10 Questions to encourage a growth mindset

Tal, Teacher

As many teachers will attest, it’s not always the brightest students that are the best achievers in the classroom. 

It’s those with the best mindset and attitude that tend to make the most significant improvements.

According to leading researcher Carol Dweck, growth mindsets involve people believing their abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication.

The benefits of growth mindsets include:

  • Higher motivation
  • Greater ability to take risks
  • Lowered stress and mental health challenges
  • Better relationships
  • Higher performance

Below are 10 questions to promote a growth mindset in your classroom. 


1. What is a growth mindset? Why is it important?

The best place to start is to develop student understanding of the concept and its importance. 

You could hook students in by viewing an engaging and informative video. Then have them work in small groups or pairs to come up with their own definition of growth mindsets. 

Review their responses as to why it’s important to engage in the practice.

2. What's one mistake you made in class today? What could you do to improve next time?

‘The only mistake is the one from which we learn nothing’. - Henry Ford

Everyone makes mistakes. 

Reflecting on them is where the real learning happens.

It’s helpful to discuss our own mistakes with students. This shows that it’s okay to make them and that they help us become better versions of ourselves.

Acknowledging their own mistakes helps students take ownership of their learning and highlights that it’s a natural part of learning. 

Students can apply their learning from mistakes to future learning. For example, a student reflecting that they didn’t follow the instructions correctly is more likely to do so in future.

3. Explain what you do when you do not understand a skill or concept you are learning?

Our students are likely to experience challenges throughout their learning. It’s not about avoiding these, but about how we deal with them that matters.

Expose students to learning strategies to support their understanding. Have students reflect on the ways they use these and others when they don’t understand a skill or a concept.  

4. What’s one change you made recently to become a better learner?

In order to improve both academically and socially, we need to keep adjusting and changing to better suit our needs. 

Prior to posing this question, have a discussion about strategies for becoming better learners, such as doing your best or asking a classmate for help. 

Encourage students to identify how they implemented the change, and what impact they’ve noticed in their learning. 


5. What goal are you currently working on with your learning?

When students set and self regulate learning goals, their motivation levels improve

Research has also identified a link between student goal setting and achievement. 

It’s important to give our students ample time to reflect on their learning goals. They can identify what’s working and what needs adjustment to achieve their goals.

 It helps to have the goals visible, such as by laminating them and placing them on the table. 


6. How did you make progress towards your goal today?

Instead of setting goals and forgetting about them, students should review the steps to achieving them regularly. 

Allow time at the end of each lesson for students to review their goals. Have them share their perceptions with classmates. Discuss as a whole class if appropriate to motivate students and make them feel supported.

7. Explain what it means to be a good learner in this class

Being a good learner means different things to different people. 

Discuss the characteristics of successful learners with your class. Identify how students can work towards these attributes. 

Are there any additional characteristics that you’ve identified as a whole class? 

You can quickly identify similarities across student responses by using Ziplet’s word cloud feature.  

Place these in a visible location in your classroom, and reference regularly to encourage engagement. 

8. How much effort did you put into learning today?

The level of effort students put in depends on a complex interaction of factors. Much of it is linked to interest, which is why it’s important that students understand the purpose of the learning.

By encouraging reflection on their effort, we’re highlighting its importance.

We’re helping students to identify what they can do better in terms of effort in the future.

9. What would help you to put more effort into learning tomorrow?

Once they’ve reflected on their effort for today, it’s time to consider how they’ll put more effort in tomorrow. 

Have a whole class brainstorm, suggesting ways in which students can make a greater effort, such as through positive self talk or not getting distracted by others. 

Coming up with and sharing these tangible examples will help bring about meaningful change in student effort levels.  

 

10. In what ways were you challenged today and why?

It’s impossible to grow without dealing with challenges. 

As teachers, the work should be challenging enough to engage and motivate students, but not too challenging that they can’t succeed. 

When students reflect on the ways they’re challenged, they’ll recognise their achievements. They’ll also come up with ways to deal with challenges in the future.

Conclusion

A growth mindset improves motivation, enhances learning outcomes and improves health and wellbeing.   

By posing questions that require deep thinking and reflection, students can develop the tools to have a growth mindset both inside and outside the classroom.

To access these questions and more on a variety of teaching and learning topics, try out Ziplet for free today. 



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