We Need Growth Mindsets

When you are confronted with a challenge what do you usually do?

I think I can speak for majority of us when I say we give up when frustration its. Unfortunately we have developed a fixed-mindset because of what we’ve been told as children.

I always figured that I wasn’t good at math because my dad wasn’t either. My parents and teachers never really pushed me to think in my own way and I had a hard time understanding the one set method the curriculum wanted us to know.

This is not the mindset we should be instilling in our students. Instead, we should be instilling a growth mindset.

I am already recognizing students in my class who have developed a fixed mindset at five-years-old.  My students struggle with doing things on their own because for the last five years they’ve had help from other adults. Out of a class of nineteen, I can easily name seven students after twelve days of being in the classroom. I have also noticed that my students in the lower achievement levels are the ones living with this mindset.

What Can We Do?

  1. Set Healthy Habits

Encourage students to put in the time and effort. Remind them that when frustration kicks in to step back for a minute, but whatever they do, do not stop.

This article, “Healthy Habits for a Growth Mindset in Math” is an additional resource for how to effectively implement healthy habits for growth mindsets.

  1. Have them set a goal 

These goals should be short-term goals to a bigger goal. A student will feel more accomplished when they see a smaller task being complete. It encourages them to keep working towards their end goal.

  1. Give them time

Our wait time is too short. We only give students seconds to think of a response. To create a through, in-depth response we need to allow more wait time. Sometimes this can even take minutes!

Be patient.

The longer you wait, the better the answer will be.

  1. Guide their thinking

Students will get frustrated. That is part of the learning process.

Teachers should never give students answers because then they aren’t really learning. What we should do is guide them towards resources that will help them and ask them questions. This gives them a lead into a direction.


Math can be a complicated subject. If you don’t understand the basics of a concept then it’s only going to get harder as it expands. We are living in a world where we are teaching children to develop fixed-mindset before they even enter grade school. No matter what anyone says, no one is terrible at math. It’s a patient process that only works when we believe in ourselves and persevere, but we can all solve the equations as long as we allow our minds to grow.