The Braiding Project: Modelling a Growth Mindset for Your Students

This week I want to share with you my latest learning journey.

My 9 year old daughter loves to have fancy hair... now I am NOT good at doing hair... I was always out in the backyard playing sport and was never interested in learning how to "do" hair🤷‍♀️

But...instead of continuing to say to my daughter “Sorry I can’t braid, I’m not good at doing hair”, I decided to watch Youtube tutorials and practice braiding every day.

My daughter was a very patient model… I found the process frustrating and hard… at first I thought “I am never going to get this”…but slowly every day I got better… it took weeks and weeks but finally I went from this…

to this…

The day my daughter said “mum I think I can wear this one out in public” was a huge day for me.🙌

I had worked at something that didn’t come easily, and I felt so proud of what I had achieved.

The important lesson from this is experiencing that feeling of working hard to achieve something is so rewarding… and that is what we want our students to experience.

So that when things get hard in life, and they will, they can think back to the times they persisted and take inspiration from their previous success.

CHALLENGE is good...It makes our brains grow.

So my challenge to you is to start now…choose something SMALL (but achievable) you are going to work on in front of your class. It might be learning to bake a fancy cake, doing the Sudoko every day or learning to sing… commit to doing something that you think you can’t do, or you think is hard...and here is the most important part… tell your class how you are feeling all the way through the process… say things like…

This is hard.. but I’m going to keep going

I feel like I’m slowly improving

I am not good at this YET

I can’t wait until I can do this

And when you have a win... make sure you share statements like:

I feel PROUD of myself for working so hard at this

I have achieved this because I have practiced hard and in the right way

My brain is bigger because I have learnt something new

This process is a win-win...you are learning a new skill, AND you are modelling to your students a growth mindset.

You are showing that challenges are good and you feel great when you work hard and achieve something.

The victories you remember most fondly are those that you work hardest for, and those you didn’t think you could achieve.

This process is very important, because maths, like any subject, can be hard… it requires practice and commitment and struggle…

If you have modelled the process of learning something new to your class, when someone finds an activity challenging, you can tell them:

“OK great… lets work on this together…remember when I couldn’t do braids but I worked on it every day and now I can do it…think how proud you will be of yourself when you master this”

Meanwhile I’m off to do my daily braid practice… my next challenge is Dutch braids.

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