“You are either born smart or you are not!”
This is a hard pill to swallow and as a student, I definitely won’t. Times have changed and generations have prospered. So, don’t believe anyone who tells you that you aren’t smart enough. Only believe in yourself.
The brain is like a muscle. When you do challenging things, you are giving your brain the exercise it needs to get stronger, making a person smarter. The more you train it the better it can get. This is no longer a secret to most experts who studied the magnificent features of our brain. The experts or neuroscientists pave the way to the discovery of what we call now as “growth mindset” and educators around the world are making use of this core concept to train students to become better learners not only with their academics but also with the way they deal with life in general.
The idea of growth mindset is rooted in the main question of how gritty the students can be. Grit is simply passion and perseverance put together for long-term goals and on how a person sees failure. Stanford Professor Carol Dweck became interested in students’ attitudes about failure. In her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she presents two kinds of learners: one who believes that success is based on innate ability and this type of person is said to have a fixed theory of intelligence or fixed mindset. On the other hand, a person who believes that success is based on hard work, learning, and, training is said to have a “growth” or an “incremental” theory of intelligence called the growth mindset. Over 30 years of research, Professor Dweck and her colleagues noticed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the tiniest failure or setback. After studying the behavior of thousands of children, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement. Higher achievement is the result of grit.
Schools more than ever have to teach children to focus their energy, time, and effort on valuable things that will help them develop a growth mindset. There are a lot of scholarly articles that can help bring students and teachers from this new perspective. Teachers as adults in the classroom have to model important life skills such as being passionate about their works and having the perseverance and flexibility to go through life’s circumstances by not giving up so easily. When students see adults around them having these kinds of behavior, it will be easier for them to emanate the idea of learning to love their craft, to focus on their dreams, and to accept setbacks as part of their lives.
Everyone is born with great talents, but talents uncultivated become dormant and therefore useless. Now more than ever, as a student you have to be grittier. You have to be passionate about your school’s recital and performances. Persevere to achieve not only your short-term goals of passing the tests but also your long-term goals to become the person you wanted to be. Most of all, learn to accept that failures are a part of the cycle called life. Failure does not define you; it shapes you. So, if someone tells you that you are not smart enough, prove him wrong. Remember, you have the power to be grittier and that’s GROWTH MINDSET!
By Michael Jake Arcilla