Yes, you read that right. Yet is a humble, three-letter cousin to yes that can make a big difference. This one little word is going to help you and your students achieve your goals this school year and beyond. It's going to do that by causing a little mindset shift that will change everything.
The Growth Mindset
Educators share an implicit belief that our students are capable of growth. We must believe our students can learn, or we wouldn't teach. This is the basis of Carol Dweck's growth mindset - the belief that people can change themselves. Students working with a growth mindset see themselves as capable of acquiring new skills, knowledge, and understanding through effort. The possibilities are endless for students with this self-belief - every skill is an open door. The growth mindset is the opposite of a fixed mindset, or the belief that we are born with certain abilities and limitations that cannot be changed, regardless of time and effort. Students working with a fixed mindset believe their skillsets are determined and no amount of trying will change them. When these students encounter challenges, they see doors closing - maybe even locked.
Science is on Our Side
Research shows that human brains are capable of incredible change and growth, validating what teachers everywhere have always believed. The environment, encouragement, and effort affect the rate and longevity of learning, but movement is possible. Human babies are born with growth mindsets. Babies unconsciously learn that certain sounds attract their caretakers' attention more than others. Toddlers learning mobility fail over and over before they're able to move around independently. If we had fixed mindsets at birth, none of us would have kept trying to stand long enough to learn to walk.
Change Can Happen
Unfortunately, some children's growth mindset changes to a fixed mindset. These are the students who exclaim, "I can't read, I'm not a writer, I don't like math!" Here's where yet comes to the rescue. Simply add it to the end of each of those students' declarations and change the whole meaning, "I can't read... yet, I'm not a writer... yet, I don't like math... yet!" Now those fixed statements morph into a goals that sound like they can become reality. Try it. Make it a habit, and you'll start seeing possibilities everywhere, and your students will too.
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