders and role models for children by offering encouragement instead of judgement including praising their effort.
Encouragement is essential for children to develop a growth mindset. It tells children that what they do is separate from who they are and lets them know that they're valued for their uniqueness without judgement.
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