Pedagogy Welcome

Neuroscience and Growth Mindset

I find the human brain to be incredibly fascinating. It has been said that there are more than 86 billion neurons in the human brain, and learning actually changes the shape of the brain and the neural pathways. There have been a number of studies regarding how the neurons fire while learning takes place, and those studies largely support the idea that a growth mindset is favorable to learning.

If the science demonstrates that, how can teachers apply the findings to the classroom? In the article The Sciences of Teaching, authors Carol Ann Tomlinson and David A. Sousa encourage teachers to apply neuroscience to growth-focused teaching practices as follows:

  1. Directly teach growth mindset. Explain growth mindset to your students in grade-appropriate ways. Identify key components of growth mindset and discuss how beneficial a growth mindset can be to all endeavors. 
  2. Use examples of real people who demonstrate growth mindset to reinforce the skills, attitudes, and habits of the discipline. 
  3. Create a culture of achievement and quality work. Leverage the language of growth to develop positive attitudes in your students. The sense of team and camaraderie will be contagious and provide encouragement to all of your students. 
  4. Nurture your own mindset. An old adage says, “You can’t lead where you won’t go.” Take time to frequently reflect on your own thinking and be willing to make adjustments. As you take on the task of growing, your students will follow. 
  5. Meet them where they are. Know your students and their abilities. Know where they are today, and begin implementing activities that help move them forward into greater levels of success. Believe in your students, and express that belief to them often. Help them believe in themselves. Work hard, work smart, and celebrate the successes. 

As you prepare for next week, think about how you may apply these to your own practice. You and your students will be glad you did. 

If you would like to read the article, it can be found here:  https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/the-sciences-of-teaching

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