Fostering a Growth Mindset in an Inclusive Classroom

Hey there, teacher friends! I can't believe that for some schools there are only two weeks left before school starts back! Today, I want to shed light on a common phrase we often hear from our students: "This is easy." While it may seem harmless or even positive at first, I have found it beneficial to discourage this expression in our classrooms. Let's dive into why, and explore a more empowering alternative.

First and foremost, when a student claims that something is easy, it diminishes the significant effort and hard work they have invested to grasp a particular skill. As teachers, we know the countless hours of practice and guidance they have received to master concepts such as adding double digits in math or reading words with vowel teams. By labeling these achievements as "easy," we risk downplaying their achievements and potentially discouraging their continued efforts.

Furthermore, what may come effortlessly to one student can be an immense challenge for another. Our classrooms are a tapestry of unique learners, each with their strengths and areas of growth. By proclaiming, "This is easy," we inadvertently create an environment where some students may feel inadequate or frustrated because they struggle with the same task that their peers consider easy. As educators, it's crucial that we foster a supportive atmosphere where students recognize and respect individual differences in learning pace and abilities.

Now, I encourage my students to adopt a different perspective and verbalize their accomplishments in a way that honors their hard work and dedication. Instead of stating, "This is easy," I encouraged them to say, "I worked hard to learn this" or something similar. This shift in language serves multiple purposes.

Firstly, it acknowledges the effort and perseverance required to reach a level of mastery. By recognizing their own hard work, students develop a growth mindset that values the process of learning, rather than just the end result. It reinforces the idea that success is not solely dependent on innate abilities but is a product of diligence, practice, and determination.

Secondly, this change in phrasing promotes a supportive and inclusive classroom environment. It emphasizes that we all have different starting points and learning curves. When students share their accomplishments by highlighting the effort invested, it encourages their peers to appreciate and respect the diverse journeys of their classmates. It fosters collaboration, empathy, and a sense of unity among students.

Lastly, encouraging students to acknowledge their efforts reinforces a sense of personal responsibility for their own learning. It empowers them to take ownership of their progress and motivates them to persist when faced with future challenges. By reframing their achievements as products of hard work, they become more resilient and open to embracing new, complex tasks.

So, dear teacher friends, let's strive to create classrooms where students appreciate the value of hard work and individual progress. By discouraging the casual dismissal of their accomplishments with "This is easy," we foster an environment that celebrates effort, encourages empathy, and instills a lifelong love for learning.

Together, let's empower our students to say, "I worked hard to learn this," and witness the transformation it brings to their educational journey.

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