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.

Positive Thinking-

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-

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:

  1. Positive language

We need to use language at home and at school that models being receptive to feedback, that is solution-focused and committed.

  1. 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.

  1. Normalise mistakes

Teach a child the value of ‘not knowing’ and how it is an opportunity to ‘grow your brain’.

  1. 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