TRAILBLAZERS COUNSELOR CORNER
Nikki Ouellette, School Counselor
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-487-8474 x 4116
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Hello Trailblazer Families!
As we are now moving along in the school year I thought it would be helpful to share with you valuable information from Carol Dweck’s work on Growth Mindset. Dweck has spent over 30 years researching what contributes to success … The answer lies in your mindset! Do you have a Fixed or Growth Mindset?
Success in the New School Year- THE POWER OF “YET!”
The start of a new school year can be filled with anxiety for many students as they are faced with a variety of new and challenging tasks. Whether kids are trying to make new friends, learn a new concept in math or navigate all the change that comes with moving to a new school, there is one simple word that can give kids of any age the encouragement and inspiration they need to meet these challenges with confidence.
The research around language and its impact on how our brains become wired has exploded over the last decade and this latest discovery by world-renowned Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck once again confirms the power of our words.
The magical word is YET and it becomes incredibly potent when used with individuals who have just expressed concern over not being able to do something or not being good at something. Think of how different the following sentences feel to you when yet is added.
I haven’t made any friends yet.
I don’t understand multiplication yet.
I can’t get across the monkey bars yet.
I’m not good at speaking in front of others yet.
I’m not good at reading
In her research, Dr. Dweck found that simply using the word yet helped individuals see more potential in themselves. This one word literally trains our brains to remain open to challenges and see things more positively. By using this word with our kids, we help them develop a more accurate perspective of learning. Kids begin to realize that ability is something that is fluid rather than fixed and they learn that progress in any area of life can be developed and achieved over time.
Put another way, if an individual believes that he is not good at something, it closes the door to learning in his mind. On the other hand, if an individual understands that she is not good at something yet, the door to growth, progress and mastery remains open which naturally results in more confidence, motivation and persistence.
Of course, yet is just as powerful for adults as it is for children. So with that in mind, it can be helpful to take a look at the words we use with ourselves including our silent but powerful self-talk. And if you discover that you haven’t been thinking and speaking like this don’t worry, you just haven’t incorporated it into your daily habits and vocabulary yet.
Next time your child comes to you and says he/she CAN’T do something… Follow it up with one simple word… ”YET!”
For additional information on Growth Mindset: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D
5 QUICK things you can do to help develop a growth mindset in children:
- Ask open-ended questions to problem-solve or achieve a goal. “What do you think will happen if…” or “Why do you suppose…” These questions build logical thinking and problem-solving skills and often lead to rich conversations and discovery.
- Use specific feedback that identifies what your child accomplished. What small steps led to a larger outcome? Be supportive when your child attempts something new and continually reassure he/she that mistakes are merely opportunities for growth! Skills that build persistence simultaneously allow children to feel confident, independent and self-assured.
- Encourage your child to take a risk. Watch and listen to your child so you can take cues about what else they are ready to tackle. Vygotsky calls this the “zone of proximal development”-when we gently nudge kids to use what they know to try something just a bit out of their reach, but yet developmentally appropriate.
- Be persistent and growth-minded yourself! Model, Model, Model! Share thoughts and experiences of trying something new or frustrating, even something you may have failed at first at, but with persistence learned to do. This communicates to your child… “If mom tried/messed up it’s OKAY for me too!”
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Accidents and mistakes happen. Help your child to understand that there is always something to be learned in not achieving what we set out to accomplish. Encourage he/she to keep trying or “Keep swimming” as Dory would say and instill a mindset of “YET”. There is tremendous power in this one little word!