Blog post written by Mark El Hagar.
Growth is part of life, emotionally, physically, and even academically. Education experts recommend regular measuring of students’ growth and success in the classroom as a way of helping teachers know if their students are growing at the right place and in the right direction. On the student’s part, having a growth mindset is critical to a student’s academic and lifelong success.
Besides providing your students with standardized testing after every semester or at the end of every school year, what else can you do as a teacher to aid your learners’ growth in and outside the classroom? That is the question that this article seeks to answer. But before we do that;
What is student growth?
Primarily, it is when learners can increase their intelligence levels, discover and grow their talents, and learn new skills and abilities consistently. Student growth also means instilling a growth mindset in a given student so that they start believing in their abilities, rather than doubting their chances of developing over time. You will know that your students are growing in the right way when they start showing signs of being thirsty for new information; when they start seeking out opportunities to tackle challenges and grow their skills.
Here are 5 ways through which you can inspire growth in your students:
1. Create communities
The communities can be within a classroom, across grades, or between students who share common interests, e.g. a sports lover community. Educators can foster a community that allows students to work together for a purpose bigger than their selfish interests. It gives kids a chance to belong and to have their voices heard. This will allow educators to monitor how students in the same community look after one another, how they appreciate the individual and collective effort, and how they create a conducive environment for sharing ideas. When that happens, the kids get smarter together and grow together and educators can know that they did a good job.
2. Instead of praising intelligence, encourage effort
Educators should encourage effort made and not the brilliance or intelligence of a student. Of course, some kids are born intelligent and will perform well in the classroom even when they behave badly and keep bad company. Praising them when they outscore everyone else can easily discourage their growth. Educators need to start complimenting students who outperform their previous attempts. If a kid was struggling with a math concept last semester but has since improved, encourage them to keep pushing. That way, they will learn hard work and resilience, two important skills that will come in handy later in life. Also, remember not to dwell too much on past glory. Teach the learners to focus on their next step because that is the surest way of making progress.
3. Spend purposeful time outside the classroom
In order to ensure the physical and cognitive growth of your students, it is important that educators also insist on spending a purposeful time outside the classroom. This can be through fun outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, going on biking expeditions, learning how to put together a camping tent, or intricately transform a normal bike into an electric bike using e-bike kits. All of these activities can stimulate teamwork, a needed recreational time, and also gives your students the sense that their growth and learning is not tied down to the classroom as a physical object.
4. Encourage time management and organization
Teach your students about the importance of prioritizing tasks and managing time effectively. Kids are easily distracted by peer pressure, TV, among others, but that will not be the case if they have a timetable to follow. Help them to organize their school work, how to spare time for homework or work out, and how to revise their notes. These organizational and time management skills will help them grow into responsible adults and great corporate managers.
4. Inspirational posters
Anchor charts around the classroom as reminders of the importance of authentic learning and the need for developing a growth mindset. The charts should feature images, words, and phrases that inspire the kids to grow. Think of quotes from successful business leaders, stories of popular athletes, and even former students who overcame the same challenges your students are going through now. Let the kids know that in spite of the initial failures and struggles that many successful people have had to go through, they still made it in life thanks to their growth mindset and determination for a bigger change.
5. Encourage curiosity
Being curious about something is what drives learners to find clarity and urgency in different aspects of life. Without it, it can never be created. It is through encouraging kids to ask you thought-provoking questions and allowing them to experiment on different hypotheses that they will get the motivation and purpose for designing something. A study suggests that students maintaining their curiosity is how they truly immerse in their studies, and that’s how growth happens.
There are tons of inherent benefits of developing a growth mindset, both for kids and adults. As a teacher, you will only succeed in aiding your learners to grow by encouraging them to push through their comfort zones to grasp new concepts regardless of how tough they could be. You will need to be patient with them because growth doesn’t happen instantaneously.
It’s also important that you understand their feelings of anxiety during the pandemic. If you, as a teacher, would like to aid your students’ growth it is important that you address any possibilities of misinformation about Covid- 19 being spread, by referring to reputable resources. Like this, you can maintain a calm and positive attitude either in class or remotely.
About the Author
Mark El Hagar is a personal trainer with lengthy expertise of 6 years. Before he decided to work as a personal trainer he worked as a physical educator in his local elementary school, helping students get a holistic education in terms of physical activity. In his free time, he likes to go on biking trips with his family, and right now he is focused on sharing his expertise with a wider audience through his writing.