How to Help Students Realize Their Own Potential: Part 2



Last time I wrote about the importance of teaching a growth mindset and the impact it can have on a child's confidence, willingness to take academic risks, and increase the likeliness of success. Now, I want to explore specific strategies to help your student unlock the growth mindset. 

Use failures from others as a lesson

There are many examples of famous people who failed. Michael Jordan, one of the most famous examples, was cut from the basketball team in high school. Steve Jobs was removed from Apple, the company he helped found, at the age of 30.  The Beatles were rejected from the first recording studio they applied to because the studio didn't like their sound. Check out a helpful youtube video here.

Watch this video with your student, and discuss how these people struggled and failed, but did not give up. Ask your student what might have happened if they had given up.

You can also identify something your student is interested in, and then identify someone who initially struggled in that area, and explore their story of growth. Ask your student to apply it to their own learning, or reflect on the ways that they got good at their passion. They didn't wake up one day able to shoot a lay up, hit a home run, or do a perfect routine. They had to practice in order to do well--and they can do this subject well with the same amount of practice. 

Another way is to share your own personal stories of struggles. As an English teacher, my students are often shocked to discover that I struggled to learn how to read and spent many years reading below grade level. I tell them that this is the reason why I became an English teacher. Students who have failed English in the past are excited to work with me because I promise them that I can unlock their love of reading and learning, just like someone unlocked mine.


Identify the student’s learning style

There are so many different ways that people learn. Some of us learn by hearing, by doing, by seeing, or by a combination of these. Once a student identifies how he or she learns, then you as their tutor can help them overcome their struggles by using that type of strategy.

Explore the brain science

Students don't understand how complex the brain is, but teachers and other professionals who work with students understand that there are millions of things at play inside someone's brain, especially when you are learning something new. Read accessible articles and watch short videos that describe how the brain works, how we learn, and why something might be challenging at first. Then, when your student is struggling, remind him that struggling equals learning, that learning equals growing, and the more growth that occurs, the less likely we are to struggle in the future. 


What are your favorite ways to teach growth mindset? 

Next time, we will explore ways to give feedback so that you encourage growth mindset and not "smartness".