Key Coverage

Growth Mindset Means More Than Just Praising Kids for Trying

The approach has been misinterpreted by some to mean simply praising effort.

But that’s misunderstanding the thinking behind a growth mindset, Dweck said. Telling students, “Keep trying; you can do it,” doesn’t work, she said. Teachers instead should ask students these questions: “What strategies have you tried? What will you try next?” “It’s not just effort,” Dweck said. “You need strategies.”

The approach seems to be most effective with low-achieving students, who often show the most growth, educators said. Students learn that when one approach didn’t work, another might, said Hani Youssef, assistant superintendent of educational services for the Simi Valley Unified School District.