A child with learning difficulties runs the risk of developing a firm mindset, believing that improvement in the situation is impossible. This way of thinking has far-reaching (negative) consequences for the development of the child. Fortunately, it is possible to teach a child a growth mindset, which reveals it’s more than it thought initially.
“I’m just bad in counting”
“I do not understand this and will never learn it”
“I’m just stupid”
The above statements are regularly heard in children who are struggling with parts of the subject matter. Certainly, when they also receive remedial teaching, these types of ideas can be trapped in the child’s brain. The child will believe that it’s just not good enough and never gets better. Psychologist Carol Dweck investigated the issue for years and discovered that there are two ways a child (but also an adult) can think about himself. She talks about a fixed (fixed) mindset and a growth (growth) mindset.
People with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities, properties and intelligence are fixed. If children with a fixed mindset at school experience difficulty in studying certain subjects, they see this as a fixed point where they can not change anything. A fixed mindset has the effect that children avoid challenges because they prefer not to make mistakes. Because they show that they are bad in something, or worse: they are stupid. In addition, children with a fixed mindset quickly respond to setbacks, they see working hard as meaningless, ignore critisism and feel threatened by children who can do something better than themselves. All this leads to the fact that these children often perform under their ability.
Children with a growth mindset believe in their own development opportunities and always see opportunities to become better and stronger. They embrace challenges, show perseverance at setbacks, see making efforts as something indispensable, are open to criticism and inspired by others’ successes. All of this leads to a passion for learning, making children the best of their potential and improving their performance.
The good news is that a fixed mindset can be transformed into a growth mindset. This is not an easy process, but by creating the right conditions and giving children insight into Dweck’s mindset theory, it is possible.