A flexible mindset goes hand in hand with a growth mindset in the development of a child’s positive self-awareness. Whilst a growth mindset determines how a child responds to setbacks, a flexible mindset is an interplay between self-awareness, adaptability and perseverance that empowers students to become self-directed learners.
The essential components that facilitate a child’s development of a flexible mindset work in unison to drive a student’s learning journey. They are:
The basis of self-awareness is the ability to reflect upon what you are doing. Self-directed learners notice that something they are doing is not ‘quite working’ and pause to reflect and redirect.
This is a strand of growth mindset where a child learns from their mistakes and perseveres with a challenging task. They ask themselves “how can I learn from this mistake?”. They continue to ‘grow their neural receptors’, as the brain grows more when you are learning something new.
Executive functioning is about self-organisation and planning. How to get organised and plan the way you will approach a set task. Noticeably, some children need support in this area of self-organisation and others have a high level of executive functioning and very quickly become self-directed learners. This is a taught skill and begins at home during toddlerhood and carries through a child’s school and home life.
The tools we use to develop a child’s flexible mindset are:
- Positive language
We need to use language at home and at school that models being receptive to feedback, that is solution-focused and committed.
- Use a metacognitive approach
Focus on a child’s self-awareness and the perspective of others. This will in turn support adaptability, problem-solving and critical thinking.
- Normalise mistakes
Teach a child the value of ‘not knowing’ and how it is an opportunity to ‘grow your brain’.
- Provide feedback
Productive feedback encourages the child to become reflective and to develop the ability to adjust their approach to a situation, task or challenge.
The journey of developing a child’s flexible mindset is a home and school partnership. The focus is intentional, with the purpose of developing students who are adaptive, resilient and curious learners.
Ms Heidi Shvetsoff